In the early 2000s, neighbors of the East Oakland King Estates community came together to address neighborhood issues. During one of these meetings came the suggestion to clean up a small open space at the corner of Lamp and Sterling streets. This patch of land was slipping into misuse with dumping, drugs, and disrepair. After an initial planting of native plants, neighbors named it the Phoenix Rising Peace Park. Neighbors came together yearly on Earth Day to maintain it. Over the years, energy started to wane, and plants were dying. Long term resident Susan Boggiano took the leadership of this City-approved Adopt a Spot and, in an effort to re-energize and create a place for the neighborhood to gather and enjoy, Susan applied for and was awarded a grant in 2017 from Keep Oakland Beautiful to buy new plants for the garden. Once again, neighbors are coming together to plant and weed the park.
The small grant from Keep Oakland Beautiful helped bring the garden to the next level. This neighborhood gem of a public space has flagstone paths meandering through drought-tolerant landscaping, a decorative bird bath fountain, a neighborhood bulletin board and book exchange, and a bench with views overlooking it all. The crowning glory is Susan’s own sculpture of a phoenix rising from flames above a totem of hidden Oakland tributes. People, pets, birds, and pollinators will be enjoying this neighborhood oasis for years to come!
If you've walked anywhere in Oakland, you've likely seen the ubiquitous trash can mosaics. There are more than 60 around the city, and Keep Oakland Beautiful has helped contribute to this effort through our small grants program.
The program began as in 2010 to beautify Allendale Park in East Oakland, and has grown to other parts of the city. Volunteer artists Roberto Costa and Daud Abdullah lead the beautification effort early on and have designed trash cans on High Street, 35th Avenue to Seminary Avenue, Foothill Boulevard, Grand Avenue, and Telegraph. Beverly Shalom, Karen Diffrumolo, and Linda Vogel have also created beautiful works of art on trash cans throughout the city.
Costa wanted to bring mosaic trash cans to Oakland after seeing decorated trash cans while visiting Arcata, CA. Costa has also taught neighborhood groups to decorate the trash cans in their communities. Abdullah was quoted in the Oakland Tribune as saying, "I had done a lot of community cleanup projects, I liked the idea of making a trash can look so pretty that nobody could miss it." He has has decorated most of the mosaic trash cans, mostly in East Oakland with the themes of love and peace.
Learn How to Mosaic a Trash Can:
See a Slideshow of Oakland's Trash Can Mosaics: