Location: Depot Park, Santa Rosa, CA
Client: City of Santa Rosa
Steam locomotives once brought many people, immigrants, ideas, and goods to and from Santa Rosa Train Depot. With the recently implemented SMART trains, a new generation of commuters and visitors is coming to historic Railroad Square, built over 100 years ago. While acknowledging the history of the neighborhood, the comprehensive plan and public art proposed for Depot Park is intended to capture the on-going meeting of peoples, exchange of ideas, and courageous renewal that are the hallmarks of Rail Road Square and Santa Rosa in general.
The proposed design invites people to interact, not only with the artwork and its ideas, but also with each other and nature. Thereby, it helps to activate Depot Park as a gathering space. It works with the proposed park renovation and existing notable features such as the Bunya Bunya tree and Peanuts sculpture to create a sense of place that is both aesthetic and functioning. The artwork acts as another node in the long, linear park, stitching together the two ends.
The seating elements are inspired by old wooden benches found in train stations. Like passengers waiting for or sitting on a train, colorful portraits of people from the community will wrap around the bench’s backrest. A portrait of a person from the past will be juxtaposed next to a person from the present. Alternatively, benches showcasing historic photos can show the changes to society over time.