West Oakland Super Hero Mural Project

Attitudinal Healing Connection Builds Self-Esteen Throught Art

By Katie Barretta

McClymonds High School ninth-grader Umiika Rose, one of the students working on the new mural, is shown here standing in front of a rendering of the art project.

Oakland’s Public Art Advisory Committee has approved the design for the first of six murals that will be part of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, created by student artists from McClymonds High School, the  ArtEsteem program and local artist David Burke.
 The project is sponsored by the Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC), a West Oakland community based non-profit whose vision is a world where everyone is whole, safe, valued, educated and loved. They view the creation of the murals as a way to revitalize and increase hope in the community.
The first of the six murals is expected to be completed by June 2012 and will serve as a gateway to the Hoover District, located under the 580 freeway on San Pablo between 35th and 36th streets. The goal is to complete all six murals within three years, at locations  along the 580 freeway from Martin Luther King Jr. Way to Market Street.
The theme of the project stems from a book by AHC Associate Director Amana Harris, “Self as Super Hero.”  
 “The ArtEsteem ‘Self as Super Hero’ book was inspired by our current need for heroes for our children, youth and communities…and provides a platform for self development, cultural sensibility and an innovative approach to arts integration while exploring our voice and vision for solving our most critical problems in the community and the world,” Harris said.
In the program, young people are encouraged to reinvent themselves as social justice oriented super heroes who have the ability to solve problems in their own community, empowering youth to invest in themselves, their community and their world.
 Students from the McClymonds High fourth period art class are tackling social problems and creating the super heroes with powers to bring about change in their neighborhoods.  The students themselves will be the ones designing the mural – developing concepts, heroes and the stories behind them.
“It should bring the community together, stop the violence, make the community a better, safer place, and make people think twice before they do stuff. It should change people’s lives,” said ninth grader Daileesha McDonald.
Fellow ninth grader Quilliecha Robinson agreed.  “I hope it’ll give people the message that they should go to college and never give up, and let people know it’s never too late to do anything.”
AHC will be hiring Oakland-based artists to paint the mural. The process is designed to promote and exemplify community collaboration from beginning to end.
 AHC has raised enough money to complete the first mural, but needs community donations to create the other five. To provide support email muralproject@ahc-oakland.org, visit AHC’s website at http://ahc-oakland.org, or call 510-652-5530.

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