When I started creating posts about murals, I had themes. They made sense. Now – not so much. The pithy “not so much” was coined, I think, in the 1990s television show “Mad About You.” Now you know.
“Still More Murals” as a title is something of an implicit concession that I have lost my sense of direction on these. I am not entirely lacking in executive function, it is just that I am now into my second year of posts and of course my thinking and design ideas have change.
Maybe I will reorganize the posts on murals sometime. But for now, let’s just look at these photos of more murals.
My happiest find since the last mural posts was the remnants of Osha Newman’s “Winds of Change” mural on an east-facing wall at 1450 University.
When the mural was painted in 1977, it was on the wall of the Co-Op Credit Union.
The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, which we knew simply as the Co-Op, was a bright chapter in our history. It operated from 1939 until 1988. In its prime, it was the largest cooperative of its kind in the United States or Canada. The University Avenue store was opened in 1937 by the Berkeley Buyers’ Club, an organization founded by members of the Upton Sinclair-inspired End Poverty in California (EPIC).
The Co-Op tanked in 1988 on account of (a) money problems and (b) internal governance disputes, which is another way of saying “the sad but true infighting that destroys so many organizations on the Left.”
The mural – back to the mural – was originally 16 feet high and 135 feet long. O’Brien Thiele and Daniel Galvez worked with Newman on the mural. Newman describes the creation of the mural: “When I designed the People’s Park mural at Haste and Telegraph, I was living on unemployment insurance. We put a can out on the street and collected donations to pay for supplies and lunch. It was all volunteer labor. Then I won a competition for a mural on the back of the Co-op Credit Union at University Avenue.”
You walk back into a courtyard at University Avenue Cooperative Housing, 1450 University Avenue. On the east-facing walls are segments of the “Winds of Change” mural, fading, but still inspiring:
Osha Newman painted the west-facing murals at Willard school that are included in an early post. Further north, also west-facing, are a number of water-themed murals near the entrance to the Willard Pool. They are not by Osha Newman.
So for this transition – we just did Osha Newman on University to Osha Newman at Willard to other murals at Willard. Now we’ll go another school, to Thousand Oaks School.
Three more one-photo murals, no uniting theme, no transition:
This is on the west-facing wall of Ledger’s Liquors, just below Acton. It was new this summer. If you scroll down the page moving it, the lines shimmy. Intended?
As you drive south on Martin Luther King towards Oakland, you have seen the mural welcoming you to the Lorin District. There are planets on the roof and then African princesses and hula hoops and butterflies on the mural itself.
The last of these more murals come from the Rose Garden Inn on Telegraph. They are not all visible from the street, but they are all visible in the courtyard and so – close enough. A definite style to these, not found in other murals in Berkeley. They rock a different vibe.
Gwendolyn McShepard painted these murals. GPY Galleries features her work. Attention should be paid to her work.
When I took these photos to my friend to run them by him, he had headphones on and was listening to an album. What album? One of several by Aunt Bertha aka Aunt B from the Children’s Bible Hour. It was founded in 1942. Office Manager Bertha Trover Shooks became the executive director in 1947. Gabby had sent my friend six of her albums.
Holy mackerel. Pretty outrageous stuff, the stuff of nightmares for sure. I have the feeling that for a while I am going to be hearing a lot of “Tell me a story, Aunt B” from my friend.
But, what about the still more murals?