Responses to my recent “Art or Not?” blog, about public art on display in Sonoma County, suggested an interesting sidelight.
People really seem to like those “Peanuts” character statues scattered around Santa Rosa.
“I enjoy seeing the Charlie Brown statues everywhere, each with their respective theme connecting them to whatever business or dwelling they sit outside of; it lends itself to whimsy and fun, and also highlight the connection Sonoma County has to Charles Schulz and his life’s work,” one reader wrote.
Several others said essentially the same thing. Previously, I had tried to test the public mood about the statues, now they’ve been standing around for a few years, and didn’t get much response. I figured maybe we’d just all gotten used to them.
Now that we’re scheduled to get 30 new Lucy statues, to be decorated by local artists this summer, maybe now is the time to talk about Charlie Browns, Woodstocks and Snoopys we’ve already got. Send me your comments, plus photos of the ones you love the most, or least. (My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
For those who weren’t here then, or don’t remember, here’s a brief history of the Peanuts statue project:
2005 ” During the kickoff summer, titled “It’s Your Town, Charlie Brown,” 55 round-headed Charlie Brown statues greeted locals and tourists alike from street corners and sidewalks all over town. The Santa Rosa Visitors and Convention Bureau officials estimated tourist traffic nearly doubled, from 15,000 in 2004 to 27,000.
2006 ” The city made bird-watchers of us all, as sponsors and artists set up 76 Woodstocks ” each nested in his own polyurethane tree and individually decorated.
2007 ” For “Joe Cool Summer,” the third and final year of the city’s “Peanuts on Parade” promotion, local artists decorated 95 statues of Snoopy in his persona as big dog on campus, shades and all.
That was it, until the announcement of the Lucy project this year.
Footnote: For those who don’t know, “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz moved his family to Sonoma County in 1958, settling first in Sebastopol and later Santa Rosa, where he died in 2000 after writing and drawing the comic strip for nearly 50 years.