Bay Area Mural Festival takes over Oakland

Allison Weseman,

As part of the first Oakland Art Month sponsored by Visit Oakland, nine muralists were selected to create a series of murals throughout the Jack London District. Previously known as the Oakland Mural Festival, muralists were given the option to express themselves unlike in years past where they were given clear directives to design their art around.

The first year made artists focus on migration and refugees for their murals in South Berkeley, while the second year had murals dedicated to eco justice in Richmond.

“All of the artists that are in the mural festival were selected because the body of their work has some connection to social issues,” said muralist Sami Schif.

Muralists such as Caleb Durate included Guatemalan immigrants to help create his mural that focused on the theme “Embassy of the Refugee” in Downtown Oakland. The mural was aimed to reflect recent refugee arrivals in the Bay Area.

During the weeklong event, muralists focused on different social justice issues, such as immigration, in an effort to start a conversation with people who gathered to watch the artists at work.

“As we were sketching the piece, we were thinking of the story that we wanted to tell and as people walk by, they add their input and experience of what they see and feel,” said muralists Jack and Alise Eastgate.

A complete map with location of the murals is available online at: