Artists for Oceans

Emeryville to Host “Artists for Oceans” Mural Festival in September

2 mins read

The Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans program has chosen Emeryville to host its latest mural festival. The event is being coordinated to help increase interest and engagement around marine stewardship and action within the community.

17 artists will be painting 15 ocean advocacy murals on buildings throughout the city as well as hosting various public events during the span of September 9-19. In addition to Emeryville, they will also be hosting an event in St. Thomas.

Seawalls has previously coordinated similar events in Boston, Santa Cruz and Bimini.

Current locations where murals will be painted include The Public Market, The Black & White Liquor Store, The Emeryville Center of Community Life and Life Sciences company Geltor (Hollis & 53rd).

Rose at the unveiling ceremony of his “Ascend” mural along the Emeryville Greenway.

The event is being coordinated locally by artists Joey Rose (best known locally for his Emeryville Greenway Mural behind The Broken Rack) and Alexandra Underwood with support from the Pangeaseed Foundation.

Rose thinks Emeryville is an ideal location to host the event because of the city’s long history of industrial pollution as well as being a city that will one day likely have to contend with sea level rise. “Historically, Emeryville has been a large contributor to pollution in the Bay, starting with Bay Fill and the destruction of wetlands in the 60s to make room for toxic waste-dumping industrial factories and warehouses,” Rose elaborated. “Now, with the eminence of Sea Level Rise, our community is on the front lines of this waste potentially rising back out of the ground and into our homes.”

Examples of murals the program have yielded globally include these featured below by notable artists Beau Stanton, Shepard Fairey, and David Rice (all photos: Tre Packard).

After an immersive weekend of learning about and experiencing the various environmental challenges facing the Bay, the participating artists will be painting large-scale artworks on buildings across town. The public is invited to explore the mural sites through a provided map and watch the artists in action.

Beyond the curation of purpose-driven, public ocean advocacy art, Sea Walls Emeryville will feature week-long, free-to-the-public programming curated to help facilitate an ongoing relationship between Emeryville’s community, the murals, and their environment. Activities will include: youth outreach at the Emery Unified School District, a coastal cleanup, and mural walking tours, making it a well-rounded experience for all ages.

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The public programming will culminate with a free community event at the Public Market Emeryville on September 16, featuring short film screenings and a thought-provoking panel discussion tackling topics at the intersection of art, science, and disruption for good.

The Public Market Emeryville (owned by Oxford Properties in partnership with City Center Realty Partners) will also act as the project’s headquarters, where residents and visitors can pick up mural walking maps, obtain more information on the initiative, and take part in public programming. They will also be participating in the coastal clean-up efforts.

“We are thrilled to be a sponsor of Sea Walls and to help bring these important awareness campaigns to the Bay Area for the first time,” said Oxford Properties VP & Head of Development Lauren Krause. Krause also noted that Oxford team members will participate in the event’s coastal clean-up efforts and look forward to celebrating and learning with the community.

In addition to the Public Market, the project is also made possible by the generous support of Emeryville-born Stasher Bags, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Davlin Coatings, and LUSH Natural Cosmetics amongst others.

Interested volunteers can sign up through this form. Read more about the program and its ambitions at

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


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