‘Upside Down’ art finds spot in Cotati
Latest CAP piece done by SSU’s Engelhardt
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By Dave Williams  October 13, 2011 09:30 am

Another work of art has found its home in Cotati, thanks to Sonoma State University art graduate Missy Engelhardt.

Her sculpture, “Upside Down,” was placed in the lawn area behind the Boy Scout Hut at the corner La Plaza and Old Redwood Highway on Wednesday afternoon after a brief ceremony hosted by the Cotati Art Project. Actually, her work is a sculpture of multiple pieces shaped to look like fluffed pillows. The unique thing about her work is that it allows people to sit on them as if they are benches.

“This took about five or six months to complete,” said Engelhardt, a 23-year-old originally from Lodi. “I wanted it to be like a marker, sort of like a gravestone. I also wanted to cut it like small benches so it’s functional. When I originally proposed the idea, I was told the city wanted a piece here.”

Each piece of art placed throughout the city via the Cotati Art Project is accompanied by a permanent plaque by a sponsor who paid $2,000 for the spot. This particular locale was sponsored by Exchange Bank in honor of longtime employee Nadine Wolford.

Nearly 3,000 pounds of cement were needed to complete this project, and $500 came out of Engelhardt’s pocket. But she said the cement bases and the metal were donated.

Engelhardt, who earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, plans to pursue her Masters at the San Francisco Art Academy.

The dedication was delayed a few minutes because Engelhardt’s parents were stuck in traffic while driving from Lodi, which is 15 minutes north of Stockton.

“It’s great to have them here,” she said.

Engelhardt realizes she was given a rare opportunity to make an impact on the community she has called home for the past five years.

“It’s really amazing because I’ve only been here for five years, but I get a chance to leave a mark and to show who I am as an artist.”

The Cotati Arts Project, the Cotati Chamber of Commerce and SSU have been working in conjunction on placing sculptures throughout the city. The plan is to place permanent plaques - dedicated to prominent citizens or organizations that have made positive impacts on Cotati - on the concrete bases. The cost of each base is estimated at around $2,000, including the building of the concrete base, transportation of the base, its installation and the plaque. And the monies for each base will come strictly from donations.

The first of the sculptures - a seven-foot sculpture of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom - was created by renowned theater set designer Peter Crompton. Athena was placed in April at Rose Park near the American Legion flagpole, across the street from the Jim Boggio statue in La Plaza Park.

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