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Edythe Boone (Berkeley) collaborating with Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients (Berkeley)

Award: $40,000 traditional arts grant awarded in 2017

To be completed: September 1, 2018

Muralist Edythe Boone is collaborating with a team of artists, clients of the Berkeley Drop-In Center (managed by the Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients), and residents and merchants of South Berkeley to create a community-based mural on the Drop-In Center’s exterior. The artist team also includes Tammy Artis and Siu Ming Leung Garber, whom Boone has mentored and worked closely with for five years.

South Berkeley has been home to a racially diverse population, political activism, as well as such organizations as the Berkeley Drop-In Center that assist community members who are disadvantaged. Recently, long-time residents have been displaced by wealthier newcomers and, in particular, the neighborhood’s African American community has dwindled. This project seeks to capture the neighborhood’s history and cultures. The design will be created from stories collected through workshops along with private interviews and research at local libraries and government archives. Ethnographer Omi Jones will create a corresponding document, “The Peoples’ Encyclopedic History of South Berkeley,” from information gathered from the community.

Edythe Boone began painting in 1956, creating some of her first murals in Harlem. She attended workshops taught by Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Dimitroff, apprentices to Diego Rivera, but she was largely self-taught. Among widely recognized projects, she was a key member of the team of women muralists who painted Maestrapeace on the exterior of the Women’s Building in San Francisco and the Peoples’ Park mural in Berkeley. Boone is a long-time resident of South Berkeley and has observed its transitions first-hand.

The Berkeley Drop-In Center is a multi-purpose community center, run by and for past and present mental health clients and persons undergoing significant emotional distress.