Youth Spirit Artworks Project Update

April 24, 2016


As you may know I've been working with Youth Spirit Artworks to design and create a ceramic mural and mosaic bench with my team of youth artist! The project honors Frances Townes for her years of service with the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplaincy for the Homeless and YSA. It also celebrates her 100th birthday. Around 1985 Frances founded the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplaincy to the Homeless with my father Moe Wright and Sally Hindman who is now the executive director of YSA. For many years Frances worked as the lead docent for the Oakland Museums Natural History area allowing her to be an environmental advocate as well as an advocate for the poor. 


The mural will be installed on the front of the YSA building and the bench will be in front of the mural on the sidewalk. The YSA building is located at 1740 Alcatraz in South Berkeley. The mural and bench are part of a broader urban renewal project that’s taking place in the neighborhood. 


Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) is an interfaith “green” art jobs and job training program located in Berkeley, California which is committed to empowering homeless and low-income San Francisco Bay Area young people, ages 16-25.


To learn more about YSA visit:


To learn more about Frances Townes check out this Article in Berkeleyside News.




California Poppy tiles that will be among other native Californian plants composed behind Frances





 Digital sketch of the relief mural depicting Frances as an embodiment of the mother spirit surrounded by native plants, fish and birds of California. The sky is filled with messages from the community about art and nature. The idea was conceived by the youth artists, Sally Hindman, and myself.




 Sculpting Frances's body on the template.



A tortoise that will make up one leg of the bench. It's about 2 & 1/2 ft tall.



Projecting the design on template



Coloring tiles



Making tiles with the First Congregational Church of Berkeley



Making tiles with the First Congregational Church of Berkeley



Frances's face



Tiles in progress



Coloring tiles



 More native plant tiles



Tiles in progress



Border tiles


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