In March my husband and I caught out of towners tagging a neighbor’s building. We reported it, received half of their fine, and are reinvesting it back into our neighborhood beyond painting over crappy tags.
I want an antidote to the fact that some of the people tagging and contributing to the blight are not even from the city; their argument is often “nobody cares”. The Kick Ass Mural project stands up to this notion by generating a beautiful and inspiring wall that is created together with and cared for by locals.
I want to inspire local youth to take ownership of their streets and public surfaces through creative action. I have teamed up with local muralist Dave Kim to engage, train, and put paintbrushes in the hands of local kids to laugh at bad tagging and show the local community what street art can be when it’s done by neighbors.
We got connected by a neighbor to Kewesi, who owns KES Fitness at 26th & West. A mural painted there by his friend was destroyed by tagging in 2013. This article will help describe why this effort is needed: http://www.mercurynews.com/2013/10/25/graffiti-battle-in-west-oakland-has-racial-edge/ Dave & I really connected with Kewesi and his space where he offers free drop-in martial arts classes for youth from the neighborhood to build confidence and mindfulness. We think that same energy and spirit of movement deserves to shine through on the outside. We have 12 people on the team so far to help us make this happen. The number is growing as we gain momentum towards the Kick Ass Event on November 3rd-4th. We’re hoping to add 12-15 youth from the area and we’ve already begun the outreach and planning for workshops with them and their schools.
We’re excited to use the reward from the city to inspire more civic involvement. With the Awesome funds we can harness Kewesi’s great energy and give his connection with youth another method of expression outside of the dojo. This mural will be for locals, by locals, with kick ass pride!
Funded by Oakland, CA (September 2017)