Louise Shields stands next to her work, “Majestic and Mysterious,” which was chosen as part of the LunARC initiative. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Louise Shields is going to the moon.

The Gilroy artist was chosen to have a digital copy of her work as part of a time capsule that will be brought on board a lunar lander scheduled to launch on a SpaceX rocket in May.

LunARC, a global not-for-profit initiative, worked with various worldwide organizations to gather submissions of 30,000 pieces of artwork. Data of the artwork will then be nano etched on glass. 

Jim Alexander is part of an international team of people behind LunARC.

Alexander said the mission of LunARC is to bring more voices into the realm of space exploration, beyond governments and large corporations that have a grip on the industry.

The hope is to get the next generation excited about space and careers in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) fields.

“What I find really exciting about this is it’s going to land on the Mare Crisium, on a very visible spot on the moon,” he said. “All these kids who submitted art are going to be able to point to that spot on the moon and say, ‘I made something that’s there.”

LunARC has partnered with LifeShip to place a time capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Shields said she learned about LunARC through her friend Diane Miller, who introduced her to Alexander.

“Mind you, I was a little skeptical but had read about art being sent digitally to the moon,” she said. “I was also very intrigued and excited. Like anything in life, if you don’t put yourself out there, you will never know what the end result can be.”

Shields submitted “Majestic and Mysterious,” a gel medium and acrylics on canvas. When she learned she was accepted, “I was over the moon, literally with joy.”

“By being a part of this collaborative moon mission with LunARC, I will be leaving a legacy of my artwork not only in real time but in space,” she said. “My artwork will be a part of history. I am feeling blessed to have a friend that genuinely respects me as an artist and felt strongly enough to refer me to the LunARC project.

“My intent as an artist is always to share the beauty, inspiration and hope through my artwork with others,” she said. “The legacy of having a piece of my artwork eternally on the moon is an extremely incredible feeling and blessing. The moon symbolizes so many things including inner reflection, emotions, dreams, femininity and wisdom. To send my art to the moon is an honor in itself due to the magnificence that the moon evokes and embodies.”

For information about LunARC, visit lunarc.org.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


  1. Hey Erik
    Great article about both Louise and the project!
    The fact that an artist from Gilroy is part of the project gives attention to our town, our art community, and may lead to our being in the “conversation” as a hub for artists in the south valley going forward. As more of us move here from the mega cities in search of a slower pace and landscape unblemished by urban sprawl it will be increasingly important to feature that aspect of our community. Thanks for your interest and support!

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