Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Visual Arts offer a portal into the imagination of the artist, at times reflecting the harsh realistic truths encountered in modern life, while at other times reflecting an affirmation of healing and community transformation. United Roots provides a wide variety of art making programs, including mural making, training in graphic design, and digital photography. Students can expect to learn professional level art making skills and are encouraged to create profound and thought-provoking imagery that can also lead to careers in creative marketing services and graphic design.

Graphic Arts Design Program

Graphic Design Club

United Roots houses an in-house graphic design team and teaches graphic design through small group instruction. All of the computers at the Center are equipped with the Adobe Creative Suite software. Youth and Staff from the Center design all the promotional materials for projects, products and events produced at United Roots.

Intern Lab-Time: Monday through Friday 12:00-8:00pm
To find out more about the Graphic Design team at United Roots or to hire a youth graphic designer please email:

Below are a few samples of fliers and designs made this last year:

Community Rejuvenation Project Muralist Collective

Community Rejuvenation Muralist Project:

Connect with the Community Rejuvenation Project at the United Roots Center and get involved in the process of community mural making. No skills? No problem! Not an artist? No problem! We have a role in our projects for you!  For more info go to:

Community Rejuvenation Project
The Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) cultivates healthy communities by integrating community murals, neighborhood clean-up and blight abatement, community celebrations and block parties, gardening and landscaping, and youth-led journalism. Our experiential programs promote professional development, artistic and cultural expression, and community empowerment.

The Community Rejuvenation Project targets blank, routinely vandalized walls and transforms them into landmarks and cultural hubs, opening up the potential for similar spaces throughout the city and awakening the mind to the vast possibilities of the space around us. CRP targets the city’s most blighted areas, replacing neglect with positive cultural artwork and landscaping, and transferring ownership to the community through free celebrations. In the process, neighborhood pride is built, local networks are created and strengthened and the nagging discomfort associated with blight is alleviated.

CRP films and edits all of its own videos, like this one by Mike Melero of our project at 25th and MLK:
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Overall, the Community Rejuvenation Project has produced 35 public wall murals over the course of the last three years in all neighborhoods of Oakland, with a concentration in East Oakland and North Oakland. CRP currently paints a minimum of one large-scale mural per month. CRP generally has 5 – 10 locations secured and ready for painting at any time, including agreements with owners. Depending on their size, murals take between two days and two weeks to execute. During mural painting, volunteers clean up the blocks surrounding the mural, picking up trash and installing drought-resistant native wildflower gardens where possible. When a mural is completed, CRP throws a block party the following Saturday at the mural, which serves as a focal point for community cohesion.

Our Black and Brown Unity Mural led to the Creation of the Life Garden!
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In the last 3 months, CRP has inaugurated several cultural corridors which include 5 or more murals in a specific neighborhood, including the Martin Luther King Cultural Corridor and the Funktown Arts District. CRP murals always reflect the broad diversity of Oakland’s cultures and are generally prayers for peace and empowerment within the community. The images we use reflect a balance of ancient / modern, cross-generational, cross-cultural, and the spectrum of sexual orientations that are found within Oakland. Murals always reflect the cultures of the people living in the immediate vicinity and incorporate social justice themes and local neighborhood history.

The Entrance to the Martin Luther King Cultural Corridor in West Oakland

During our pilot youth employment project in the summer of 2009, CRP employed 30 youth who created 5 murals, hosted 4 block parties, cleaned up litter and weeds over 30 square blocks, gathered 150 bags of trash, shot 5,000 photos, maintained a daily youth-led blog, and created a 24-page full color magazine over the course of six weeks. We provide regular journalism trainings for artists, youth and volunteers on social media, crafting news articles, and blogging, which at the same time documents our own efforts and provides important new media skills.

This is the video from our 2009 summer youth employment program
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As a collective of 5-10 lead artists, a rotating group of Oakland Youth, and many volunteers, CRP is able to respond rapidly to painting opportunities and typically completes murals within 1- 2 weeks. CRP owns a generator, 3 ladders, an industrial-strength paint gun, two sets of scaffolding, and has access to a truck. CRP maintains a minimum stock of 300 cans of spray paint at all times.

Here is a timelapse video of CRP painting the OGYAMC mural
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These are some of our murals throughout the Bay Area

The Community Rejuvenation Project is a program of Higher Gliffs, a non-profit organization with 501©3 tax-exempt status. For more work samples, please visit our website at