Mine Shift

About the mural

The miners are lowered into the dark shaft at sunrise. A quick vision of the sun cresting over the Yuba River is etched into their minds for only a short time before the drapes of short-term memory are drawn, and the darkness of the mine prevails. Now in faint amber glow, they pass previously worked side drifts descending toward a brave new level. They’re going to work.

On this morning shift however, a strange turquoise spot of light seems to be growing from far below. “What in the Sam Hill is that?” Soon they will reach the unexplored section, uncovering a vast pocket of pure grade beauty. Disorientated and astonished deep in the the Earth, they rediscover some of the natural scenery that they left far above at the river’s edge. Yet they marvel.

By placing the Yuba River into a different context – a subterranean light well – it creates fresh perspective, the new discovery of an ageless trove. From this new vantage point, the river seems suddenly exotic and enchanting, like finding Brigadoon on a journey to the center of the Earth. Not only the Centurions might detect that it suggests a shift in environmental consciousness. Gold is what brought people here long ago, yet the rustic beauty and friendly community is why people stay.

Commissioned by // Grass Valley Redevelopment Agency

Site // Del Oro Theater, Grass Valley, CA

Address // 165 Mill St, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Year // 2009

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