About the Charity


Chico Art Center's mission is to foster and promote the visual arts. The Center has a long history of offering fine art instruction, professional gallery shows, and events that connect the public with artists. The intent now, as always, is to help the community appreciate the importance of visual art in our society. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

About the Creator

Jess Mercer
Paradise, CA Created 5 Projects

"One thing that we all had in common when we left that morning, was our keys."  - Jessie Mercer, Artist

Jessie Mercer is a local artist from Paradise, California. The wildfires claimed her art studio as well as her parents home. Jess decided to use her art to help heal and bring awareness to the continued recovery efforts, by creating a sculpture of a Phoenix rising, created from keys she is collecting from those who have experienced loss in Paradise. Through donations she has collected about a thousand keys to items lost in the fire such as doors, vehicles, lockers, diaries and others.  She hopes to collect about three-thousand more. The keys are from homes, cars, boats, motorcycles, businesses, storage units, diaries and all kinds of other keys that are now worthless except for the reminder of what they used fit. The keys are being gathered at drop off points around Paradise and the areas where the residents are now staying.

Jess explains that this project is a way for her to connect and honor all those affected by the fires, and who have lost so much. "I'm here to create a piece of art dedicated to my community and attempt to place our homes as close as they will ever be again. Although our homes are scattered, our keys stand strong. We all had one thing in common, for the most part, and that is that we all left with keys that morning... we are united by that parallel fact. I simply want to honor that."

Jess explains her art piece will be “constructed of the survivors keys into the statue of the Phoenix that will be given to the Town of Paradise as a gift and reminder, for all of us to unlock our possibilities after this tragedy.”

At the base of the phoenix will be a list of names of those who died in the fire.

Jess thanks all those who have sent letters of support and provided keys. She also adds thanks to the media outlets who have helped get the word out, including Action News Now, KRCR News, North State Public Radio and Chico News & Review.

To learn more about the Key Project Tribute, check these links:


Email: jessiemercer15@gmail.com










  1. KEY PROJECT UPDATES Posted on November 09, 2019 by Kent Land

    I have one jar set aside, has been since November. This jar contained this key, my families keys, and the keys to the deceased I received. I saved it, treasured it, and protected it with all I had. I told myself don't open that jar until it is time. The....
    Show More


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *