DIMOND PUBLIC ART

Art in public spaces–gifts for everyone to enjoy! And the Dimond has a wealth of it. Starting in the early 2000s, murals and mosaics have been commissioned one by one when an artist, a business, a public institution, or a community group was inspired and found the means to make it happen.  

An early example was a mural featuring a huge diamond on the side of what was then Ann’s Cafe at Fruitvale Avenue and Bienati Way. In 2008, Peet’s leased the space and wanted to install a big window. After negotiation with the City and the community, the mural was removed and Peet’s made a grant of $20,000 to DIA to use for public art. DIA conducted a competitive grant program that yielded five winning projects. This DIA Public Art Fund has been sustained over time with profit set-asides from the annual Oaktoberfest in the Dimond. Local artists and community members with ideas for new public art installations are encouraged to contact dia@dimondnews.org.

The benefits of public art are many–contributing to a community’s identity, and fostering neighborhood pride and a sense of belonging, and simply lifting spirits and postive attitudes. Public art also tends to dissuade graffiti perpetrators from tagging and defacing otherwise blank walls and structures.

DIMOND PUBLIC ART WALK

Each piece of public art has a story of who created it, how it got there, and what it’s about. These stories have been brought together in the “Dimond Public Art Walk,” developed by DIA’s Beautification Committee in 2021. You can take the tour of the 22 pieces virtually from your home. Just expand the map below and click on the numbers. Or get up close and personal by walking the tour using your mobile device. You can also print out an abbreviated guide in pdf form.

 

1 - Rainbow Road

Debra Koppman, Artist
Sequoia Elementary School
3730 Lincoln Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2016.

The inspiration for this mural at Sequoia Elementary School was an attack on a junior high student, and for the work of the LBGTQ community for teaching tolerance. The rainbow of all different colors reminds us that we are all different persons, and that there is space for everyone of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. The project was funded through City Measure G funds and an art grant. Learn more about Debra.

 

3 - Dimond Gateway

Kristi Holohan, Artist
Lincoln Ave. at MacArthur Blvd.
Mural. Installed 2010, re-painted 2020.

This mural transformed what had been a drab, gray, graffitied wall. A community panel selected from Kristi’s concept designs one that featured the cityscape, and the native plants and animals of the Sausal Creek watershed. Community volunteers and Oakland students shared in the painting during open painting sessions..

Many local businesses and community leaders came together to make this mural happen, including 7-11, Laurel Ace Hardware, Paws & Claws, and then-Councilwoman Jean Quan.

Kristi is a member of Rock Paper Scissors, a volunteer art collective that hosts community workshops, youth programs, college internships, and social justice and experimental art exhibitions. She is also the founder of Arts and Creative Expression (ACE Arts). She is an arts educator and consultant, a community-engaged advocate, and an environmentalist.

Kristi’s many other Oakland murals include “Dreams of Champions” on Champion St. between School St. and Nicol Ave., “Sausal on My Mind” at the Dimond Park Recreation Center, and selected murals inside the Montclair parking garage..

Learn more about Kristi: kristiholohan.com

4 - I Love Dimond

Debra Koppman, Artist 
PG&E Substation
MacArthur Blvd. (next to 2261)
Mural and Mosaic. Installed 2014. 

The “I Love Dimond” statement is written in the seven languages most common in the Dimond neighborhood. It is hoped that this will make all persons feel welcome, and a part of the whole community. Debra invited people in the Dimond to send or bring her artifacts from their various cultures. There are Filipino and Lithuanian dolls, a Russian ring, and Buddhist symbols, among other images. Also included are ancient buildings and places of worship.

Debra has lived in the Dimond since the 1990s and has created some 15 murals and mosaics in the area. After teaching art at Sequoia Elementary School for 18 years, she became completely dedicated to murals. When possible, Debra works with community members in the design and/or execution of her large-scale pieces. She is especially interested in transforming and enlivening otherwise nondescript spaces.

Learn more about Debra: http://www.debrakoppman.com/index.htm

5 - Dimond River

Debra Koppman, Artist
Champion St. (across from 3475)
Mosaic. Installed 2013.

This wall and the property below are owned by a Dimond neighbor. The angle of the wall from high to low reminded Debra of Sausal Creek flowing into the bay and then the ocean. The images relate to water, including the colors blue and white, and whirling waves. Community volunteers, neighbors, and their children helped place the tiles. The project was funded through an art grant. Learn more about Debra.

6 - Dimond in Four Corners

Querido Galdo, Artist
MacArthur Blvd. (near 2207)
Digital Substrate. Installed 2016.

Historical images of the Fruitvale Ave./MacArthur Blvd. crossroads are superimposed onto two utility boxes at the intersection’s southwest corner, by Wells Fargo Bank. Descriptions appear at the bottom of the panels. The images were selected from the Oakland Public Library History Room’s collection.

In Querido’s words: “The corners of Fruitvale and MacArthur have seen a lot of change in the last 100 years. Many of the storefronts and homes we pass every day hold rich layers of history, captured in colors and textures that tell stories of Dimond lives.”

Querido is a graphic designer, photographer, and collage artist living and working in Oakland. He creates engaging visual communications for non-profit and community organizations, documentary photographs of Oakland’s natural and man-made environment, and public art projects.
Learn more about Debra.

7 - Wayfinder - Wells Fargo

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Wells Fargo 
2450 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic represents the redwood groves in Dimond Park and Joaquin Miller Park. The four points direct passersby to Joaquin Miller Park, Bret Harte District, Fruitvale District, and Dimond Canyon.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood.

Gina studied mosaic techniques in Spain and began making mosaics in her Oakland home studio in 1995. She says, “What I love about mosaics is that you create something by breaking something. Oakland is a mosaic of people, and these mosaic projects really emulate what’s going on in this city. There is so much joy and vitality.”

Learn more about Gina: http://www.ginadominguezmosaics.com Learn more about Debra.

8 - Sausal Creek to Thailand

Debra Koppman, Artist
3430 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2016.

The owners Paul and Debbie of Dimond Cafe gave Debra permission to create and install a mosaic on the front of their restaurant Dimond Cafe. The mosaic uses Lao and Thai abstract patterns of blue and green. Funding was provided by Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program. Learn more about Debra.

9 - Dimond's Hidden Jewels

Debra Koppman, Mandy Lockwood, Artists
Farmer Joe’s
3426 Fruitvale Ave.
Mural. Installed 2011.

Diana and Joe, owners of Farmer Joe’s, gave permission to install a mural on the side of the market. The mural depicts the local natural and built environment, with flora and fauna such as creeks, trees, trails, birds, and fish, and public and private buildings. Second- through fifth-graders at Sequoia Elementary School helped do the painting. The mural includes many images that require a closer look, including the faces of many community volunteers and neighbors along the vertical and horitzonal borders. Debra asked them to take a picture of themselves and submit it to her.

Initial funding came from Oaklandish, and then-Councilwoman Jean Quan’s Pay-Go Fund. The City of Oakland’s Project to Connect Art to Oakland neighborhoods also contributed. The mural took 12 months to complete. Learn more about Debra and Mandy.

10 - Wayfinder - Farmer Joe's

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Farmer Joe’s
Just past 3430 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic shows the native flora found in Dimond Canyon, including California poppy, California fuschia, morning glory, and California grapes. The four points direct passersby to Dimond Park, Peralta Hacienda, William D. Wood Park, and the Glenview District.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood. Learn more about Gina.

10 - Wayfinder - Wayland's Meats

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Wayland’s Meats
3411 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic celebrates the Native American Collection housed at the Dimond Library. The hummingbird was chosen as the main design element because of its positive symbolism in Native American culture. The four points direct passersby to Dimond Library, Peralta Creek, Fruitvale District, and Sausal Creek.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood. Learn more about Gina.

11 - Bienati Way Trash Cans

Karen Difrummolo, Roberto Costa, Janet Perry, Nancy Au
Bienati Way
Mosaics. Installed 2012

The mosaics were installed under an Adopt-a-Spot sponsorship by Keep Oakland Clean & Beautiful, given for recycling and nature-themed murals. Images include sun, trees, the Dimond District on a California map, Sausal Creek, and Dimond Park.

As Roberto says, “Adding mosaics to public installations, such as trash cans, brings the community together as participants and observers, and gives pride to the community.”  Learn more about the artists.

13 - Bienati Way LIght Poles

Karen Difrummolo, Roberto Costa, Janet Perry,  Artists
Bienati Way (parking lot)
Mosaics. Installed 2019.

A team of volunteer mosaic artists asked for theme suggestions for the eight light pole bases in the parking lot. (DIA’s Public Art Committee had secured an Adopt-a-Spot agreement with the City to enhance the bases.)

The delightful themes include food, animals, businesses, and activites in the Dimond. As Roberto says, “Adding mosaics to public installations…brings the community together as participants and observers, and gives pride to the community.” Learn more about the artists.

14 - Club 2101 Postcard

Pam Consear, Artist
2101 Club
2101 MacArthur Blvd.
3D Mural. Installed 2015

To generate ideas for this 3-D mural, Pam went to several community events to solicit suggestions from residents about places they like to visit in the Dimond. Many commented about Dimond Park and the canyon, community events, and the variety of restaurants. This postcard is addressed to “Our Friends in Oakland and Beyond” and invites everyone to attend the annual Oaktoberfest in the Dimond. The project was funded by the City of Oakland’s Graffiti Abatement Program and the DIA’s Dimond Public Art program. Learn more about Pam.

14 - Jazzin' It Up

Debra Koppman, Artist
Soon’s Lounge
3449 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2017.

Debra worked with Leanne, the owner of Soon’s Lounge, to create a design honoring the still-existing visual artifacts of the neighborhood. Just adjacent to the property, a small strip of the original Art Deco tile–in rust, mint green, and black–was discovered. The mosaic uses this color scheme in multiple details found in Art Deco architecture. Debra aimed to animate the building itself, and project energy, color, and overall good will among residents, merchants, and passersby. Learn more about  Debra.

16 - Wayfinder - Bank of America

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Bank of America
2154 MacArthur Blvd. (at Fruitvale corner)
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic showcases the Leimert Bridge, a landmark feat of the 1910s that spans Dimond Canyon. Also celebrated is the heron that graces Sausal Creek with its presence. The four points direct passersby to the Oakmore District, Laurel District, San Francisco Bay, and The Altenheim.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood. Learn more about Gina.

17 - Skip

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Bank of America
2154 MacArthur Blvd. (at Fruitvale corner)
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic showcases the Leimert Bridge, a landmark feat of the 1910s that spans Dimond Canyon. Also celebrated is the heron that graces Sausal Creek with its presence. The four points direct passersby to the Oakmore District, Laurel District, San Francisco Bay, and The Altenheim.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood. Learn more about Gina.

18 - St. Louis Veterinary Postcard

Pam Consear, Artist
3545 Fruitvale Ave. at St. Louis Veterinary
3D Mural. Installed 2015.

To generate ideas for this 3-D mural, Pam went to several community events to solicit suggestions from residents about places they like to visit in the Dimond. Many commented about Dimond Park and the canyon, community events, and the variety of restaurants.

This postcard is addressed to “Our Neighbors” and invites everyone to Dimond Park and Sausal Creek. The project was funded by the City of Oakland’s Graffiti Abatement Program and the DIA’s Dimond Public Art program.

Learn more about Pam.

19 - Dimond's Magic Carpet

Debra Koppman, Artist
Dimond Library
3565 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2020.

Debra worked with library staff to create this free-standing mosaic. The Monarch butterfly image was selected from a range of images inspired by the children’s picture book, “Zorah’s Magic Carpet.”

The butterfly, a symbol of transformation and possibility, sits within a garden, with roots and seeds along the border. The setting references cycles, growth, and positive change, as well as the role of the Dimond Library as the holder of the Oakland Public Library’s seed collection. The bright orange reflects the bright orange on sections of the library’s façade. Learn more about Debra.

20 - Wayfinder - Library

Gina Dominguez, Artist
Sidewalk near Dimond Library
3565 Fruitvale Ave.
Mosaic. Installed 2011.

This mosaic’s design was inspired by Sausal Creek, the movement of water, and the rainbow trout that live there. The four points direct passersby to Chabot Space & Science Center, Sequoia Elementary School, Dimond Business District, and Sausal Creek.

The five sidewalk “wayfinding” mosaics in the series were commissioned by then-Councilperson Jean Quan. They raise awareness of nearby points of interest and incorporate imagery celebrating the unique features of the Dimond neighborhood. Learn more about Gina.

21 - Oakland Tree House

Griffin One, Artist
Nowheresville Tattoo
2724 MacArthur Blvd.
Mural. Installed (date unknown).

Part of a series of tree house murals, this one depicts a classic farm-field scene. It was commissioned by building-owner Wendy Holm of Hidden Star Orchards.

As the Oaktown Art website describes: “The large canvas of this building is used as a portal to transport us from the urban ‘hectivity’ of this busy boulevard to the peaceful pastoral delight of northern California farmland surrounded by gentle foothills.” Learn more about Griffin One.

22 - Another Day in Paradise

Irot, Artist
MacArthur Skate Shop
2726 MacArthur Blvd.
Mural. Installed 2013.

Irot (aka “نگار”) is the street name of an Oakland artist originally from New Mexico. He is a graffiti vandal known for creating authorized and unauthorized murals in Oakland, Eureka, Portland, and beyond. His graffiti also appears on railroad and highway assets, civil infrastructure, and public restroom mirrors. His work is identified by the moniker IROT and crew tag CHE in various styles, and sometimes “carnagenyc.” Frequently, but not always, he includes birds with long heads and beaks.