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July 8, 2009 > Local artist to create mural for City Gateways Project

Local artist to create mural for City Gateways Project

By Simon Wong

The City of Hayward will commission a mural from artist Andrew Knight as part of the "Downtown Hayward" City Gateways Project at Foothill Blvd and Maple Court.

The gateway will include an arched sign, metal railings with columns, up-lighting, raised flower beds and space for planting commemorative trees. Knight, a Hayward High School art teacher, will work with Hayward High School students and local volunteers to create the mural.

The Council Priorities of Cleanliness, Fiscal Stability, Neighborhood Services and Crime & Public Safety have helped guide policy to improve the City's appearance. There is a utility box art program and a flourishing mural art program administered by the City's Neighborhood Services Division. The mural will appear on the Foothill Blvd building opposite Maple Court to "remove' graffiti and will be a community project. The building's owner approves wholeheartedly.

Staff is working on the Gateway's final design which will incorporate and be complemented by the mural. Completion of the mural is expected by October 15, 2009.

The Council has accepted Knight's quotation of $70,436 and will draw up an agreement subject to a maximum of $75,000. Total Capital Improvement funding for the City Gateways Project is $406,000 in transfers from the Redevelopment Agency.

Knight was chosen in accordance with "Hayward Art and Hayward Artists" guidelines. Staff followed Graffitihurts.org's recommendations for creating a community mural. This entailed outreach and consultation with the Hayward Arts Council, other local artist's organizations, Hayward Unified School District, Chabot College, Cal State East Bay and local high schools to find someone who satisfies several criteria.

Knight has experience with large murals, lives and/or works in Hayward and can involve local students with the project. Conceptually, his design is consistent with the Downtown Gateway Project.

Future procurement might take the form of competitive bids, limited competition, invitation and direct purchase.

The City's mural program remedies exterior code violations on buildings and other structures repeatedly vandalized by graffiti in the Downtown and redevelopment area. The first project was completed in April through the joint efforts of the City, Cal State East Bay and Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL). A local artist and two college freshmen volunteers have also designed and applied their art to thirteen utility boxes previously defaced with graffiti.

Experience has shown that murals are seldom subject to graffiti vandalism. They are a sign of neighborhood pride and community ownership. An anti-graffiti sealant will be applied to the mural to prevent damage.

The City is accepting artist applications for future mural projects even though demand for murals currently exceeds available resources. Application forms are available on the City's website.

For more information, visit www.ci.hayward.ca.us and www.graffitihurts.org

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