HOW IT STARTED
On October 8, 2017, a fire broke out in Santa Rosa, California. It would quickly spread to become known as California’s worst wildfire (until the next year, that is). This was the infamous Tubbs fire that killed over 20 people and destroyed over 5,600 buildings.
Not too long prior to that, Aria Luna had been invited to participate in her first group art exhibit. Her art instructor, professional artist Pantea Karimi, suggested she create a large mural. Aria had just decided to do an epic dragon battle as the theme of the mural; when the fire hit, together we decided they would raise funds for the people who lost their homes to the fire.
We were a little unsure at first whether it’s the right thing to do… to raise funds for the survivors of a wildfire through an exhibit about an epic battle between fire-breathing dragons, but the more we thought about it we realized how powerful the metaphor was: fire, as a natural force, destroys but also rejuvenates. It clears the ground for a completely new beginning. And just as the Phoenix—seen above—protects Celseous, the mother dragon and her egg, so too he would protect the people of Santa Rosa as they picked up and started over from nothing, to rebuild their lives.
The money raised during the opening reception was donated to the Latino Community Foundation.
Aria Luna and her classmates raised an additional $1600 through their school, which was donated to one of the elementary schools in Santa Rosa.