“Pacific Dream” to be Unveiled this Summer on New Beach Street Bathrooms

April 2, 2024

Born as a recovery effort from the local, national, and global events of 2020, the City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) grant program’s mission is to support recovery efforts through the arts. A partnership between Santa Cruz City Arts (a program of the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development and Housing Department) and Arts Council Santa Cruz County the program’s themes include Arts and Economic Recovery, Arts and Restorative Justice, and Arts and Public Health & Safety. Santa Cruz has a wealth of public art, most recognizably as painted murals on buildings or traffic boxes, and sculptures. This summer, a new piece of art will be unveiled as a showpiece of the renovated restrooms on Beach Street.

Tay painting

Taylor painting one of his previous pieces.

The artist is no stranger to Santa Cruz, as he is a Santa Cruz local and got his start in street art. You may recognize him from the Made Fresh Crew, an artist collective which he founded in 2009, or the PangeaSeed Foundation Sea Walls Santa Cruz murals around town, his largest project to date, which he serves as the Project Director. Ocean conservation and community are big themes in Taylor Reinhold’s artwork and that translates to his upcoming, three panel mural that will extend to three sides of the new restrooms.

As part of the CARD program, this project was truly collaborative. Taylor collected over 200 public comments on social media and tabled in the Beach Flats neighborhood to learn more about the community. The community feedback was incorporated into the mural by Taylor as he artfully tells a story about the rich history of Santa Cruz. A key champion of this project was City of Santa Cruz Art Commissioner Nikki Patterson. Part of Taylor’s research included a conversation over breakfast with Santa Cruz Historian Geoffrey Dunn. The conversation went so well, that he lost track of time and ended up with a parking ticket! Worth it.

Beach St Designs in progress

Conceptualizing the elements for the Beach St. bathroom mosaic mural.

This project, a collaboration between Economic Development and Housing and Parks and Recreation departments was made possible in part to a Clean California Grant and a City Arts CARD Grant with the remainder of the funds coming from Parks Facilities Tax Fund. In addition to incorporating the cultural input from the community through social media and outreach in the Beach Flats area, another fundamental goal of the project is to welcome a diverse range of visitors to this tourism hub. This was to be done through artistic representation of Santa Cruz’s rich history as it pertains to the ocean, specifically. While I won’t give away everything, some of the elements include Italian Fishing Boats, salmon (the San Lorenzo River supported thelargest salmon and steelhead population south of San Francisco, and fourth largest in the state of California), replicated basket patterns from the Ohlone people, and of course, five longboards which are replicas from the Surfing Society.

A majority of the mural features native species (Taylor’s favorite to depict), there are two special people represented. The first being his Dad, an avid surfer, who passed away when Taylor was 19, surfing Steamer Lane and Scott Watson, the general manager of Olitas on the Wharf. Scott is known for riding his skateboard to work every day, so chances are, if you frequent the Wharf, you’ve probably seen him. Even if you don’t you’ve probably still seen him and his skateboard.

Italian fishing boat inspiration

Inspiration for the Italian Fishing Boats that are a part of LIGHTSPEED.

Taylor has painted hundreds of murals around Santa Cruz, the region, and the world. What makes this piece special is that it has nothing to do with paint. Rather, the murals will be constructed of half inch glass tiles, a medium that he’s never worked in, but he’s very familiar with. The son of Annieglass founder Annie Morhauser, he’s been around glass artwork his whole life and has even collaborated with her on a few collections.

There are many incredible parts of this project, but the fact that this all came together in a few short weeks is reflective of Taylor’s professionalism. He’s worked with the City on multiple projects, leaning into programs like the CARD program, and is immensely engrained into the Santa Cruz culture. Art is very much alive in Santa Cruz and we love to see it!

The next step of this project later this Spring is for the mural to be installed by a subcontractor over the course of two to three weeks. In a way, it will be live art in the making as each half inch piece of glass will be installed piece by piece until each of the three murals comes to life to welcome locals and visitors alike to the iconic Cowell beach and the Santa Cruz Wharf this summer.

Tay Emeryville

Adding the finishing touches for a piece he created in Emeryville.

City of Santa Cruz Prohousing Designation

Habitat for Humanity Women Build