On the Camp Fire’s second anniversary, Paradise looks to a brighter future with ‘The Hope of Daffodils’

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Thomas Stremfel

On Nov. 8, a wall of art in Nic’s depicts local artists expressions of hope for the future of Paradise and it’s residents.

Nov. 8 marked two years since the Camp Fire that ravaged the town of Paradise, a horrific event that garnered coverage across the globe. While Paradise has still been recovering even after all this time, they have not lost their sense of hope.

Residents are ready to start a new chapter in their town’s life, and the Paradise Art Center commemorated this outlook with an art exhibit on the fire’s second anniversary. Nic’s is a local restaurant that has been hosting a show put on by the Art Center every month.

Paradise Art Center president Kathleen Dysert elaborated on the event.

“This month, we chose the theme ‘The Hope of Daffodils’ in honor of the second anniversary of the Camp Fire,” Dysert said. “Here at Nic’s, (our shows are) usually what we call ‘artist’s choice,’ other than for this particular month.”

The daffodil has often been used to represent rebirth and new beginnings, which is exactly what Paradise could use during these times. The town decided to make the daffodil the official city flower. For November, the artists were asked to create some depiction of a daffodil in commemoration.

Beyond the exhibit, the Paradise Art Center had another event running at the organization’s building. It was their first time they had been open to the public since March 15.

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While the Paradise Art Center has been closed, Nic’s has been kind enough to host their monthly art exhibits.

Dysert elaborated on the organization’s second event. “At Paradise Art Center, Shane Grammer, who has done all of the murals after the Camp Fire here in Paradise, has done multiple fundraisers for us,” Dysert said. “He wanted to come up again for our second anniversary. He’s there today painting a small canvas that will be for sale to the community with profits going to the Art Center.”

Grammer’s event had the Art Center packed with patrons lined up, ready to purchase his prints as well as meet, get autographs and take pictures with him. They were selling his series of murals that Grammer painted in Paradise on ruined buildings around town. The Paradise Art Center is the only company allowed to feature these pieces for sale, according to Dysert.

“He’s signing autographs for anyone that bought prints,” Dysert said. “Paradise Art Center are the only ones allowed to produce prints of his art, whether it be sweatshirts or anything like that. And all of the profits are going to us to support and keep us going, particularly when we can’t be open. He’s just here to provide support to the community.”

The art exhibits are a community effort, with every member offering something different. Although they happen on a monthly basis with no cohesive theme, November was a special occasion that hit close to home for every artist involved. It is likely a harrowing subject to address through art, but hopefully viewing it as a new beginning rather than a bitter ending brings some solace to the tight-knit community of Paradise.

Thomas Stremfel can be reached at [email protected] or @tomstremfel on Twitter.