Written by Cheyenne Bingham
When you drive down East Thousand Oaks Boulevard to come visit us, you might notice a very distinct animal perched near our Main Office. Come a little closer, and you’ll have the chance to admire the peaceful gaze and the colorful blue, yellow, and red fur coat of an affable fiberglass bunny.
In August 2019, this Conejo Cottontail hopped its way home to Many Mansions. A joint project between Art Trek, Inc. and the Arts Council of the Conejo Valley, Conejo Cottontails is a public art project painted by local artists and displayed around the community. Named for our ubiquitous rabbit population in and around the (appropriately named) Conejo Valley, Conejo Cottontails supports bringing the arts for seniors, at-risk youth, and disabled adults.
Sponsored by Eddy and Cate Hartenstein and Andy and Jill Binsley, Hope is a 5-foot, 6-inch fiberglass bunny. It was named by Bambi Hosaka, a long time staff member and supporter of Many Mansions. Bambi came up with the name while visiting the bunny while it was being painted. She was inspired by the work Many Mansions was doing that year on Ormond Beach Villas, our first property to serve homeless and low-income veterans. This was the year we were giving hope to homeless and low-income veterans too, she said. The bunny itself should be named Hope.
Anette Power, the artist behind the work, was similarly inspired. She said, “My goal was to incorporate my love of color with the distinct colors of Many Mansions – and to have the design signify and celebrate what Many Mansions does. The Hope that Home provides… The challenge was to translate, not just the shape of home (square) onto the 3 dimensional curvy bunny, but also capture the very deep meaning home holds.”
This project is where the purpose of Many Mansions and Conejo Cottontails intertwine. Conejo Cottontails is working hard to bring the arts to a world that is increasingly without it. Similarly, we too are fighting to provide safe, affordable housing to a world that has too little of it. For the both of us and, indeed, for the community at large—this bunny signifies a desire for a future. A future in which the people in our great community are guaranteed lives full of stability, meaning, safety, happiness, and beauty.
May we all have a little more Hope in our lives.