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Public Input Sought to Select Designs for the Water Basket Project

The Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, Callayomi County Water District, and the Middletown Art Center (MAC) are pleased to invite residents from Middletown Unified School District and South Lake County Fire Protection District areas to vote in the Water Basket project design selection.

The six designs and models on view were selected by a jury from 25 designs submitted. The jury was composed of 14 community members, both Tribal and non-tribal, including two representatives each from the Middletown Rancheria, Tribal Cultural Educators, Callayomi County Water District, Middletown Area Town Hall (MATH), Middletown Area Merchants Association (MAMA), the Middletown area community, and the Middletown Art Center.

The Water Basket project will paint the two large water tanks located at the highest point in Middletown on Rabbit Hill with 360° murals with designs inspired by Pomo Basketry and the local natural world. A public call for work was posted in October 2023 and closed in January 2024.

The Water Basket project beautifies public space, uplifts and gives voice to community resilience and local identity and to our connection to this place, while honoring the heritage of the original people.

Pomo baskets were, and still are, made in this region and are found in museums worldwide. They are renowned for excellence in craftsmanship, aesthetics, and form and function using natural materials. 

The project was announced at a Middletown Town Hall meeting in 2022 and the concept was unanimously approved by all present. The MAC was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Water Basket project in the Summer of 2023. Since then, numerous public events, classes and community presentations enabled people to learn more about the project and about Pomo basket designs. Native and non-Native artists and community members have engaged in cultural education and the process of creating and selecting designs for the project.

Mockups and maquettes of the selected design proposals are on display for community voting at the Callayomi County Water District, 21282 Stewart Street Mon-Friday from 9am-3pm; and at Middletown Art Center, 21456 Hwy 175 (at junction 29) Saturday and Sunday 10:30-5 thru First Friday at MAC on May 3. Voting closes May 5 at MAC.

Wherever you decide to cast your vote, you may only vote once for each tank. Each design can be adapted for the larger or smaller tank.

Please note that final selected designs may have additional adjustments made to them before painting. All basket designs will undergo final approval from Middletown Rancheria Tribal members.

For more information on the Water Basket project and design criteria, please visit https://middletownartcenter.org/water-basket.html.

For inquiries or further information, please contact the Middletown Art Center at 707-355-4465 or info@middletownartcenter.org.

Curated by The Bloom Staff

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