Nicole Costanzo creates a pastel on the plaza. | Photo by Andre Hascall
Nicole Costanzo creates a pastel on the plaza. | Photo by Andre Hascall

Plaza Pastels: A 30 year tradition


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By | Andre Hascall

At first a one-time event, Pastels on the Arcata Plaza has become a tradition in our slice of Humboldt. Starting in 1987 with 29 pastels, the event has grown to surround the entire plaza with artwork.

Many of the local businesses sponsor a square, they purchase one for $125 or $225, and the profits are donated to Northcoast Children’s Services. Artists pitch in their free time to keep this event going year in and year out.

Sidelines and TJ’s bars are two of the businesses sponsoring squares this year, but are no stranger to Pastels on the Plaza. Sidelines Manager Nicole Costanzo was one of the many artists contributing.

“It’s a learning process being out her, I wasn’t prepared my first time,” Costanzo said. “You need a lot more water than you think.”

Legacy Club surrounds their Pastel at the Plaza. | Photo by Andre Hascall

The water helps with the water art of course, but with October as one of Arcata’s warmest months its a good idea to keep it close by during the long event.

“Its pretty hard work,” Costanzo said. “The artists get here at Eight in the morning and aren’t done until two in the afternoon.”

One group in particular made their mark on the community for a second year in a row. HSU club, Legacy created a pastel to imprint their group in the event and community. Along with having their own pastel, they helped the children at the plaza get their own little paintings done as well.

Fourth year Child Development major, Dee Breaux is a member of Legacy.

“For our pastel design this year, half the group came up with a tree,” Breaux said. “And the leaves will have our initials on them.”

Legacy’s colors are purple and gold, and that showed on their pastel. Fourth Year Pyschology Major, Danni Pittman had a few words on her groups artwork.

“It’s like the tree of life, and the ‘L’ in the middle makes a statement,” Pittman said. “The crown empowers us, like we are queens dripping in gold.”

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