New mural in Oakland honors artists who've helped the community

Oakland has a new mural honoring artists.

It's on the side of a PG&E building located on Shattuck Avenue near 52nd Street. 

It's about the contributions they've made including, inspiring future generations.

David Burke is one of the three artists who created the mural called "Love Letter to Oakland." 

"As muralists and street artists, we're visual translators for the community," said Burke.

The mural depicts the late Michael Morgan, conductor of the Oakland Symphony and  Hung Liu, professor of painting at Mills College who has also died.

"These are people who gave so much love and are giving so much love  through their art," said Kev Choice, a musician and educator at Oakland School for the Arts.  

He's among the younger generation of artists shown in the mural.    

"It's kind of surreal.  It's humbling," Choice said conductor Morgan was a mentor, "He came to my high school  when I was a kid and talked to us about music and that really inspired me.  Michael gave me a lot of opportunities to work with the Oakland Symphony to do a piece with them."  

Choice said he's struck by the mural's life-like quality: "The eyes really stand out to me. As big as this is,  the eyes and our natural expressions, it's very realistic." 

Burke said the mural illustrates the important legacy of artists such as Morgan and Lui

"The dandelion seeds coming off of her shirt,  they're traveling across the mural to the other side to the younger generation. It enhances the narrative of passing on the torch to the younger generation," Burke said. 

Burke explained the use of varying shades of purple.

"We like to pull the light out of the darkness," Burke said. "Start with a darker background and then we bring light into the figures and gives the piece an internal glow."

The mural is the second in a series that started with another work on a building at Jack London Square in 2018. 

Each mural is a tribute to people who have shaped the cultural landscape and paved the way for the next generation: showcasing  excellence in Bay Area artistry.

"There's a whole new population coming here  that don't necessarily know the history or familiar with the artists who've been shaping the culture for decades," Burke said he's planning on doing three more murals in various Oakland neighborhoods and that each one is funded by grants and donations. 

He hopes to start the next one this fall.

For more information, follow the project on Instagram @lovelettertooakland

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on facebook @AmberKTVU,  instagram @AmberKTVU  or twitter @AmberKTVU