Project: Festival at the Lake Mural - 1994
Dimensions: 8' x 12'
Medium: Enamels on Canvas
Location: Collection of the Artist
In the afterglow of the successful Festival of the Arts murals, the Oakland nonprofit group "Festival at the Lake" commissioned me to paint a mural for their annual event. The canvas would be painted with the public’s help for the annual opening of the Summer festival at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. As had been done before, an 8' x 12' canvas would be created, depicting scenes of some of the activities featured during the event. My partner at the time, Lana Rose, was doing a project which involved creating paper art with children, next to the mural, and kids who had made paper art would then get the opportunity to paint some of the mural.
A group of young men sat on a small grassy hillside for hours, smoking marijuana. That afternoon, a gunshot rang out from the hill, about 200 feet to the left of us, and the crowd panicked. Shoes, purses, clothing, and food were abandoned, as everyone scattered within seconds.
We shielded the children who were painting alongside us with our bodies, while outside the park, along Grand Avenue, hundreds of young men rioted in the street. We left all our art supplies and materials behind and ran out of the park, barely making it to our cars before serious property damage occurred. Due to the event unrest in 1994, the Festival was permanently cancelled. This is the first and only time that the finished mural has been on public display.