UPDATE: The mural artist sent me some incredible close up photos which I’ve added to the end of this post.
Last month, V Smoothe wrote a really interesting blog post about the Oaksterdam University sign and the Planning Commission process to choose a mural to replace it. I highly recommend reading the entire post, as it asks the important question – what criteria should be used to select public art?
She also discusses placemaking and how the sign really marked the neighborhood and people visiting got excited about it. So it’s important for the new mural to serve the same function. The Planning Commission had initially approved a really bland mural of Lake Merritt for the wall but ultimately accepted this proposal as well and left it up to Oaksterdam to decide:
I agree with V that the mural proposal is OK, but it doesn’t reflect Oaksterdam specifically. It’s more of a general Oakland mural. Luckily, the Planning Commission directed Oaksterdam to work with staff to refine the concepts and they clear did. On Tuesday, the mural work started and the old Oaksterdam University sign was covered:
It’s a bit difficult to see from the photos at this size, but click through to the larger photos and you can see the outlines of a very Oaksterdam/Uptown focused mural:
And yesterday, I was excited to see what it looked like with some color added:
I love the bold colors and that the mural includes a downtown street lamp. I love those lamps and think of them as a feature that defines downtown as a place.
I can hardly wait to see the progress of the mural and what it looks like when it’s done. It will be a huge improvement and hopefully an attraction for Oakland. Already, people are stopping to look at it and take photos.
Sadly, I will have to wait as I’ll be taking the train to Sacramento today. If anyone happens to be at Broadway and 17th, if you could email me a photo (oaklandbecks at gmail dot com) I’ll post the photo here and credit you. I’d love to have photos from today and tomorrow (I’ll be back after that to continue recording the progress).
UPDATE (3-10 at 4:10pm): Adams Point resident Sarah Edwards emailed the photo below taken this morning which shows a bit more progress. I’d still love to see more photos if anyone’s able to take them.
UPDATE (3-11 at 9:35am): Here are a couple more photos from blog readers and below that some amazing close up photos from the mural artist.
These two are from Ken from New Oaktown blog, taken yesterday and today:
Here’s one from today from Marla Wilson:
And here are the many photos from the mural artists, R.B. Morris III & Munir Munir. Thanks so much to them and to everyone who has sent in photos! And check back in a couple days, as there will be more photos coming.