Category Archives: fruitvale

Exploring Fruitvale one mural at a time ~ St. Elizabeth High School

Oakland’s Fruitvale District, home to a large portion of the city’s Latino residents, is famous for its awesome annual cultural events – the Cinco de Mayo parade and Dios de los Muertos Festival – as well as its incredible profusion of colorful public murals, among other things.

These artworks portray the very fabric of the community in all its cultural history and diversity. Here is one…

Created by the 2005 Senior Art Class taught by David Burke at St. Elizabeth Catholic High School, the mural depicts St. Elizabeth of Hungary – a symbol of Christian charity, and a pelican – a symbol Christian compassion.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pelican mural, fruitvale murals

symbol of Christian compassion, pelican symbolism

fruitvale mural, east oakland murals, st. elizabeth high school mural

PS – This is the third assignment from my June blogging e-course… “Write a bite-sized blog post. See if you can say everything you want to say in 100 words. Actually, I couldn’t! (My post is 100 words short, but there was much more I wanted to say.)

Express yourself…

So I know Friday is s’posed to be partyin’ partyin’ fun fun fun lookin’ forward to the weekend, but not for me. Not today.

This sticker pretty much sums up how I feel, so I’m just puttin’ it out there.  It’s healthy, right?

oakland sticker art, graffiti stickers east bay, street art stickers

And why am I such an oscar-the-grouch this morning? Little things really. Insignificant if you think about it, but I’d rather vent for a minute and be done with it.

  • First, my little survey yesterday was an utter failure. Only 4 responses, two of which were pathetically un-helpful (“Oaktown Art” and “vagina” – thanks B!) The two more serious answers were “street art” (here you go!) and “new art in Oakland I haven’t seen” – hmmm, that’s a toughie since I’m not you, but I’ll work on it…
  • Next, because I am a Luddite and am late to the Twitfest, I’ve just discovered that someone’s already using my handle (oaktownart). The nerve! I actually tweeted him (my first tweet ever) to ask if he’d consider changing his name, and he replied NO, despite the fact that until yesterday, he had only 1 tweet under his belt. (sigh) What to do dear readers? Do we launch a Colbert-style assault to humiliate him into changing? Or do I change? And if so, please tell… what should my twitter handle be?

There.  I feel a bit better.  Now on with the “Gettin’ down on Friday”…

Fruitvale Village ~ teeming with mosaics

I don’t have much to say about the mosaics at Fruitvale Village, other than, if you have not been there, you should go.  My pictures do not do them justice, as they must be examined in person to truly appreciate the number, size, and breadth of designs incorporated.

fruitvale village mosaics, large scale stone mosaics

round bench in plaza ~ approx 20 feet across

fruitvale arches, fruitvale mosaic arches, mosaic gateways

mosaic gateway to the plaza

Fruitvale Pedestrian Plaza Art, fruitvale plaza mosaics

large scale stone & tile mosaic

oakland public mosaic art

more sidewalk/pedestrian mosaics

fruitvale mosaic arches

traditional Roman technique using uniform stone squares

woman with spear, stone mosaics, fruitvale transit village art

designs incorporate culturally diverse references

large scale stone mosaics, fruitvale village

a subtle and consistent palette is achieved using natural stone tiles

fruitvale arches, fruitvale plaza mosaics

these too are crafted from natural stone tiles

tree in hands mosaic

I love the image of the tree cradled by human hands.

Dimond Wayfinding Mosaics

I hope you are digging the mosaics because we have a lot more ground to cover! I’ve been scoping out tons of amazing examples, inspiring me to visit parts of Oakland I’ve never been to before.

And this next batch is specifically designed to do the same… encourage exploration.

Produced by Gina Dominguez of Snapshot Mosaics, and commissioned by Councilperson (now Mayor) Jean Quan, five sidewalk mosaics were recently installed near the intersection of MacArthur & Fruitvale at the heart of the Dimond District.

They are called “wayfinding” mosaics as their intent is to direct passing pedestrian to nearby points of interest.  The designs incorporate imagery designed to celebrate the unique features of this very cool (as I am discovering since this is my new ‘hood) neighborhood.

I spotted the first of these outside the new mural at Farmer Joe’s while shooting updates of their progress (see original post here). Then I discovered there were more of them to be found so I spent some time walking the nearby blocks to find them all.

Dominguez has posted about this on Snapshot’s site under Custom Installations, and I’m going to be pulling some quotes from her site below (italicized).

Located near La Farine Bakery, 3411 Fruitvale Avenue the hummingbird was chosen as the main design element due to its positive symbolism in Native American culture.  This mosaic celebrates the Native American Collection housed at the Dimond Library and points visitors toward:

Dimond Library, Peralta Creek, Fruitvale District, & Sausal Creek

snapshot mosaics, dimond public art, sidewalk mosaics

Located at the Dimond Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue, this mosaic’s design was inspired by Sausal Creek, the movement of water and the Rainbow Trout that live there. It directs passersby to:

Chabot Space & Science Center, Sequoia Elementary School, Dimond Business District, & Sausal Creek

snapshot mosaics, gina dominguez, sausal creek mosaic

Situated at the base of “Hidden Jewels,” a mural being painted on the side of Farmer Joe’s Market, its design shows the native flora found in Dimond Canyon: California Poppy, California Fuschia, Morning Glory, and California Grapes. This mosaic directs people to:

Dimond Park, Peralta Hacienda, William D. Wood Park, & Glenview District

dimond public art, dragonfly mosaic, gina dominguez mosaics

Located near Bank of America, 2154 MacArthur Boulevard, this mosaic showcases the Leimert Bridge which spans Dimond Canyon, a landmark feat of its day. Also celebrated is the heron that graces the creek with its presence. This wayfinder will direct you toward:

Oakmore District, Laurel District, San Francisco Bay, & The Altenheim

oakland public art, city of oakland sponsored art, heron mosaic

The Redwood Grove in Dimond Park and Joaquin Miller Park are featured in this mosaic that is installed at 2450 Fruitvale Avenue [outside the Wells Fargo]. From here, visitors can find:

Joaquin Miller Park, Bret Harte District, Fruitvale District, & Dimond Canyon

sequoia mosaic, snapshot mosaics, sidewalk mosaics, oakland public art

Pretty cool, right? I think they’re awesome, and I know now there are some new destinations I need to seek out, like William D. Wood Park.

Snapshot Mosaics is located in Montclair Village in Oakland and offers classes for both adults and kids, as well as open studio time for those more experienced. In the coming days, I’ll be writing a bit more about technique and process, as well as some other instructional opportunities… Stay tuned!