If the United States is considered a “melting pot,” Oakland is certainly a city that exemplifies that imagery. As a locally-owned printing company that specializes in digital wall mural printing, we delight whenever a new wall mural is painted by local artists, and enjoy strolling by our favorites when we have a spare moment.
If you love street art and wall murals, make sure you also check out our post covering 5 of the best wall murals in San Francisco.
According to World Population Review, “Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse major U.S. cities, ranking 4th in diversity with a diversity score of 91.4, and ethnographers estimate that there are more than 100 different languages and dialects spoken here. So, it’s no surprise that some of our favorite wall murals in the Oakland area display imagery that taps deeply into the culturally rich tapestry that is our community.
Here they are, in no particular order…
1. The intersection of Alice and 14th – Alice Street Mural Project
Top on the list is the mural on the intersection of Alice Street and 14th Street. This is a corner where the edges of Oakland’s Chinatown and the African diaspora weave together. Two large walls, comprising Hotel Oakland – a housing program focusing on Oakland’s low-income seniors – and the Malanga Casquelord Center – were begging for a revamp.
With funding from the Cultural Funding Program and community arts organizations, artists came together to create a large mural that would involve and integrate the community, by using first-hand accounts of community-members as inspiration for the images.
Click Here to watch synopsis of the Alice Street Mural Project. Desi Mundo, Executive Director for the project, sums up the heart of this community rejuvenation project, “It’s easy for us to go and paint a beautiful piece of artwork on the wall, but it takes a lot more time and a lot more effort to really make these deep connections in the community…”
2. Oakland’s Chinatown – courtesy of Dragon School 99
Dragon School is an organization that uses street art as a way of bringing diverse communities together. Started by Luke Dragon and some friends, Dragon School is now the “real deal” and is commissioned to paint wall murals around Oakland’s Chinatown, but the mission has spread to other large cities around the nation.
Bringing both students and adults of all ages together, experienced graffiti artists are happy to work with novices, instructing them on all aspects of street art – from how to use the tools to safety tips. Ultimately, Dragon School participants agree that, “… the way to make every community enriched is by being personally involved and doing things that encourage collaboration and ownership.”
You can take a tour of Dragon School 99’s work, using their Mural Tool Map as your guide.
3. West Street Mural #3 – Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project
The Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project is another community-centric effort to bring people together in harmony, creating beautiful art that unites diverse neighborhoods, races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds – creating solutions for the community’s problems – while adding artistic beauty.
Founded by well-known, Amana Harris, advocate for arts in the K-12 curriculum, the ideas for the murals – and the large majority of the artistry – are generated by the area’s students, exploring the idea of what it means to be a real Super Hero. West Street Mural 3 tells the story of Emilio, who uses his blue and purple car, and his love of music to spread peace, joy, and love – by driving through the community playing his beautiful music.
This is just one of four murals that are completed, and there will be more to come.
4. Martin Luther King Jr Way and Embarcadero West – Know Your Ancestors
Last year, Oakland experienced its first Oakland Mural Festival, modeled off the larger-known, Bay Area Mural Festival. The result was the transformation of several buildings around the area. We are fans of all of them, and you can learn more about some of them here, but one of our favorites is titled, Know Your Ancestors” and is found on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where it meets Embarcadero West.
The mural was painted by Mike “Bam” Tyau, a member of the TDK Grafitti Crew, and Jesus Rodriguez. Mike is originally from Hawaii and is descended from native Hawaiians. As he has grown older, he’s focused more on learning about his ancestors and encourages others to do the same.
5. Lakeview Mural Gallery – Santa Clara Ave
The Lakeview Mural Gallery – part of the Lakeview Mural Project – is the gift that keeps on giving. There is no way to take it all in via a single ogle, so we recommend making it a regular place to walk as you sip a cup of your favorite coffee or tea.
It’s a diorama of sorts, including just about anything and everything that makes up Oakland – boats and buildings, diverse cultures and languages, zoo animals, festivals, children, and even patriotic symbols of the United States. You’ll find something new to admire each time you pass by.
We hope you’ll take yourself – and your family – out and about on an Oakland Mural tour. You’ll be glad you did.
Have a business or building you think would benefit from a wall mural? Contact us here at SpeedPro East Bay, and let’s get to work.