Oakland students create 'superhero' murals

OAKLAND, Calif.

Where there once was a drab gray wall, there are now brilliant colors and faces that reflect the community where the 4,000-square foot mural is going up in West Oakland. "Our visual landscape has a serious impact on how we think, how we see ourselves, and how we treat each other," lead artist Refa One told ABC7 News.

The superhero murals are being painted in a neighborhood that doesn't always see its share of bright colors. The images were the brainchild of local school children with a vision for the heroes they'd like to see in their community.

"Everyone likes music, so we created a character that has music in it, and passion," said one Westlake Middle School eighth-grader who helped come up with the idea for one section -- a woman playing a saxophone that morphs into a violin.

There is no Superman or Spiderman on the wall. It features faces that could very well be from right there in the neighborhood. The students who created the superheroes also help with some of the background and detail work on the mural.

"They make drawings. They collaborate with each other about what a strong community superhero would look like, what their special powers would be," Artistic Director David Burke said.

In all, the Oakland City Council approved six murals for West Oakland. The professional artists are paid. The rest are students and volunteers.

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