Murals

Phase 2: Respect the Architect

In terms of cultural impact, Phase 2 lands as a juxtaposition of two legendary Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) luminaries: Imhotep — the architect of the step pyramid under the Pharaoh Djoser (c. 2700 BC) and a high priest of the sun deity Ra — and Tehuti (Thoth) — the ibis-headed neteru (god) of writing, magic, music,and technology. Said to be “self-created and self-produced,” Thoth maintained knowledge of the sacred words of power. Upon his journey into the afterlife, Imhotep, who was…

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Reevaluating the State of the Arts in Oakland

Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Department (CAD) is severely underfunded and understaffed. According to a memo sent by CAD to the Funding Advisory Committee last November 26, current staffing levels are just one full-time employee and one temporary service contract employee. $1.2 million in grants were awarded in the last fiscal year, a number which has not seen a significant increase since before the recession. (By way of comparison, the San Francisco Art Commission handed out $1.6 million in grants in 2014-2015…

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Oakland’s Public Art Ordinance Upheld

  If you’ve been in and around downtown Oakland recently, you may have noticed the area has become proliferate with murals — even though one of Oakland’s most iconic downtown works of public art, CRP’s “The Universal Language,” has been obscured by a new high-rise ).  For most people, this is a good thing: visible art makes downtown seem friendlier and more vibrant, while offering an array of (mostly) local artists, in a dizzying blend of various styles and techniques. …

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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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Developers Vs. Art (Op/Ed)

  This past July, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area (BIA) – a developer’s club, whose members includes realtors, construction companies, mortgage lenders, and building manufacturers—joined forces with conservative legal activists Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to challenge a recent Oakland public art ordinance. The PLF filed a lawsuit on the BIA’s behalf in federal courts, alleging Oakland committed a civil rights violation in enacting the ordinance, which expands current percent for art requirements to private (1%) and residential…

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Oakland Tribune Reports: City Council Has Only Spent a Fraction of Abatement Mural Allotment

  As CRP previously reported , Councilmember Desley Brooks (D6) is on record as telling KPFA’s Davey D, “Neighborhoods in West Oakland and East Oakland need to have public art.” Yet in an Oakland Tribune article published on Sunday, April 26, it was revealed that Brooks and her fellow Councilmembers have dragged their feet in allocating funds set aside in 2013 for abatement murals. As reporter Mike Blasky noted, “Of the $400,000 the council approved, only $14,100 has been formally allocated,…

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Alice St Mural Project Phase II Underway

Following an eight-month delay, Oakland-based muralist organization the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) has begun work on Phase II of the Alice St. Mural Project.  On April 3rd 2015, a contract was finally signed with property owner Mark Borsuk, allowing the project to proceed as planned. Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney’s office, who assisted with contract negotiations, was invaluable during this protracted process.  “We couldn’t have moved forward without [D3 staff],” Executive Director Desi Mundo said. Though the delay altered the project’s original…

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The Privatization of Public Art

Last November, then-Councilmember Libby Schaff proposed a new ordinance which required a percentage of new development–.5% for residential property, and 1% for private development—for “public art.” The ordinance further codified an existing public art program, which provides 1.5% of capital improvement projects to “commission and acquire public art.”  Yet while the existing public art fund is administered by the city’s Cultural Arts dept., the new ordinance “provides developers with the option of commissioning public art on the development site or…

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Alice Street Mural Project A Big Hit With Local Media Outlets

  Recently, CRP pulled off a pretty cool feat: within the course of ten days, the Alice Street Mural Project received media hits from the Mercury News , Oakland Tribune, KQED, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s newsletter, Oakland Tribune  (again), and the Contra Costa Times. That’s easily the most attention from local media CRP has ever gotten for any of the 150 mural projects the organization has done in the past four years. Even more impressive was what the media had to…

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Nova Scotia Discovers the Solution!

Halifax property owners have discovered a solution for their vandalism problems. Instead of chasing away the youth at night, they are encouraging higher quality works on their space during the day. What they have discovered is that most young writers simply want to express themselves. Given legitimate forums and encouragement, they focus on developing themselves and their style and they create masterpieces. According to the youth, blank walls are a target. But high quality murals and masterpieces invoke respect. Its…

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