Project: Oakland Fukuoka Sister Cities Mural-1992
Dimensions: 8’ x 16’
Medium: Acrylics on Canvas
Location: Boy's Science Center, Fukuoka, Japan

While working with my then-partner Lana Rose on projects with our non-profit group The Renaissance of Papermaking, we were excited about an idea we'd had to accompany Oakland Public School children to our sister city in Japan, Fukuoka. We were teaching paper making in the Oakland schools, both as an after school program and as part of their arts curriculum. The Jarvis-Gann initiative in the late 1970s had eviscerated the state budget for arts programs, and we were one of many arts groups dedicated to filling the educational gap that was left in the wake of these devastating cutbacks. We had long dreamed of taking inner city kids overseas, and were both of the opinion that it would be a transformative experience for them, if we could obtain the funding, sponsorship, in kind donations, and municipal support from Oakland.

I undertook the challenge of creating a mural to bring as a gift to the Japanese, during what was to be a 30th anniversary event, celebrating our sister city ties, that had been scheduled during our visit to Fukuoka. At the time, Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris was going to be the guest of honor, but the A's advancement into the MLB playoffs interfered with those plans.

It was done using acrylic paints on canvas, and the images centered


around the paper making activities we'd conducted in the Oakland Public Schools. The canvas was part of a much larger exhibit that we crated up and shipped to Fukuoka. It depicts each of the stages of making paper, from scooping pulp from a vat to transferring the wet pulp onto surfaces for drying. Since paper making occupies such an honored place in the Japanese and Chinese cultures, it was perfect as subject matter for a mural. The mural was on display at the exterior space of the Zephyr Gallery at Solaria Plaza, and eventually was put on permanent display at the Boy's Science Center.