I am requesting your help in raising $5,000 to complete the installation of ten monumental ceramic murals that I have created for Satellite Senior Housing's Helios Corner Project in West Berkeley. In 2004, Satellite's previous director approached me to create site specific works for their anticipated low-income senior housing project for the corner of University Avenue and Sacramento Street. After a thorough community research project, many oral interviews with Berkeley elders, community leaders and environmental activists, such as the Berkeley Grey Panthers, community organizers Sol Levinson and Dr. Salvador Murillo, environmental biologist Dr. Ignacio Chapela, State Senator Lonie Hancock and many others, I designed a series of 2' x 11' and 2' x 8' ceramic bas relief murals for the facade of the now-completed building. Satellite then contracted me to fabricate my design, which I did over a period of two years, including during my Fulbright in Yucatán, Mexico, where I had studio facilities that allowed me to work on a larger scale than usual.
I worked for four years to design and fabricate the panels, and finished them in June of 2008. Since then, they have been sitting in boxes in a basement at one of Satellite's facilities, waiting for installation. Satellite received a grant from Open Circle Foundation for $5,000 for the installation in 2007, but still needs to raise another $5,000 to pay for the complete installation. Although I have moral support from local Berkeley officials like Councilwoman Linda Maio and Civic Arts Commission Coordinator Mary Ann Merker, there is apparently no money in the City of Berkeley available for the completion of this project. I am requesting your support in the amount of $5,000 to make the installation of this work a reality.
This particular project has the goal of creating artworks at a " grassroots level to promote environmental justice in underserved neighborhoods." This is a sustainable architecture program which serves the poor. The new building is a "green structure", featuring a photovoltaic solar energy system, central hydronic heating system, passive solar layout, drought-tolerant landscaping and a transit-oriented location with supplemental van service (slide show:slideshare.net/ICF_HCD/satellite-housing-chdo-ee-in-home-workshop). Additionally, this work, entitled "Huehuetlatoli: The Wisdom of the Elders", expresses this wisdom as embedded in the five natural elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and the Soul. In recent years, I have explored more permanent materials that integrate smoothly into the architecture for which I design.(See juanaalicia.com for images of SANARTE murals and sidewalk for UCSF Medical Center). These ceramic panels are nearly maintenance-free. I have now lived in Berkeley for fifteen years, though most of my body of work is found in San Francisco and Latin America. Although I was paid for my work, it saddens me to have it languishing in boxes. It is my strong desire to see this work completed and given to the City of Berkeley's low-income seniors and community at large.
Thank you for helping us meet our goal.
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