Wall Words: 
Concrete Canvas Painting

Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project
On Friday, February 21st our team of local painters finished the mural! The unveiling will take place on Wednesday, March 5th at 1:30PM. It will be a historic event that you won't want to miss!

Local artists in the process of bringing the Westlake Middle School students' mural design to life

Westlake Middle School and Eagle Village After School Program Students helping paint the mural
Attitudinal Healing Connection
What a journey for both the students and the artists! This group of youth and adults will take away an amazing life experience that is immortalized on the wall.
The Westlake Middle School students who are a part of the Eagle Village After School Program were interviewed about the art process and the impact of the mural.
7th grade student, Betsy Fikir, expressed excitement and disbelief; "It feels good...my work's on the wall! I never thought it would be this important." 
The satisfaction is huge. Malissa Aguilar, in the 7th grade, conveyed how exciting this is for her, "because now everybody gets to see what hard work me and my group put into it."
Aniya Rivers, a 6th grade student, explained how creating her Super Hero's back-story, "...to know where she came from and who she is," was her favorite part. She imagined her Super Hero as not "just a painting" but as an embodiment of actions to spread "throughout real life".
Lead Artist, Refa Dennis, and local artist, Daniel Panko working on the mural


Erica Luong, a 7th grader, depicted her Super Hero as multiracial, conveying that, "no matter who you are, you can help change the community." 


Oakland has a lot to learn from these wise Westlake Middle Schoolers.

The youth believe that the mural will, "inspire the community to have better dreams" for the future, articulated Isane Smith, a 7th grader. Rivers expanded on that point by saying that the mural "will make [people] feel like everyone is a super hero and everyone has super powers, like joy, happiness and to spread the peace." 

These youth are hopeful that their mural will inspire change in passersby to help one another and do good for the community.


Local artist, Sage-Sydney Cain painting

From another standpoint, after 21 days working side by side, the artists can finally rest. During the project there were both challenges and moments of accomplishment that the artists experienced. 


Despite working on a wall not entirely scaffolded and in cold weather conditions, they maintained an impressive sense of patience, amazing focus to execute the right techniques and exhibited strong systems of support and communication. 


Javier Rocabado, local artist working on the mural, expressed the mere scale as a fun yet challenging aspect of the project. 


Some artists were painting images they had never created before but they were able to "pick each others' brains and ask for advice from those who specialized in the technique," said local artist, Sidney-Sage Cain. She continued by saying, "It's different when you paint for yourself because you have all control, but with this you have to give that control up". 


This mentality and understanding allowed them to accomplish the mural as a team.

One of the artists, Daniel Panko, reflected positively on the work describing it as, "a unifying project." His appreciation for his team of artists was clear. "Any form of art will unify people but this group in particular is really special because it's really diverse." All artists emphasized the pleasure of working alongside other "amazing artists", highlighting and putting to use their different strengths. 


Keena Romano, an artist on the wall, also expressed that, "It's so wonderful to be a part of history in the making." 


This team had to "push their abilities and do more with less", explained another artist, Vanessa Espinoza, in regards to paint color and working under a tight deadline. Despite the adversity, the team of artists collaborated and blended their various styles and visions successfully to capture the conceptual design by the students.


The artists felt the immediate impact of the mural on the community, too. Espinoza felt there was so much "community love" especially when "people brought [them] cookies and milk" while they were working.


* * *

Please join us at the mural site on Market Street between 35th and 36th Streets on Wednesday, March 5th, at 1:30PM to celebrate the unveiling of this masterpiece and symbol of change and empowerment for West Oakland. A reception immediately following will be held at Attitudinal Healing Connection, located at 3278 West Street.


Help us restore hope and positively transform Oakland from the inside out by making a donation today! Stay tuned for our next update!



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