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Community Rejuvenation Project and The Greenlining Institute Announce New Mural Project in Oakland

The Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP and the Greenlining Institute announced today a large-scale mural project in downtown Oakland). Over the next few months, CRP will design and install the Greenlining mural on the west-facing exterior wall of Greenlining’s 360 Center at 360 14th Street. in downtown Oakland. Additionally, CRP will be hosting a series of free community engagement events and public activities throughout the mural production process, including design workshops, a panel discussion, an art exhibition, and an artist talk.…

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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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 A Mural For Jennifer

This past November, CRP Executive Director and Founder Desi Mundo unveiled a new mural at the Eastmont branch of the Oakland Library. The painting was the artist’s most deeply-personal work to date: a portrait of his late wife, Jennifer Ana’ Finefeuiaki, who transitioned this past March, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.  The mural dedication ceremony was well–attended by Mundo’s friends and family, along with Denise Pate of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Department — who funded the project — and…

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CRP Pays Tribute to Fallen SW Hip-Hop Legend Wake Self

On November 3rd, Southwestern hip-hop rising star Wake Self–aka Andrew Martinez–was fatally injured in a car accident  in Santa Fe New Mexico, reportedly caused by a drunk driver who swerved into oncoming traffic, striking the car Martinez was driving. Martinez had just completed his latest album, ironically titled Ready to Live, and was preparing for its release party when tragedy struck.  The incident shook the tight-knit Southwestern hip-hop community where Martinez had become a familiar figure, and sent ripples of…

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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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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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