December 11, 2018
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Athena sits in ‘artsy’ Cotati

By: Irene Hilsendager
November 30, 2018

There is a small plot of land across the street from the downtown Cotati fire station which is very special. Most Cotatians feel that it is an unusual shape and that it is owned by the City of Cotati. The triangular piece of land was purchased during the downturn in the early 2009-2010 and the first sculpture, Athena, was placed in the rose garden of Cotati and what a very pleasing and fitting place for the art to be placed. Athena in Greek mythology is the goddess of wisdom, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice and skill. Cotati has had to deal with a great many of these strengths. Plans are for a few more art projects to be placed around town.

The initial funding for Athena came from the Cotati Arts Project, led by Andre Morrow through local donations. Cotati Arts Project board member Marie McNaughton was also involved in finding Athena and negotiated the loan of the sculptor. Sculpturer Peter Crompton was responsible for creating Athena. Within a few years when the loan was over and it was time for Athena to go back to artist Crompton, former City Manager Diane Thompson quietly stepped in and paid for the sculpture without any fanfare so it could remain in the City of Cotati since Athena had become very popular with the community. The base of the sculpture honors Lloyd and Prue Draper, the founders of the Cotati Historical Society.

The flag pole was created and carved from a single tree so the story goes, but I have not found who the carver was. The City of Cotati maintains the flags and due to their relatively large size they show wear very quickly and often need replacements.

The concept for supporting Mayor Robert Coleman-Senghor with a memorial in Cotati was first discussed at his memorial service back in 2011. Local friends and business people including Carol Williams, Linell Hardy, Art Warmoth, Joan Simon, Cone Chris, Robby (Rupinder) Garcha, Michael McCullaugh and business partner Moose Jamal, Jay West, Dianne Thompson, Neil Hancock, Jenny Blaker, Carlton Kindle, Prue Draper, Gail Powell and Mark Landman raised the funds for the bronze plaque and the four foot California field stone boulder the plaque is mounted on. Louie Zamaroni of Wheeler-Zamaroni donated a large discount on the price of the special boulder and donated significant work to cut, shape and install the monument.

The City of Cotati approved adding the memorial to Veteran’s Park during the council’s goal setting for 2012-2013, where direction was also given to update the badly cracked concrete, landscaping and unhealthy bushes in the park.

The park’s overhaul was done during the summer of 2013 when an unveiling ceremony was conducted by Mayor Mark Landman on Nov. 7, 2013. Jay West of Gardens West, a local Cotati business donated the upkeep and maintenance of the annual plantings and rose bushes since the unveiling of the Coleman-Senghor memorial.