Home News Murals help give this East Bay city ‘a sense of place’

Murals help give this East Bay city ‘a sense of place’

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PITTSBURG — Bland brick and cement exterior walls are being transformed into colorful, eye-popping art treasures thanks to a new mural program the city of Pittsburg has started.

Using $250,000 in budget surplus funds, the city has hired an art agency called Local Edition Creative to design and produce five murals along with interactive art or sculptures in several areas of the city, including downtown.

The artwork is part of a strategic plan connected to the Pittsburg’s economic development to attract people to parts of the city, according to Jordan Davis, the city’s director of community and economic development.

“We want to create places that encourage people to walk from one block to the next to downtown to see these things,” Davis said. “We don’t want people to come downtown, park in front of the (New) Mecca, have lunch or have dinner, get back in their car and leave town.”

Davis and other staff are hoping visitors will stop, take a photo with the artwork and post it on social media, helping to promote the city.

“Creating those moments are what helps create a sense of place,” he said. “It’s getting people down there and saying, ‘hey, this is not just a place that has good restaurants. It’s not just a place where the weather’s nice, but it’s a place where you can see and be seen, where you can kill a few hours.”

Davis added that the mural program is something the city is “really passionate about,” especially given its “extensive history of art and artists.”

As an example, Davis pointed to native son Ronald McDowell, a prolific national artist who recently completed a  “huge” mural downtown at the city’s new Marina Community Center at 340 Marina Blvd.

It’s colorful…It’s just absolutely fantastic,” he said.

Earlier, the Ace Hardware building at 12 E. Leland Road added an art nouveau mural on its west side as part of a city request during a design review building improvement application. While not part of the current mural program, the city and Pittsburg Community Arts Foundation sponsored the artwork.

“It’s a celebration of Pittbsurg,” he said, noting staff wants to see more of such art throughout the city. “It’s bright, it’s colorful. It’s got the Pittsburg logo. It’s got a lot about our history, our future. It’s really elaborate and very diverse.”

Though the council directed the staff to spread the murals throughout the city, Davis said there’s a possibility they could get a couple more downtown.

“We really want to target other areas of the city, not just Old Town, which obviously we love, it’s our jewel,” he said. “But we really want to look at other areas and say, ‘OK, how can we get murals in some of these places to help beautify them?’”

Visitors to downtown will likely notice the nearly completed art nouveau painting of a female figure done with sophisticated, flowing and elegant curves and long lines on the side of a building at 610 Railroad Ave. that houses the CreAsian restaurant.

Luciano Roque created this art noveau-style mural on the side of the CreAsian restaurant building at 610 Railroad Ave. in downtown Pittsburg in the winter of 2024. The city is using budget surplus funds to pay for murals to try to encourage visitors to walk about and stay awhile.
Luciano Roque created this art noveau-style mural on the side of the CreAsian restaurant building at 610 Railroad Ave. in downtown Pittsburg in the winter of 2024. The city is using budget surplus funds to pay for murals to try to encourage visitors to walk about and stay awhile. 

The building’s owner, Sean McCCauley, allowed the city to add the small mural to one of the exterior walls.

“What we’re finding is property owners who are allowing us to do this on their buildings, and so we work closely with them,” Davis said. “It (the CreAsian mural) is kind of in a cove area, so it’s almost like a little hidden jewel.”

Davis said the murals so far are all purposefully designed on sidewalls off of Railroad Avenue, so as “not to take away from the storefronts” on the main thoroughfare.

“We don’t want to block sidewalks, we want to put these on in areas that are a little more off the beaten path,” he said.

Also almost completed is a larger full-wall abstract mural by artist David Cho of Hercules at 670 Cumberland St. Previously a white brick wall, it now sports an industrial look, in a nod to the city’s past, with gears and clocks colored in orange, purple, gold and gray. A clock in the mural also reads 9:10, the name of the group that owns the building.

“It’s really fun,” Davis said. “We love to do things like that. We’ll definitely be highlighting these when we make up plaques (for the artwork).”



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