One of last year's public art grants went to local artist Jennifer Utsch and students from Marce Becerra Academy at Healdsburg High School. The group used the money to turn an old, red bicycle into an abstract stop sign. They plan to install it soon along the Foss Creek Pathway. (Photos courtesy of Jennifer Utsch)

Local artists will have until 5 pm. on Feb. 2 to apply for a slice of the $50,000 in public art funding that the City of Healdsburg plans to distribute in 2024. “We are looking for artists who can bring unique and thought-provoking pieces to our public spaces,” city officials said in a recent callout on Facebook.

This is the second year the grants are available. Last June, another $50,000 went to eight local proposals out of 27 submitted, according to Garrett Perdigao, recreation supervisor for the city.

The 2023 winners included: a series of Indigenous literary events at THE 222 venue; the revival of the Prune Box Derby, an old Healdsburg tradition; dance performances by Healdsburg’s local ballet folklorico group; a summer art crawl downtown called “Art After Dark”; a new LED light display outside the Healdsburg Museum; and three different art pieces along the Foss Creek Pathway through town.

Of those projects, only the museum lights and an abstract stop-sign sculpture along the pathway have yet to be completed, Perdigao says.

While city officials are encouraging individual artists to keep this year’s proposals under $2,500, and larger groups or organizations under $5,000, they stress that “these are guidelines only” — and that proposals can go as high as the full $50,000 grant pool.

Indeed, last year, a single proposal received $20,000, or 40 percent of the pool. For that one, the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation and sculptor Ned Kahn installed an art piece called “Running Line” on the backside of the old E&M building along Foss Creek Pathway, near the roundabout. Their project was completed in early November, says recreation supervisor Perdigao.

The origin story for Healdsburg’s public art grants dates all the way back to 2018, when city leaders decided they needed an official arts-and-culture plan. It took until 2021 for the city to draft and approve that plan, which promised more money for local art projects. In 2022, the actual budget was approved. And in 2023, the money finally started flowing.

“This is your chance to make your artistic vision a reality and leave your mark on our community,” city officials said in their recent callout. They added: “Eligible applicants include local artists, creators, and non-profit organizations interested in expanding the role of arts in our community. Any artwork intended to enrich the public environment for City residents and visitors is eligible, including sculptures, murals, paintings, graphic arts, mosaics, photography, crafts, mixed media, environmental works, and performing arts. The art may be temporary or permanent.”

Interested parties can apply online at

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Simone Wilson was born and raised in Healdsburg, CA, where she was the editor of the Healdsburg High School Hound's Bark. She has since worked as a local journalist for publications in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East. Simone is now a senior product manager and staff writer for the Healdsburg Tribune.


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