Muralist Johanna Poethig Transforms Oakland’s Rainbow Recreation Center

May 13, 2021
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Muralist Johanna Poethig Transforms Oakland’s Rainbow Recreation Center

Image Credits: Johanna Poethig

Following a competitive selection process, muralist Johanna Poethig was commissioned by the City of Oakland Public Art Program, Cultural Affairs Division, and the Economic & Workforce Development Department to design a public art installation for the Rainbow Recreation Center in Oakland, California. For this commission, Poethig selected Artaic, an awarding-winning manufacturer that creates mosaic tile installations using robotic technology, to help create an impressive mosaic mural spanning an area of 13 x 65 square feet.

Poethig worked closely with Artaic’s staff to design a mosaic installation that integrated seamlessly into the architecture of the building, which includes an archway, reflective windows, and skylights. The installation titled, “Rainbow Power,” was named as an homage to Morrie Turner, a well-respected American cartoonist who lived in the Oakland area and coined the phrase.

The installation includes a rainbow landscape that was inspired by the surface of bubbles, which creates a colorful backdrop for figures. These figures are based on photographs of the youth from the Rainbow Recreation Center and are connected through their playful gestures. Throughout the mural, there are colorful wavelengths that connect the figures in a metaphor for the sharing of ideas, culture, and friendship.


Through the collaboration with Artaic, Poethig's artwork is preserved through durable mosaic tile while simultaneously showcased to the public, providing an inspiring, imaginative view to be enjoyed by all who visit.