Unlike a museum, public art is a freely accessible means to temporarily or permanently transform cities, communities, and their audiences. It encompasses a wide range of forms: murals, sculpture, landscape design, mosaics, lighting, textiles, video, ceramics, performance – and more.

From 2000 to 2015, East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) and its then affiliate – The Open Circle Foundation – partially or fully commissioned the following eight pieces of public art, among many others.

Commissions from EBCF have been accomplished through the East Bay Fund for Artists. Since its creation in 2003, the East Bay Fund for Artists, an initiative of EBCF, has partnered with more than 5,000 community donors and more than 140 organizations to commission
new works by more than 200 local artists. The East Bay Fund for Artists has leveraged over $2 million in new financial support for the arts in the East Bay.

The Open Circle Foundation begins with the belief that art can constitute a vital force in the lives of individuals and communities. The Foundation seeks to encourage dialogue between the arts and the natural and urban environments by supporting projects that link the arts, the natural world, and local communities.

The Murals at Alice and 14th Street in Oakland

Desi Mundo and Community Rejuvenation Project–Commissioned by EBFA

This 2014 project is a large-scale piece of artwork on three walls at the corner of 14th and Alice Streets in downtown Oakland. It depicts inspirations from the historic Oakland artistic community, with a focus on the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts and Hotel Oakland. The intention of the work is to educate the people of Oakland and visitors of the rich history of this part of Oakland and honor those who’ve contributed to it.

Year of the Dragon Mural at 10th and Jackson streets in Oakland

Thomas Wong (fiscally sponsored by Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce)–Commissioned by EBFA

Commissioned in 2013, The Year of the Dragon mural was proposed as the first of 12 potential murals in Oakland’s Chinatown featuring the animals of the Lunar Zodiac. Artists and community members identified some of the most vandalized walls in Chinatown, and envisioned murals to not only prevent graffiti vandalism, but to also promote cultural pride, local arts, and neighborhood business development.

Year of the Dragon Mural at 10th and Jackson streets in Oakland, Thomas Wong (fiscally sponsored by Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce)
St. Vincent de Paul Community Center
San Pablo and W. Grand Avenue, Oakland–Commissioned by EBFA

Completed in 2011, two murals were installed for which the Desi Mundo and Community Rejuvenation Project worked with community members to finalize designs and involve them in a “paint your piece/peace” process. The process involved mapping out designs into small individual blocks which were then assigned colors and painted by individuals in the community, culminating in mosaic-like works. The intention of involving the community residents was to reflect their heritage and enhance community pride in a neighborhood that has long experienced poverty and blight. Unfortunately, the works were covered by graffiti in 2013 and were painted over because they could not be restored. There is no guarantee specific public art works will outlast the forces of social destruction in the short run, but art cannot be suppressed in the long run.

St. Vincent de Paul Community Center Murals at San Pablo and West Grand avenues in Oakland, Desi Mundo and Community Rejuvenation Project
Temescal Flows on 52nd Street, Oakland

Commissioned by OCF

Completed in 2012, the project funded an additional mural work on the columns at 54th Street and Shattuck Avenue in Oakland. This project extends the aesthetic established on 52nd street and brings the feeling of motion, a celebration of local place, and “color therapy” to the neighborhood. The highway crosses Shattuck at an acute angle making it an ideal place for a bold artwork. This project gives expression to new variations of wave forms, color tapestries, and organically unfolding images that recall the Temescal Creek and other patterns of nature in the urban fabric. Open Circle Foundation has commissioned a new branch of the Temescal Flows mural that was funded in Spring 2014.

Temescal Flows Mural, 54th Street and Shattuck Avenue in Oakland, Alan Leon (fiscally sponsored by Omega Institute for Holistic Studies)
Riverview Middle School, Bay Point

Commissioned by OCF

A project currently in progress, Annemarie Baldauf is leading students in the creation of six, permanently installed mosaics on the outside of the gym at Riverview Middle School in Bay Point. Students are participating in a year-long process to make the mosaic and apply learning from their art program, and ultimately see their art become part of their campus environment.

California Hotel Mural Project

Hang Nguyen, and People’s Grocery, 309 7th Street, Oakland–Commissioned by OCF

Completed in 2010, we and People’s Grocery commissioned a community mural project at its California Hotel garden. This was the first attempt by People’s Grocery to connect visual artists with community residents as a way to promote community ownership of local urban agricultural sites.

California Hotel Mural Project, Hang Nguyen, People’s Grocery, 309 7th Street, Oakland
RYSE Center Mural Project

Robert Trujillo, RYSE Center, 205 41st Street in Richmond–Commissioned by OCF

RYSE is a safe and welcoming center for diverse West Contra Costa youth that builds youth power and leadership towards personal and community health and transformation. Members of RYSE’s Youth Leadership Team worked directly with Trust Your Struggle artist Robert Trujillo and Arts Change on all aspects of creating the mural – from identifying and developing the concept and story, sketching mural design on paper, outlining onto RYSE’s exterior wall, to painting and executing the project. RYSE organized an event inviting youth, adult allies, community residents, and other social services providers to see the mural’s unveiling in 2010. The event and the mural provided an opportunity to celebrate youths’ efforts and increased awareness of the needs and priorities of youth.

Oakland High School Beautiful Struggle Mural

Visual Arts Academy at Oakland High School, 1023 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland–Commissioned by OCF

Completed in 2006, the project consists of social commentary murals completed by Oakland High School students in the Visual Arts Academy.

The murals address the United Nations’ Millennium Development goals including: the eradication of poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, the promotion of gender equality and the creation of environmental sustainability. Images capture hope and possibility by illustrating the works of Nobel Laureates who have addressed some of the most pressing issues of our times.

The East Bay Fund for Artists is an initiative of East Bay Community Foundation. Learn more about EBCF’s commitment to public art on our Arts and Culture for Social and Racial Justice program strategies page.