Berkeley has long established itself as a leader in Civil Rights and counter-culture movements. Local activists have often used plants as a central component for healing, nurturing, and fostering strength across marginalized groups. Wildflowers, Bloom! is a simple and elegant theme that celebrates beauty, resistance and community. This artwork highlights endangered and useful flowering plants indigenous to Berkeley giving them a larger than life presence.
We use plant-based metaphors like Grass-roots, rhizomatic, cultivating, fruitful, blossom, diasporic and so many more to describe collective efforts and political scenarios. Slogans of resistance like “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds” are poignant and compelling. We equate plants to empowerment and the potency of community. Wildflowers evoke an unruly beauty that is diverse and stubborn. Like activists, wildflowers embellish humble cracks on sidewalks and enshroud great rolling fields that awe and amaze. They can transform a dreary scene into a heartwarming one. As a metaphor, wildflowers are markers of resistance to homogeneity and colonization.
Rather than a centralized monument, this artwork intersperses San Pablo Park with vibrant color and functional sculptures that invite engagement and dialogue. Wildflowers, Bloom! is intended to uplift and create a space that honors indigenous land and creates common ground for collective growth. The title is a call to action to be bold, diverse, and wonderful.
Concept and design by Michael Arcega
Fabricated and installed by Gizmo Art Production