CALL FOR ARTISTS
THE OAKLAND STAIRS PROJECT invites Oakland’s black artists and artists of color to raise their voices in creating a collaborative stair mural on the Sunflower Path stairs supporting BLACK LIVES MATTER.
The Sunflower Path stairs, between Morpeth Street and Proctor Avenue in the Oakland hills, are three flights totalling 83 steps. This stair path and others nearby are situated in an area that historically maintained racial covenants and exclusionary zoning laws preventing Blacks, Asians and Latinos from settling in the neighborhood and keeping the neighborhood predominantly white.
In June of 2020, responding to George Floyd’s unlawful death, three young women chalked the Sunflower Path stairs with names of victims of police brutality nationwide, demanding SAY THEIR NAMES and proclaiming BLACK LIVES MATTER. The mural was repeatedly vandalized and erased, despite re-chalking efforts, but its message remains, and the issue is crucial to our neighborhood, community and country.
With the intention of reclaiming this point in Oakland from redlining and a shamefully racist history, THE OAKLAND STAIRS PROJECT aims to echo the young activists’ original intention, and evolve it into a permanent stair mural embodying a new ideal of racial equality, unity and change. We hope this mural gives the Oakland hills a fresh voice, elevates the Sunflower Path stairs into a local landmark, inspires a positive impact on local residents and visitors, and illustrates connection between the Oakland hills and its greater community.
THE OAKLAND STAIRS PROJECT is a team of community members motivated to strive for equality and equanimity in the Oakland hills through public art. This project brings into service volunteers from the community to help fund, plan, execute and maintain the project, and carry its messages and importance into the neighborhood’s schools.
Artist(s) will be awarded a $15,000 commission in the following phases:
1) Award of commission for finalized design and plan for the Sunflower Path stairs mural.
2) Upon approval by the Oakland Public Arts Commission, disbursements of funds for procurement of materials, supplies and consultancy/contractor fees.
3) Final supplier and artist payments on completion of mural!
Our new deadline is Friday, September 10, 2021!
The call is open to artists and creative professionals 18 years of age and up. Artists may submit one or more proposals individually or as teams. Teams may include students under 18. Though not required, experience with community projects, mural design and execution is preferred. What is essential is an interest in social justice and its advocacy through art.
A diverse team of community members is collaborating to evaluate and select the winning artist(s), raise funds, recruit volunteers, procure materials and guide the project’s completion. Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee that may choose to conduct interviews via Zoom with candidates.
The mural will be composed of artwork on the RISE (vertical plane) only of each step. Preparing and sealing the surfaces will be key in ensuring the longevity of the mural.Only original art will be considered, and the design must be acceptable for public viewing of all ages. We are committed to finding the right art, artist(s) and message(s) to activate this unique project in this moment.
We encourage you to visit the stairs to help further visualize its potential! Please respect Covid safety and local residents.
There is no entry fee for submission!
Artists should create one PDF document including the following:
1) Name and contact information.
2) Website, social media and other relevant links and handles.
3) Artist’s statement in which you may indicate that you identify as black or of color, describe your experience working on projects of this nature and with community projects, talk about your connection to Oakland and social justice causes, and identify special attributes such as project management.
4) Images of previous work that best represent your style.
5) A written narrative of your proposed stair mural concept, style and approach to painting/applying a mural of this scale, alone or with a team.
6) Preliminary images/visuals of your mural concept.
Submissions and questions about the project may be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. To submit your PDF document, please email with “Submission” included in the subject line.