The Community Rejuvenation Project cultivates healthy communities through beautification, education, and celebration. We achieve this mission through experiential programs that promote professional development, artistic and cultural expression, and community empowerment.

Monday, May 30, 2011

18th & Telegraph

Downtown Oakland is starting to awaken. New clubs and restaurants are opening. Art Galleries are flourishing. You wouldn't know that on a Sunday morning though. 18th and Telegraph at 9 AM was desolate. The only sign of any life was the Rudy's Can't Fail Diner, still under construction, which will be Oakland's only 24 hr. restaurant.

Even upon arrival, there was no clear plan for the mural. The wall had been designated as a "high blight" location by neighbors and downtown officials who requested that something be done. It was a classic absentee landlord situation. The owner had moved out of the country and had failed to respond to any communications. The wall had been repeatedly vandalized and covered in posters. Adopting the wall with a mural was the only long term solution that people could think of.

Still, as an aerosol writer, there is a slight cognitive dissonance in painting a mural to defeat the "blight" of our movement. We've always resisted the public's instinct to distinguish between "the good graffiti" and the "taggers." Everyone outside the movement feels entitled to be a critic and seemingly cannot respect that we evolved from those same signatures. Its a classic case of hating the root and loving the fruit.

Each of the 3 rollers we brought were dried and crusty in some places, creating and uneven effect when applying paint. Rather than attempt to force perfection, they were pressed and ground into the walls to give the impression of years of battle between the "blight" and the art. Layers were added with spray only to be partly primed over or sprayed out with new spots and "mess" took shape with arrows and designs growing off of partly cover letters and masks, into a new composition. Like Oakland, the growth was mess and sloppy, occasionally haphazard, with one hand not knowing what the other was doing. But finally, the colors, shapes and lines coalesced into a semi-coherent but clearly elaborate mural. Just like Oakland.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

LPS Hayward Week Without Walls

Week Without Walls Murals was a opportunity of a lifetime. We started the week off in Fruitvale, Oakland where we met Desi. He showed us different styles of murals, from pile styles to cultural. It was amazing to see all the different styles and artwork from legal to illegal. He showed us techniques on how to paint and gave us tips on how to begin. He also told us to create our own style that represents ourselves. Before we actually started the murals, the wall known as the purple wall was a mess. There were holes and trash everywhere. After the wall was finished we saw a big improvement. We added colors and a message to show what we learned this week. One side of the mural was a creative fun side called art of the bay while the other was a message to dream big. All the students participated, contributed ideas and each took turns spraying. This mural is important to us because it represents our school and makes our school look better. The purpose of the murals is to show how all the other schools that try to compete with us, have no competition. The wall is located in the front of the school, as a symbol that our school is a family and we are all proud to be part of it. -Priya Raman and Juan Yanez :)

"I was scared to paint at first because i didn't want to mess up but once i started i couldn't stop"- Adriana

"Finally, we got to put something people call street art as a mural for the school that represents a change."-Rocio

"We enjoyed making these murals and going around the Bay Area looking at different types of murals. The mural that we created on the school wall represents who we are". Karina and Luis R

"Desi is the coolest guy we know, it was dope to work with him "- Lil' Monkey

"Make a positive difference in life no matter what." -Noa (HUMAN)

"This year one wall, next year the whole school." -Ms. Johnson

"In conclusion, to what i used to know, now seems so minimal to whats really there" - Braulio

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

60th & MacArthur - Day 4

We made a lot of progress today. The "Oakland" is almost done, minus some clean-up. Young Ish began putting the outline on "State" and the "Mind" is almost completely colored in. The majority of the priming has been done on the bumpy brick surface and the outline for the first character, an emcee based on local artist, Unity Lewis, has been drawn in. Many more neighbors came out and acknowledged the progress and stated that they liked what they were seeing. Overall, today was a good day.

Photos by Maria

Friday, May 20, 2011

Peace & Dignity Mural Dedication - This Sunday, May 22nd!

Please come and join us as we dedicate the recently completed Peace and Dignity mural at Smart & Final. This piece was the product of 3 months of hard work by Vulcan, P.H.A.S.E.2., Mike 360, Desi W.O.M.E, Elijah Pfotenhauer, Pancho Pescador, Beats 737, Faustino Villa, Dora Chavarria, Luis Martinez and many other youth.

We will have traditional indigenous singers and dancers, DJs and music. Stay tuned as the line-up continues to develop.

Confirmed Artists
MIKE 360
Roots & Branches
Unity Lewis
All Nations Drum
J-milli-on and O-zone
Danza Azteca Cuauhtonal
& More!

DJ Domingo Yu
DJ Smokestack

Check out the Oakland Local Story on the Mural:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fruitvale Peace and Dignity mural celebrates unity of indigenous peoples

By Jessica Watson (Reprinted from Oakland Local)

A tiny girl, her hair in neat pigtails, stops to gape open-mouthed at the bright orange nebulas swirling above her.

Another girl, an otherworldly blue aura outlining her frame, is frozen mid-stride in the mural above, holding a staff tipped with feathers. A few steps down the sidewalk, a man in a cowboy hat turns and calls to the pig-tailed girl with both impatience and tenderness in his voice, interrupting her reverie.

"!Mi hija!" He grasps her hand and hurries her along to their destination, further down International Blvd., as she turns for a last glimpse.

An ambitious two-block mural project has just been completed at the intersection of International Blvd and 41st Avenue by the aerosol mural collective the Community Rejuvenation Project - CRP.

The mural is one of their largest mural projects to date, spearheaded by artists Desi W.O.M.E. and Mike360, involving many of other contributors such as Elijah Pfotenhauer, Pancho Pescador, Beats737, Abakus, Dora Chavarria and several local youth.

"This is a landmark production for us in terms of the level of intricacy and detail that we put into it," CRP Director Desi W.O.M.E. said. "We spent a lot of time crafting it."

The mural, completed with the collaboration of the building's owner, Smart & Final, was sponsored by the city of Oakland's Community Economic Development Agency as part of its ongoing campaign to place murals in highly visible areas with histories of blight. Other CEDA-sponsored projects in the series include several murals on Highway 880, including projects by Estria and Refa. These murals represent an important shift in how the city approaches abatement.

"To the extent that there's community support for the art, and it's not just something imposed, we're thinking that that will help with people respecting what's there," explained Dan Seamans from CEDA's Redevelopment Agency. The city of Oakland plans to use murals as an alternative to painting and repainting frequently tagged locations.

"I think the mural is beautiful," Seamans continued. "I also think that the artists were extremely successful in engaging the local community in the creation of the mural, which is very important for a project like this. Every time that I stopped by the mural, I saw them discussing their work with parties ranging from casual bystanders to school field trips, and I know that many people were invited to help paint as well."

The inspiration for the mural's content sprung from the Peace & Dignity Journeys that happen every four years to celebrate solidarity between native peoples of the Americas. Runners begin in Alaska, and others at the tip of South America, carrying ceremonial wooden staffs, which are passed from runner to runner until they converge in Panama, to heal the rift between the continents. The mural depicts a wide range of participants, from elders to teenage runners to children, against a celestial backdrop. The intent is to take the prayer to heal the rift between Northern and Southern hemispheres back to Oakland to address the rifts between the Norteño, Sureño and Border Brothers gangs.

CRP collaborated with famed elders in the aerosol writing community P.H.A.S.E.2 and Vulcan, who contributed large, stylized centerpiece letters spelling "Peace" and "Dignity," each stretching the length of a block. P.H.A.S.E.2 , who lives in New York, sent a sketch, which was then projected against the wall to bring his creative vision to life.

"Working with these elders who've been doing this for longer than I've been alive, it's been nothing but an honor. You know, straight up, a joy," said Mike360, 35. "They're building a separate reality out of the linear structure of character forms we've been given."

The mural took three months to create and includes sections built up to resemble the spiny leaves of agave, embedded shells and feathers and metal particles, which add a sheen on sunny days.

Most passersby were happy to have the artwork in their community, flashing thumbs up, although others seemed perplexed.

"Obviously it's real nice," offered Dwayne Castillo, 62, a neighborhood resident. "It's just not my cup of tea." However, for neighborhood youth, it was a different story. Many participated eagerly over the course of the mural's creation.

Decide for yourself at the Peace & Dignity Mural Dedication and Block Party on May 22 from noon to 4 p.m., sponsored by the Community Rejuvenation Project. Music will be provided courtesy of Roots & Branches and food will be served.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

60th & MacArthur - Day 3

We continued to make progress with the mural today. Jose Juan and Ismael colored in the "State" piece while the rest of the workshop paired up to continue painting in the spaces around the bricks. This is a somewhat tedious but necessary task to make the sky look complete. It is complicated because many of the youth have to overcome their fear of heights working on the ladders. There is nothing to be done expect to climb up and face the challenge. One student spent 20 minutes climbing up and down the ladder before he could begin painting. By the end of today, however, he was painting in the top of the mural with no problem.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arrow-Soul Council Starts End of the Year Mural

The Arrow-Soul Council after-school workshop at Oakland Unity High School began closing out the school year with a community mural at 60th and MacArthur. The theme "Oakland State of Mind" is a tribute to youth culture and will feature the phrase in highly stylized letters painted by the students juxtaposed between images of youth on scraper bikes, turf dancing, emceeing, and spray-painting. It was inspired in part by a song by Youth Roots featured below. We hope to bring Youth Roots and the Scraper Bike team to the wall to remix the music video that was made last year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sogorea Te - Defend Sacred Sites - Protect Glen Cove

Yesterday, CRP artists traveled out to Sogorea Te, which has been nicknamed "Glen Cove" by confused tourists near Vallejo. Sogorea Te is a sacred site to the Muwekma Ohlone people, who have buried their ancestors in shellmounds near the waters of the Bay Area for the past 3,500 years. Indigenous activists have occupied Sogorea Te for the past three weeks to protect the space from developers. It is a spiritual encampment with daily ceremonies acknowledging the ancestors and praying forward for the next several generation.

The Greater Vallejo Recreation District has ignored indigenous concerns and attempted to push forward with developing the site including paving part of the area for more parking, adding toilets and leveling a huge section of the space to improve the view of the water for the neighbors. Although GVRD was initially in talks with the original residents, they have cut off dialogue and are sending in surveyors to plan for the imminent desecration. The federal government spoke about mediation but the person that they sent is not dealing with the local indigenous people or the traditional leaders, instead discussing the matter with uninvolved Native American Heritage Commission delegates appointed by governor Jerry Brown, who have little to no validity in the negotiating the matter. Once again, the government is appointing spokesmen that they can control to create the illusion of negotiation and agreement, while ignoring and invalidating the actual tribal representation.

Please stay tuned. For more information, go to