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Create for Yourselves…

September 21, 2010

The true title of this 7-story tall mural is “Mitzvah, the Jewish Cultural Experience.”

Located at 14th & Franklin – we passed it on our way from the Layover to Spice Monkey for dinner – the mural was created in 1985 by artist Keith Sklar, with Brooke Fancher and Dan Fontes.  Measuring nearly 100 feet wide and 150 feet tall, a large central banner reads “Create for Yourselves a New Heart a New Spirit,” surrounded by imagery representing significant historical individuals and events in Jewish history, including a portrait of a concentration camp victim.

The mural is a landmark in the recently dubbed Oaksterdam area of downtown Oakland, and as I snapped a few photos the other night, an attendant guarding the parking lot next door told my friend and I, “that mural’s been there as long as I can remember… It’s older than me!”

keith sklar murals oakland, oaksterdam mural, create for yourselves

mural by keith sklar, dan fontes,  brooke fancher, 14th and Franklin

downtown oakland murals, oaksterdam  mural, 14th & franklin mural

bay area multiculturalism

multicultural murals, downtown oakland murals, keith sklar

Despite being focused on Jewish historical figures and events, the mural also features a melting pot of characters exemplary of the multiculturalism that predominated Bay Area murals during that period. Another example we’ve seen is Street Tattoo, created by some of the same artists.

3 Comments
  1. October 21, 2010 5:51 pm

    Thanks for posting this!

    I used to pass by this mural everyday – great to learn a bit more about it.

  2. August 30, 2011 8:28 pm

    It’s a great mural. Unfortunately some idiots have tagged the bottom part of the mural, and overall the mural is looking a little faded. It’s in need of some TLC.

  3. October 2, 2011 6:21 pm

    Just went to visit this mural today and saw how it had been defaced. Terrible. This is a landmark and historic painting of great import honoring Jewish community leaders, including local leaders. This needs to be addressed.

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