The History of The  Bolinas Community Mural  Project -
Bolinas Community Mural 2022, photo by Elia Haworth.

History Room

The History of The Bolinas Community Mural Project

June 11 - October 16, 2022

Curated by Elia Haworth

The iconic mural on the side of the Bolinas Market has a vibrant history of community collaboration. In this exhibit, Harriet Kossman, artist, educator, and Director of the Bolinas Mural Project, shares the history and iterations of the mural through lively photos and documents that show residents of all ages and backgrounds working together to create the public art that still brightens downtown Bolinas today.

Kossman, who co-founded the Art Shops Program at Bolinas-Stinson Union School and taught art there for 40 years, describes how it all started in 1979 with a special program that supported a student group painting a mural at the Bolinas Community Center. Then in 1980, established artists joined the student group and volunteers to collaborate on a large mural on the side of the Bolinas Market. Revitalization projects of the murals occurred in 1998 and 2012. Over the years, more than 600 people participated in various aspects of creating and maintaining the much-loved mural that still delights residents and visitors alike and serves as an example of collaborative public art.

Creativity, teaching, and civic service are defining elements of Harriet Kossman’s life. After earning a Master’s Degree at the University of Miami, she moved to Bolinas during the early 1970s era of idealistic counter-culture youth. In 1973 Kossman and Pat Haines co-founded the award-winning Bolinas-Stinson Union School Art Shops Program that continues to inspire teachers who expand students’ imaginations, nurture creativity and cultivate confidence. Kossman led the national development of art curricula and standards that still define excellence in K-12 art education. She continues to be deeply involved with West Marin education, philanthropy, and scholarship-funding programs. She also finds time to create her art and involve residents in the Bolinas Community Mural project.