Tag Archives: community rejuvenation project

Buddha & Ganesh

I thought I’d stay in the neighborhood since we’ve been here all week… here’s another mural produced by the folks at Community Rejuvenation Project. This one’s located at 21st and Mandela Parkway, right around the corner from Bee Aware – Connected Worlds

These guys are busy. I haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of the murals they’ve produced over the last few years and intend to take a field trip down Foothill Blvd. in the near future to photograph many more.

oakland mural art, CRP mural, mural on mandela parkway, buddha mural, ganesh mural

I’m not sure when this one was produced… maybe my friend Desi can chime in and give us a bit more information. In the meantime I’ll tell you that CRP worked with 30 kids during a 6-week grant-funded program last summer to produce positive mural art in various neighborhoods in Oakland. The youth were actually paid for their time (jobs people!), as were the four artist instructors: Desi, Mr. E, Mike360, and Raven.

In addition to learning how to paint, the kids learned basic art concepts, promotional & marketing skills to interact with the local community around the project, documentation & surveying techniques, and even basic job skills like showing up on time and finishing a job through to completion. The unveiling of each mural was typically accompanied by a community block party.

silence the violence, mural art oakland, mural on mandela

At the end of the summer program they held a week-long workshop to produce the printed magazine S.W.E.A.R. documenting their efforts. SWEAR stands for Street Warriors Enacting Artistic Revolution, and the full 24 page piece was entirely produced by the youth, excluding printing.

It’s a gorgeous glossy full of wonderful vignettes about the projects and participants… poetry, artist bio’s, essays, etc. Here’s a snippet of one student’s essay:

“The CRP program is almost complete; we are still developing and exploring who we are and how art can change our world. During our first week, we dove into training and challenged ourselves to learn something completely new. Some of us had experience in painting, surveying, clean up, or promotion, but besides the lead artists, we were teaching each other.”

oakland mural art, CRP mural on Mandela, CRP murals, Mandela Parkway murals

buddha mural, oakland mural art, CRP murals, mural on mandela

They’ve just finished their grant applications for 2010 and are planning for several more murals to be painted in the coming year. A couple locations have been picked in my neighborhood (the 30’s at San Pablo) and I, for one, am very excited!

New Oakland Youth Center Mural Project – the movie!

Here is my first movie. Ever. So cut me a little slack please… have a heart.

After watching it full screen on my big Apple studio monitor, sizing the movie down for YouTube is disappointing… much of the detail is lost here. For this reason I’ve posted a slightly larger than recommended file size. Ideally, you should let it load for a minute or so before watching. Or better yet, click on the YouTube logo in the lower right hand corner to watch directly there in a larger window. If anyone has suggestions for sharing larger high-res movie files, please send my way. Thanks.

Oh, and the grand opening party was a smashing success. Standing room only turnout. I’ll post more photos this weekend. But for now… back to the day job (the one that pays the bills, the work work).

Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center

Check out this building…

art in action, green media arts center

Doesn’t look like much… yet.

But in just a couple weeks, we’ll witness the grand opening of the new Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center, an outgrowth of the hugely successful Turf Unity Music project operating out of this same space, previously a youth homeless center (Covenant House California).

Turf Unity is a joint project of Cov Records, Art in Action, and Silence the Violence (one of the Ella Baker Center’s campaigns), and initially, the Ella Baker Center offices were transformed into a music studio one weekend each year to house the project. (See my previous post on the Ella Baker Center.) Now Turf Unity has its own year-round location, as do a number of other programs.

The Chronicle featured a short story about the new center earlier this week, titled “Oakland studio tries to put youth on right track“.  It includes a story of one young man, his life affected by gang violence and later transformed through his involvement with Silence the Violence… he’s now the music production manager at the center, “his first real job.” That’s the kind of positive change I’ve been talkin’ about.

The Center has a number of funders, the most prominent being the superstar hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, through their non-profit initiative the Peapod Foundation. Offering entrepreneurial, vocational, and green job readiness training for youth from historically disadvantaged communities, activities will include leadership development, new media, arts training, music production, community organizing skills, and green job education to Oakland youth between the ages of 18 to 25.

art in action, silence the violence, oakland green youth arts & media center

Five organizations will run out of the new Center:

  • Grind for the Green – committed to moving youth of color from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement.
  • Turf Unity Music Project – brings together turf rappers from neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area to promote unity through music, business partnerships, and community action.
  • Colored Ink – a Bay Area Based Hip-Hop Theater Group that uses the Urban Arts to inspire urban communites for social change.
  • Art in Action – committed to building youth leadership for social justice.
  • Community Rejuvenation Project – transforms blighted areas of the community through murals, community clean-up, landscaping & gardening, and community celebrations.

If that last one rings a bell, it’s because I’ve already featured a number of their murals on this site:

You Choose…
Chaos Without ~ Peace Within
May all the beings in all the worlds become Happy…

They’re producing their next mural project on the exterior of the new center, planning to finish for the grand opening party on January 14th.  My plan is to cover this process and highlight a bit more info about CRP, so stay tuned for future posts…

Chaos Without ~ Peace Within

This one’s just down Broadway a few blocks from the last one, towards downtown. It’s unsigned, and unfortunately a little tagged up, but looks like the work of the same artists who did yesterday’s post. I love it.

I’m going to type out some of the beautiful quotes in case people have difficulty reading them in the pics… also then the text is searchable.  Here’s the first:

Hatred ever kills…
Love never dies…
Such is the vast difference between the two
What is obtained by love
is retained for all Time…

oakland mural, chaos without mural, mural on broadway

oakland mural, mural on broadway, oakland mural art, peace within mural

What is obtained by hatred
proves a burden in reality
For it increases hatred.

chaos within, peace without, oakland mural art

The duty of a human being
is to diminish hatred…
and to promote Love

~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

mohandas k. gandhi, mahatma gandhi, mural art, oakland mural

I was surprised that the quotes were attributed to Mohandas K. Gandhi, rather than Mahatma Gandhi. In looking it up, I realized that Mahatma was just his nickname… a Sanskrit word meaning “Great Soul.” I tell ya, I learn something new every day doing this. It’s humbling and exhilarating at the same time.

Another great work by the folks at Community Rejuvenation Project.

May all the beings in all the worlds become Happy…

Ok kids… so I’m going to continue the focus on murals for the next few days because:

  1. I am swamped with work and this writing stuff takes time
  2. The murals are so amazing they speak for themselves, so I don’t have to say much
  3. There are bunch of ’em in the Broadway and 40th vicinity we’ve been exploring lately

Here’s the next… it’s at the corner of Broadway and 49th, right in my old hood.  It kind of reminds me of the one I featured a couple weeks ago next to Ghost Town Farm… similar message of peace & happiness between all peoples, and an interesting mix of iconography… the moon, the earth, the sun, egyptian pharaohs, and the buddha… not to mention the classic graffiti style writing.  It’s pretty cool.

Oakland Mural at Broadway and 49th

The left side of the mural reads “Lokah Samasah Sukhino Bhavantu” which apparently is Sanskrit.
How do I know this? Google. Thanks Google! The phrase translates to the title of this post, which you will also see painted on the far right side of the mural.

lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu, Oakland Mural

lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu Mural

egyptian, oakland mural, lokah samasah sukhino bhavantu

The buddha depicted in the center looks almost female to me, resting on her lotus flower, floating above the Earth. The words “Infinite Potential” are painted across.

oakland mural, Infinite Possibility

oakland mural, community rejuvination project, broadway and 49th

As you can see here, the mural was created as part of a Community Rejuvenation Project by Little Village MAS students: Abicus, Daz, Dési, Fact, Jinx, and Raven. Nice work kids!

May Peace Prevail on Earth

The traditional Aztec dancers from the Día de los Muertos festival reminded me of this mural I saw a few weeks ago with its blend of cultural imagery, including what appear to be various gods or goddesses.

It’s on an old boarded-up apartment building at the corner of 28th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. I wasn’t able to locate any artists’ signatures, but I did discover that the writing running along the top of the mural, which spans two sides of the building, says “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in several different languages. How beautiful is that? And how beautiful is this mural?!! The artistry is amazing.

Oakland Mural Art

The circle of black, red, and white above reminds me of some of the art I saw at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, much of its collection focused on the art of the native peoples of the northwest coast. The figure of the raven is featured predominantly… legend has it that the first men were born out of a clamshell overseen by the raven (A Haida legend of the Raven and the First Men).

I wish I knew who the figure below surrounded by flames represents. Please send me some info if you happen to know.

Oakland Mural Art

Oakland Mural Art

I also love the incorporation of modern comic book characters (explorers above & warriors below) in between the dieties.

Oakland Mural Art

Oakland Mural Art

This last one looks Tibetan to me… but I really do not know. Anyone?

Oakland Mural Art

Note: later learned this to be another work by the folks at Community Rejuvenation Project.