Mural aims to help revitalize major East Bay thoroughfare

ASHLAND — The outside of a restaurant on East 14th Street has gotten spiffed up with a mural, the latest the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has helped create to revitalize a neighborhood more known for its passing traffic than dining spots.

Young people from REACH Ashland Youth Center, which serves youth ages 11 to 24, painted the mural on what was once a blank outdoor wall at nearby Angry Fish Sushi, which serves up such rolls as the “49ers,” with crab, avocado and salmon, and the “Cherry Bomb,” with tuna, prawns and green onion.

The mural features a Godzilla-like monster standing before pounding waves getting buzzed by angry-looking sushi determined to defend their town.

“Just working with a great bunch of people. That was the best part,” said Timothy Curran, 24, who helped paint the mural.

A blue stripe anchors the work. It includes koi painted near the entrance of the restaurant, which opened about six years ago at 16250 E. 14th St. in unincorporated Alameda County between San Leandro and Hayward.

“Public safety means more than the absence of crime,” Sheriff Greg Ahern told a gathering outside the business Wednesday, when the mural was unveiled. “In places like Ashland, decades of disinvestment have left the community without many of the vital institutions that support economic vitality. When people lack the basic building blocks of a community — parks, playgrounds, businesses, jobs, and arts and culture — they no longer feel safe and secure.”

The sheriff’s office supported creating the mural, Ahern said, because it’s part of a broader law enforcement effort to reduce crime through making more vibrant communities.

Gregory Duggan, a graphic designer at the REACH center, calls the monster depicted in the mural “Ash-zilla,” a play on the neighborhood’s name.

“It was very important that the owners and the staff of the restaurant liked it,” said Duggan, who designed the mural. “After that, it was full steam ahead.”

REACH opened in May 2013 and mostly focuses on Ashland and other unincorporated areas in western Alameda County, which can be known for poverty and crime, as well as chronic health problems among its residents.

About 12 people connected with REACH worked on the Angry Fish Sushi mural, starting in January when they hashed out ideas on what it should look like, including talking with Tommy Kwok, an owner of the business.

When the design was completed, a projector flashed the image onto the restaurant wall. Then people traced and

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

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