How Quirky is Berkeley? New murals, 2017 edition

3049 Sacramento (at Prince)
3049 Sacramento Ave. Artists: Christian Munoz and Los Pobres Artistas. Photo: John Storey

Murals come and murals go. It’s as simple as that. On Dec. 13, 2016, Berkeleyside published a story about murals that, one way or another, we lost in 2016. Here we feature murals that appeared in 2016 or early in 2017.

In October, a new mural started to take shape at Food Town Market at Sacramento and Prince.   By November it was done, and the mural had spread around the corner on Sacramento north to 3041 Sacramento.

3041-3049 Sacramento Ave. Photo: John Storey

Christian Munoz and Los Pobres Artistas created this mural.

Since 1978, the “Song of Unity” mural has stood outside La Peña Cultural Center on Shattuck Avenue. This year, it has new features:


3105 Shattuck
3105 Shattuck Ave. Artists: East Oakland Youth Alliance, led by Caleb Duarte. Photo: John Storey

La Peña took on an artist in residence, Caleb Duarte, who proposed figuratively transforming La Peña into a refugee embassy. He has added temporary mural panels on the façade highlighting migration – a weird kind of collage to my eye.

In early 2016, this is what 1740 Alcatraz looked like.

1740 Alcatraz. Photo: Google Earth
1740 Alcatraz Ave. Photo: Google

By June 2016:

1740 Alcatraz Ave. Photo: John Storey

Frances Townes’ “Visions of Mother Nature” tile mural by Youth Spirit Artworks was complete. Wesley Wright was the senior artist on the mural. The mural was completed by the youth artist team and YSA director Sally Hindman, Patti Goldstein, Wesley Horn, Malia Landis, Marie Wojcek, in collaboration with the First Congregational Church Berkeley, and the Townes Family.

A girl reacts to the Frances Townes mural. Photo: Courtesy Sally Hindman/Youth Spirit Artworks
A bench was recently installed in front of the Townes mural. Photo: Courtesy Wesley Wright
1740 Alcatraz Ave. Photo: John Storey

And the storefront window is a lot brighter. Youth Spirit Artworks describes itself as “an art jobs training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering and bettering the lives of homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25.” (Read about the latest mural painted by YSA and how the artists restored it after it was defaced the night it was completed.)

A little further east Alcatraz, still west of Adeline Street, a YSA mural that started as a simple head is expanding, majorly.

Quirky Berkeley 11-28-2016
1740 Alcatraz Ave. Artists: Angel Jesus Perez with YSA youth. Photo: John Storey

The mural is largely apolitical, although some of the artists who worked on it incorporated an anti-gentrification theme with adorable forest animals threatened by bags of money.

Just west of the YSA office is an alley that goes half a block south into a courtyard. Hindman says YSA is creating a series of ten murals called the Alcatraz Alley Mural Park. The western wall of the alley is this brilliant mural:

Quirky Berkeley 11-28-2016
Artists: Eli Lippert with Keneda Gibson and YSA youth. Photo: John Storey

A bright and bold and powerful mural has just gone up on the southern wall of Black and White Liquors, at Adeline and Emerson.

3027 Adeline Street. Photo: John Storey
3027 Adeline St. Artist: Teo Vidaingravita. Photo: John Storey
Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. is seen on December 16th, 2016.
3027 Adeline St. Artist: Juana Alicia. Photo: John Storey
Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. is seen on December 16th, 2016.
3027 Adeline St. Artist: Juana Alicia. Photo: John Storey

Just half a block into Berkeley coming from Oakland is Angel Lights Books and Gifts, with a new mural on its south-facing wall.

3347 MLK Way
3347 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Artist Bay Baes. Photo: John Storey

The newest of the new murals is on Telegraph just north of Parker Street.

2595 Telegraph Ave. Artist: Dan Fontes. Photo: Tom Dalzell

The artist is Dan Fontes of San Rafael. He has done a lot of mural work around the Bay Area – check out his website. Stuart Baker and the Telegraph Business Improvement District made this mural happen – good job!

Each in its own way, these murals celebrate life and love – the Big Love that is fighting for a toehold in Berkeley under difficult conditions. For inspiration, I’ll take the murals any day.  And be glad for the new generation of them.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-plus-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.