Highway 9, the main connection between most of our communities, functions like San Lorenzo’s symbolic heart, propelling and dispersing individuals to vital parts of our community. As such, the highway greatly reflects our collective identity. Recently, tragic and tumultuous events have crafted subtle changes in our everyday thoroughfare. While some newer additions on the road focus on past trauma (and rightly so!), Jill Chambers has developed a beautiful and inspiring message for the future of our community. Looking North from the busy intersection of Graham Hill Road and Highway 9, her mural at Mystic Studios “encourages hope and community.”
Chambers’ “idea came to me in a dream, actually. I just woke up sometime in February when things started to get scary. I’m situated in such a fun location, with a lot of traffic and a big sign. I love communicating through art and wanted to help others feel connected during this isolation and separation.”
Chambers owns and operates both Mystic Studios and Alternative Legal Services in Northern Felton. She’s been in the “legal business for 26 years, in family law particularly.” She’s been a legal document assistant in Northern Felton since 2016, with “the objective to keep families out of court and get them to negotiate and settle… Because of my family law legal business, I see a lot of people hurting. That inspired me to open Mystic Studios, to get families to open up with dance, art, dream interpretation, all sorts of expressive opportunities.”
Although Chambers put up the mural in March, her gratitude for the piece has grown over time. “I didn’t really know that the shelter in place would affect us so much. The other parts of what our community is going through adds so much weight to the burden. People need to see hope, be encouraged, know that this isn’t the end of the story. As a community, this time is our opportunity to write a better story.”
The first mural depicted a tree with the inscription, “Change Brings Growth, Don’t Lose.” The current mural is directed towards the class of 2020, with the world sprouting colorful wings and encouraging message, “We’re in this together.” Chambers is working on her newest mural, “the next piece, will display flowers, blooming from seeds, and ‘We will arise,’ lettered at the top.” Chambers has occasionally reached out to others, in the hopes of receiving art pieces from the community to display as well. “I don’t care if you do stick figures. I want all levels of artists in our community to express kindness on this mural. It’s more about the message than beautiful art. It’ll be beautiful no matter what it is.”
So far, Chambers received “a lot of encouraging responses, but no one has stepped up. There’s so many wonderful artists in our community, but it’s only been my art.” If you’d like to submit art for the mural, Chambers has these requirements: a maximum size is 4’ x 6’, but 5’ x 4’ is preferable. She’ll accept slightly smaller pieces, but “bigger gets the message across better!” The art must include “a brief encouraging message, something light, hopeful, and uplifting.” It also must hold up against the elements, since the space is not protected. Other than that, she’s open to any mediums, “even sculptures, if they can hang!”
If you’d like to help Chambers provide, “a small gesture to the community, to say ‘You’re not alone,’ send her an email at email@example.com.