Thursday, June 9, 2016

At the intersection of 60th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard in West Oakland, California, is a huge wall-length mural titled “Silence the Violence,” containing the names of every Oakland homicide victim from 2013. The mural, painted on the side of a screenprinting shop, shows owner Aswad Hayes screaming out in anguish as two guns are pointed at him, his arms outstretched to the side.

Inspired by the list of homicide victims in the Oakland Tribune, Hayes partnered with a mural arts organization called the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) in collaboration with high school youth. CRP also has a service called “abatement murals for businesses” that not only curtails graffiti and vandalism, but also instills in the community pride and positive thinking.

The organization’s Communications Director, Eric Arnold, says the CRP paints murals keeping in mind the goal of being holistic, of including a community in the painting of the mural rather than just thinking of it.  As Arnold says, “We go into all these areas that are low-income, high-crime, high-pollution, and we paint beautiful murals that uplift communities…and yes, that does positively influence public safety.”