OAKLAND -- Skyline High School art club students are creating a mural at Medau Place, on the side of the building that houses the Rite Aid pharmacy.
The project is led by muralist Pam Consear and coordinated by the Montclair Village Association.
Skyline senior Geneva Jonick, president of the art club, was elated when she got the call from the Montclair Village Association.
"We've been trying to do a mural for a very long time," Jonick said. "When the merchants association called us, I said, 'We've got to do this.' We can finally do something and make a difference.
"People stop by and are very enthusiastic," she said. "It's exciting having everyone else being pumped up about it."
"The kids will have a legacy," Consear said. "It's a good feeling to beautify a community and get kudos from people passing by."
Every Saturday, weather permitting, a dozen or so students come to Montclair Village to work on the mural between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The students are hoping to complete the project by the end of the month.
"People have a bad image of teens. I think it's important for the community to see them doing good. Giving up a Saturday to be here for free is not uncommon for teens," Consear said.
"It's really nice. My grandkids will see it. When I walk on the street, I will be able to show my kids that this is what I did in high school. It will inspire them to do great things," said Madeleine Taylor, a ninth-grade artist.
The mural is an adaption of a street scene from the banners hanging around the village, created by graphic designer Ron Rifkin.
"I think this will do a lot for Montclair. There aren't a lot of murals (in the village). It's cool that we are using art from a banner. It ties it all together. It makes it feel like home," Jonick said.
A grid was created on the wall and the image was sketched square by square.
"There is a lot or erasing and going back and doing it over," Consear said. The mural will be painted with exterior latex paint and mural paint, and will be finished with several layers of graffiti-proof coating.
Consear has worked extensively with school groups on projects like this. "These kids are super motivated," she said. "Even during the most tedious parts, I hear them saying, 'This is a great project.'
"It's an important to guide them through something they haven't done before. They gain confidence through the process," Consear said.
The project is funded by Rite Aid. "Rite Aid likes to do things like this," said Thomas Wong, store manager. "It's good for the community. It shows that we are not just a big business here but part of the community."
The property owner, Sturtevant Enterprises, also provided funding and painted the side of the building in preparation for the mural.
"We are excited that this mural project will create a district focal point, contributing to a beautiful and attractive streetscape, while building community identity and growing the destination status of the Montclair commercial district," said Daniel Swafford, executive director of the Montclair Village Association.