On November the 8th, 2018, the sleepy artisan town of Paradise in Northern California was hit by the most devastating fire in California history, destroying over 150,000 acres, nearly 19,000 structures, and claiming the lives of 85 people. It became known as the Paradise Camp Fire, and it decimated the entire community, leaving very little left but ashes and ruin. The entire world noticed.
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Several months later, an artist named Shane Grammer, who’d once lived in the area, knew and remembered his friends and family in the region, and he made a pilgrimage back to his roots, with one purpose: To honor a friend of his, who’d lost everything. Shane painted a mural on the only thing that was left of his friend’s house – a white chimney, barely standing in the middle of the ruins of their dreams. The mural was called “Beauty Among the Ashes,” and it suddenly became the sole symbol of hope for the community who hadn’t even begun to pick up the pieces of their destroyed worlds. The media seized upon the story, and before anyone realized it, “Beauty Among the Ashes” was a worldwide rallying cry for the town of Paradise. Hope existed. Even with such a fresh wound, the town and the world beyond could see that there was hope on the horizon.
Over the course of more than a year, Shane Grammer would return over and over to paint beautiful, hopeful murals and create art installations all over the ruins of Paradise, stirring up the hearts and minds of people everywhere, and this book collects the stories and experiences of home owners, business owners, the Mayor of Paradise, the Fire Chief of Paradise, firefighters, cleanup crews, newscasters, artists, and so many others, whose hearts were deeply affected by Shane’s work throughout the destruction all around Paradise. He painted and created art on structures that were never meant to last, but would be torn down to make way for the rebuilding of the town that had lost its spirit during a horrific season of loss. “Beauty Among the Ashes” tells the story of what it means to lose everything, and then to find it all again through the art of a man whose work was never meant to last on the earthly plane, but on a level much more profound, where hope is a tangible treasure.