by Patricia Patterson
Maxwell Park Restroom Mosaic Mural Project—Community Celebrates Final Wall Completion
Roberto shows his artwork. Photo by Pat Patterson.
Click to enlarge.
Saturday, June 23, marked a final milestone to celebrate completion of the fourth wall of Maxwell Park’s restroom mosaic mural project. You had to be there, as the cliché goes, to witness the high energy, camaraderie, and people connecting with people. It was magical, pairing the area’s wonderfully diverse human factor with the majestic, sparkling kaleidoscope-like tile and mirrored building, smack dab in our great green park. Oakland art truly builds community.
The mosaic artist core team, the volunteers—including lots of children, city officials, and other supporters—happily celebrated. One of the project’s onsite artists and core crew co-coordinators, Beverly Shalom, provided opening remarks and acknowledged volunteers and numerous contributors.
Initiated by the Friends of Maxwell Park (Nancy Karigaca and Laura Nicodemus, co-chairs), local mosaic experts led the project, assisting volunteers, to transform the dull, cinder block structure into a one-of-a-kind, colorful, textured community-involvement landmark.
Daud Abdullah: “a story that sticks with me—one morning, a man came by, asked if the restroom was open. I said yes. After he finished, he told me how much he liked the art, how it made the park look great and gave it a clean feeling. He also told me that, because he used to sleep in them, he knew that in the past, the bathrooms were very bad inside. The power of art.”
Roberto Costa: “The design process was easier than previous years. It really tied the community together and all visitors that I sent to see the wall were impressed by the results as a great community accomplishment.”
Beverly Shalom: “A truly awe-inspiring project, close to 400 youth and adult volunteers and thousands of tiles. The result is the creation of one of the most beautiful neighborhood jewels, and perhaps the entire Bay Area. I prefer to celebrate this achievement, than to get demoralized by crime statistics.”
Nancy Karigaca (co-lead with Beverly Shalom & Friends of Maxwell Park co-chair): “I knew nothing about mosaics and learned so much from the expert artists. Unlike technology, where sometimes I can’t keep up, learning to do mosaics— something physical, made me feel capable. I absolutely loved the excitement of people who came by and learned that they could actually participate. Lots of out-of-town relatives and friends of neighbors came by who will be taking great stories and photos about us and Oakland across the country.”
The onsite artists and core crew who participated were:
Contact Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a pdf of the program, showing all participants and supporters.
The Laurel Art Works gallery continues to build its reputation of attracting art-loving crowds. A mosaic exhibit by four local artists opened with a mid-July reception. It features the works of Roberto Costa, Daud Abdullah, Fuff Tabachnikoff, Anthony Binsacca, and Krista Keim, all established mosaic artists. The venue provides a great spot for artists to exhibit collectively.