Town Crier: Montclair Parking Garage proves prolific mural canvas

MONTCLARION: January 24, 2019

An artist once told me that everything is a canvas. Even a drab concrete slab can be transformed into an inspiring art installation. Enter the Montclair Parking Garage, which has rapidly become a kind of open-air gallery. Twelve murals — some up to 50 feet high — now adorn the ramp walls, including the latest piece by Shannon Hood and Victor Garcia.

The pair have painted a colorful piece they’ve dubbed “Nature of the City” — an interplay of nature, humanity and urban culture that they say might evoke “almost conflicting emotions.” The two artists met last April when Hood was exploring Brazilian street art and discovered a mural painted by Garcia on the streets of São Paulo. (Garcia, who goes by the nickname “Monocrew” is known in São Paulo for his vivid graffiti and street art.) They painted the Montclair mural in just one session, driven by a singular purpose.

“Art is a medium that reminds us of our shared humanity,” says Hood. “And we need it now more than ever.” Check it out at

Email bag: Smash-and-grab crimes are an ongoing problem in Oakland. One reader, who lives on Magellan Drive, says his car has been broken into twice — once at each of Montclair’s two grocery stores.

“There was absolutely nothing in my car, so they didn’t get anything,” says the victim, who says he received only a “generic” response from corporate managers.

With repeated reports of break-ins of cars, shops and homes (social media is the source for a lot of the chatter), this reader would like to see more security in the hills.

Sweet story: A local mother of three is earning kudos with her colorful cakes, pies and pastries. Andrea Marie Scott earned a baking and pastry certificate at Laney College and now runs Andrea Marie Cake in San Leandro. From her googly-eyed Sesame Street cupcakes to her elegant floral wedding cakes, Scott has even discovered the best combination of flours for gluten-free baking. See her sweet treats at

Spinning yarns: If you like dynamic stories told with multimedia, check out the Feb. 4 show called “Bay Area Storytelling Hijacked.” Reader and producer Scott Sanders is bringing together some of NPR’s best storytellers, including Tony Cyprien (who served 26 years at San Quentin State Prison) and Dhaya Lakshminaray (who grew up as an “Indian non-Christian nerd” in Alabama.) See details at

Animal tales: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Rocky the Pigeon, living his best life after a daring rescue in a local parking garage. Reader Martha Bauman spotted the wounded fledgling after he fell from his nest. After some research, she took him to Wildcare in San Rafael where the Rock Pigeon lived until his recent release in Montclair Park. Has Bauman seen Rocky since his return? Not yet, she claims.

“I think of him when I’m in the area, but he hasn’t swooped down and said, ‘Hey … check me out now.’ ” Still, the bird must consider himself lucky to have been rescued — at Lucky’s.

Ginny Prior can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at Email her at


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