The Commodification of Public Art (Op/Ed)

Recently, Pacific Standard magazine  wrote an article about public art in Oakland. Specifically, the story addressed mural brokers, middlemen who connect fat cat developers with artistic talent – for a fee.  Mural brokers, the article explains, handle logistics such as price negotiations, choosing artists, prepping walls for painting, and handling insurance coverage – “everything necessary to make the mural happen except paint it.” The article correctly points out the cultural cachet of murals, and their historical connection to illegal street art,…

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Public Art, BART, and Scraper Bikes

What do public art, BART, and Scraper Bikes all have in common? They are all connected in a new mural painted by CRP’s Desi Mundo. The mural, located on BART-owned property at 75th Avenue and International in Oakland, also connects two ongoing regional initiatives: BART’s Arts Master Plan  and the East Bay Greenway. The mural consists of two sections on either side of the street. Mundo says the design was the result of a community-driven process which included several public…

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CRP Launches Newly-Redesigned and Updated Website

(Oakland, CA) — The Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) unveiled its newly-revised and updated website today. The redesign includes thorough and comprehensive sections on issue areas like Policy, Education, and Professional Services, in addition to a new Public Art Policy Platform, detailed and nuanced information and background on Public Art Policy, Abatement and Abatement Alternatives, Creative Placemaking and Creative Placekeeping, and Economic Development. The new Education section includes School Programs, Curriculum Development, Teacher and Vocational Training, and Youth Development. Also brand-new:…

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Legacies of Respect: Culture, Politics, Art, and the Community Mural Tradition (Part Two)

Part One of this series traced the history and impact of Chicago’s famous community mural, the Wall of Respect—a timeline which connects the Black Renaissance, the Great Migration of African Americans, the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements, protests against the Vietnam war, the contemporary mural tradition, the emergence of modern graffiti and street art, and public art policy. In Part Two, CRP Executive Director Desi Mundo further embellishes the legacy of the Wall of Respect, linking a…

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Legacies of Respect: Culture, Politics, Art, and the Community Mural Tradition (Part One)

Chicago’s community mural movement coincided with the emergence of the modern graffiti movement in Philadelphia and New York—underground subcultures which, like Oakland and Chicago, found their artistic voices in expressing messages born out of inner-city life, strife, resistance, and resilience. It also helped give rise to the notion of community-based art lending a sense of cultural identity and attachment to place, long before the term “creative placemaking” came into vogue in public art circles.

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Alice Street Short Competes for Best Documentary in Top Shorts Film Festival

The Community Rejuvenation Project was honored to be informed that its Alice Street Short film was accepted into the Top Shorts online film festival to compete with over 100 short films for prizes in 50 categories. According to its website, “Top Shorts is the world’s leading online film festival, showcasing outstanding short films from around the world to an audience of film fans and filmmakers. Top Shorts is an official event on IMDb, and was recently ranked 8th Best Reviewed Festival out of…

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Abatement Alternatives: Why Oakland Needs A Mural Program (Part Two)

In Part One of this series, the Community Rejuvenation Project’s (CRP) work and murals in general received unexpected praise from an unlikely source – a city abatement worker known as Erase, who publicly stated abatement was a waste of money, and that murals might be a better, more cost-efficient, alternative. The post went on to detail extensively why abatement is a money pit which is problematic on many levels, and propose a solution: shift some of the more than seven-figures…

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Abatement Alternatives: Why Oakland Needs a Mural Program (Part One)

Perhaps the highest level of praise a mural organization could receive is from a city abatement worker, who by his own estimation has been covering up graffiti for “eight hours a day, five days a week” for 28 years. Indeed, during the Community Rejuvenation Project’s recent Alice Street Symposium , an abatement worker known as Erase, revealed that he’s been “promoting murals” for eight years. Erase spoke highly of murals in general, and singled out CRP for praise: “I’ve been…

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Alice Street Symposium Brings Activists, Advocates, Policymakers Together

On Friday, April 7, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) presented the first in a series of planned symposia. Sponsored by the Akonadi Foundation and Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s office, the Alice Street Symposium built on an engaging event and panel discussion held during the Matatu Festival of Stories in 2016, Shifting the location to the auditorium at the Elihu Harris State Building lent the proceedings a more formal, official air, which underscored the political relevancy of the topics discussed. Assemblyman Bonta…

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UPDATED: Alice Street Symposium Addresses Gentrification, Displacement, and Cultural Resiliency

On April 7, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) will host the Alice Street Symposium on Community Engagement Strategies and Best Practices. The event includes a short address by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a screening of director Spencer Wilkinson’s “Alice Street Short” documentary film, presentations by CRP Executive Director Desi Mundo and Roy Chan of the Chinatown Oral History Project, and a panel moderated by CRP Communications and Policy Director Eric Arnold, featuring Danielle Beavers (Greenlining Institute), Ener Chiu (East Bay Asian…

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