Tag Archives: silence the violence

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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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…