Trip to Berkeley, Murals

On Alcatraz St., one block west of my route, lives a mural by Youth Spirit Artworks.

Youth Spirit Artworks
Youth Spirit Artworks Mural

This is an organization dedicated to giving jobs and job training to older youth in the SF Bay Area. This mural caught my eye once while I was on an alternate route into Berkeley, and it stayed in my memory. I did not know its origin until I did some research for this blog. You can learn more about this program and see details of the mural at

There are many more murals in Berkeley. Few of them are on my route to work. But one group of muralistas that I will cite here is lead my the powerful muralist, Juana Alicia Montoya. I include them because their inception is at Berkeley City College (the end point of this trip), where we are lucky to have Juana Alicia teaching a community mural class. One example of recent work started in this class is the “Collective Consciousness” mural at the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Berkeley.

Mural crew at True Colors Mural
True Colors Mural project,

I borrow a detail image from their blog. (Photo by Dana Davis, Photography instructor at BCC.) Visit their site to see more details of this enormous and strikingly beautiful project.

Then there are the unsponsored (as far as I know), enterprising, salt-of-the-earth, spontaneous, light-footed, low-cost-materials, low-rent, passionate muralists of my neighborhood. This work is so big that I show it in two parts:

graffiti mural
graffiti mural, left side
graffiti mural right
graffiti mural, right side

Oola thinks that script is wicked TIGHT.

corporate graffiti
corporate graffiti

Say what you like about graffiti, Oola and I would rather see the above graffiti murals than the eye-dulling, spirit-numbing corporate graffiti that litters our neighborhood, 2, 3 , 5 placards per block, day after unblinking day.

We’re getting close to the end of the “roadtrip” to my workplace. Summer school has started. Oola and I will stop at a few more attractions, then end up in the amazing Multimedia Department at Berkeley City College.

By jandove


1 comment

  1. Jan, Really enjoyed this one, as I am presently getting to know a group of legal Hispanic B-Boy muralists. Photographed the first Graffiti Show in Houston, which my friend Chuy organized. Not a show in terms of viewing completed work, but instead watching 25+ painters (spray, of course) working on seven walls of 2 buildings on a Sat and Sun, with temps approx 107. Since then many others have showed up and have gotten permission to paint over earlier work. Painters from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Monterrey, MX. Chuy is hoping the photos will get him sponsors for next year’s event. He could get none this year. Will send you some over the next week.

    This Road Trip is sensational. Love it. Why not turn it into one of those books one can make on the web? I will buy 3. Am sure that others will buy them. Maybe you can get some of the places visited to have them displayed for sale. What about the Chamber of Commerce, of the Mayor’s office of both cities, and the college book store. There is gold in them there pages of wonderful photos and words.

    Hello to Wild(CARD)! Sent your Road trip to his studio to musician friends in Nashville. They loved it. Maybe a guitar or two will get purchased.


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