The three Oakland Rotary Clubs — The Rotary Club of Oakland Uptown, The Rotary Club of Oakland #3, and the Rotary Club of Piedmont-Montclair, came together to unveil their year-long project on Thursday, June 17th, fittingly named The Embrace.
Brad Howard, Past RI Director, and member of the Rotary Club of Oakland Uptown came upon the idea of the project in a serendipitous way through the action of observing and listening.
On June 5th, he was heading into a meeting early in the morning and came across a young man who was painting a mural on Brad’s former building. When Brad asked about it, the muralist noted there was a lot of pain in the community and the piece he was working on was meant to provide healing. Brad agreed, preferring to see something beautiful rather than hate scrawled on the walls. After one week, the muralist, Timothy B, finished the mural in honor of Nia Wilson, who had lost her life while waiting for a train at MacArthur BART station.
Timothy B came from a disadvantaged background, but his story and motivation to heal the community through his art inspired Brad. Brad shared that story with his club. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, the Rotary clubs of Oakland’s statement against racism fueled the need to take action and help the community heal through the Rotary’s mission to build peace.
Installing the mural was a collaborative effort, not just with the Oakland Rotary clubs, but also with their community partners. Three Thirty-Three Arts provided their expertise in installing murals in Oakland and connected the clubs with the muralist and augmented reality designer for this project. The mural artist, Allison “Hueman” Torneros, is renowned for her work with Adobe, Google, and Forever 21. She has had her work featured on Pink’s album cover and Steph Curry’s shoes. The mural also utilizes augmented reality, which was designed by Craig Winslow. Holding a phone’s camera to the QR code located by the mural lets the viewer immerse themselves in the art and see the message of Peace in action with the Rotary Master brand.
The mural is entitled The Embrace and is a symbol of the commitment the clubs have made to building peace in the community. Despite the year of separation from shelter-in-place orders, the 3 Rotary clubs of Oakland were able to come together on a project and it highlights one of the best things about Rotary. We are People of Action and when we connect, anything is possible.
The Embrace Peace Mural is located at Jack London Square 58 Broadway Oakland, CA 94607.