Notable Tile Installation

Faces of Petaluma

Notable Tile Installation

Faces of Petaluma

Sonoma County, California

Year of Installation:


Craftmanship Features

The Faces of Petaluma Fountain in Petaluma City, California, is a collection of self-portraits of local citizens, young and old alike, who participated by sculpting their faces out of clay.

Citizens were each given a clay slab and used a mirror to create their portraits. On the first day of the project, a large crowd lined up to create a portrait. By 1 p.m., the 300 slabs of clay prepared for the project were claimed and those who did not get a slab were asked to come back the next day. Most, however, stayed to watch others work.

By the next afternoon, hundreds of people had produced self-portraits, amounting to approximately 1.5 tons of clay. The sculptures were then taken to Davis, California, for firing, which hardened the clay portraits and prepared them for installation.

The completed faces were installed in colorful mosaic tile procured through the generosity of Heath Ceramics in Sausalito. The final mosaic panels were then installed surrounding a public fountain in downtown Petaluma. The result is a quilt-like bas-relief sculpture as unique as the very citizens of Petaluma.



The “Faces of Petaluma” was promoted by the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Petaluma Arts Council and local businesses. Donna Billick, an internationally celebrated ceramic artist, was commissioned to design and create the installation and lead the project. An overwhelming number of people in the community came together to create their self-portraits in clay for the public fountain.


See for Yourself

The colorful fountain can be found in Petaluma’s Theater District, right across from Boulevard Cinemas at 101 2nd Street. This artistic link to the Petaluma community is one of many historic sites in the downtown Petaluma area.


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