As local artists, students, and non-profit, Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. (AHC), have worked together, they have slowly began to transform Oakland with their Super Hero Mural Project.
Founded in 1989 and located in West Oakland , AHC hosts educational programs, workshops, events and healing circles to help residents strengthen their personal development through art.
The Super Hero Mural Project is part of the AHC’s Art Esteem program that allows youth to portray themselves as social justice oriented superheroes that solve issues in their community. The most recent mural is displayed underneath the overpass of Interstate 580 on 35th and Market Streets.< p>Amana Harris, Associate Director of AHC helped create the book, “Self as Super Hero”, which the Art Esteem program’s curriculum is based off. She said the book was inspired by the need for heroes in communities and works to provide a platform for self-development and cultural sensibility.
“For each piece that we do, there is a creative writing component and more recently, fashion where girls created designs using traditional African prints,” said Harris. “By embedding the literacy aspect into the art, it gives kids a chance to voice what the art is really about.”
“The way in which we partner with schools, have an alliance with students and artists, and take them through the process of developing these concepts is empowering,” said Co-founder Aeeshah Clottey. “The great thing about the work they do is that it becomes apart of Oakland’s culture and history.”
Over three years, AHC plans to raise enough money to finish seven murals on that will serve as a gateway to West and Downtown Oakland.
Besides the mural project, AHC offers a ‘Mindful Drumming’ workshop that uses the West African tradition where prayer like body movements are used to teach youth about rhythm, sound, and vibration as a form of meditation.
AHC’s ‘The Good Neighbor’ program offers a 4-hour workshop that trains community members in civic engagement and its Neighborhood Leadership Institute helps residents develop businesses through skill building and service learning opportunities.