Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

For Immediate Release

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National Gallery Of Art Film Crew Visit City Of Berkeley Mural

Berkeley, California (Thursday, May 22, 2003) – On May 19, 2003, a film crew from the National Gallery of Art arrived in Berkeley and spent from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. filming the Romare Bearden mural and the City of Berkeley for a 30 minute film.  The subject of this film will be the upcoming Romare Bearden Retrospective that will open at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. this Fall, and then travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, California, the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas, and close at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in January 2005.

“Berkeley-The City and Its People” has hung behind the City Council seating in the Old City Hall since it was commissioned by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission almost 30 years ago in 1974.  It is the largest and most expansive of the hundreds of collages the African American artist composed of photographic and other paper elements throughout his career.  This mural highlights Berkeley’s distinctive natural beauty, architectural monuments, and diversity as a community and represents Bearden’s earliest public art commission.

The National Gallery will give the City of Berkeley a copy of the final 30-minute film and the shorter 10-minute version.  These films will also run at the National Gallery in their film viewing auditoriums for visitors.  The films will also be given as a gift to the main public libraries in each city the traveling exhibition will visit, and they will become part of the National Gallery permanent archive.

The National Gallery crew also filmed the front entrance of the Berkeley Civic Center with the banner with the logo on it.  The logo for the City of Berkeley is taken from the mural, and represents the multicultural aspect of the community.  The film crew also did a pan from above showing the Berkeley campus down to the Bay Bridge and out to the Golden Gate bridge (just like the top of the mural.)

Berkeley is highlighted positively for a city that worked with a major African American artist and integrated his interpretation into the fabric of city life and image.  The National Gallery is also contacting BTV to acquire footage of the City Council meetings to show the mural as part of civic life.  They are asking a well-known actor to narrate the film.

The mural, which is part of the City’s public art collection, will also increase in value after the tour, and it will be permanently documented in print and film.  

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