Oakland’s street art scene is vibrant. New works will be created during city’s first Mural Festival

Large-scale murals have transformed the face of Oakland. “Rise and Grind” by the Illuminaries shows a fierce and powerful representation of the Oakland A’s mascot, Stomper. The city will host its first Mural Festival
(Visit Oakland)

Large-scale murals are transforming the face of Oakland. The Northern California city with more than 1,000 murals will add at least seven more during its first Mural Festival in mid-May.

“Beacon Frequency Reader” by Joshua Mays stands at 1700 Broadway in Oakland.
(Visit Oakland )
Joshua Mays has created several murals in the ongoing “Beacon” series.
(Visit Oakland )

Why murals?


Oakland has embarked on an impressive street-art campaign that’s partly a push-back against the city’s “gentrification epidemic,” partly a move toward bringing communities of color together, and partly an evolution from that other street art, graffiti, according to the Community Rejuvenation Project.

Artist Luke Dragon set out to paint 99 golden dragons in the Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. This one stands at 10th Street between Harrison and Alice streets.
(Visit Oakland )
“Laurel Space Bears” by artists Roger Peet and Fernando Santos portrays a California grizzly bear. The Center for Biological Diversity collaborated on the mural.
(Visit Oakland )

Whatever the reasons, the result is a renaissance that has spread from downtown to Chinatown to West Oakland and around the city.


Another in the “Laurel Space Bears” series, located in the city’s Laurel District.
(Visit Oakland )
“Visit Oakland Selfie Wall” by The Illuminaries invites viewers to immortalize themselves on social media at this handy spot in front of the Oakland Marriott Convention Center.
(Visit Oakland )

The city’s first Mural Festival from Saturday through May 19 will bring artists creating new murals. In addition, others will be painting on banners in Jack London Square that will eventually find a home.

There’s even a selfie wall commissioned by Visit Oakland to encourage visitors to show the world some of the city’s street art. The tourism agency partnered with the Bay Area Mural Festival to host the event.

“Cosmic Human Evolution” by artists Ernest Doty and Ryan Montoya reflects a surreal world, visible from an Interstate 880 freeway ramp.
(Visit Oakland )

During the festival, folks can watch murals in the making at 101 Jefferson St., 679 2nd St., 200 Wester St., 335 3rd St., 400 Franklin St. and 78 4th St.

Street artist Vogue created this skull wearing a gold crown — the artist’s trademark symbols — in West Oakland.
(Visit Oakland )

In addition, visitors can watch art banners being made from noon to 5 p.m. May 19 at jack London Square. There also will be local musicians and dancing as well as kids activities and painting projects. Learn about the artists and get a full rundown of activities at the festival’s website.


Oakland brims with large-scale street art. More murals will be added in May during the city’s first mural festival.
(Visit Oakland )

The mural festival is part of Oakland’s larger Art Month, which runs until the end of May. You can find a list of activities and shows at the Art Month website.


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