by Sarah Burke
If Sundays on Telegraph aren't already colorful enough, this weekend two artists will be adding a new splash of color to the festivities. Berkeley natives Tim Hon and Steve Ha of the Illuminaries art group are spray painting a mural onto the side of Shakespeare & Co Books on Telegraph Avenue. They began their work this morning and will be finishing up the painting during the street fair on Sunday evening in conjunction with live musical performances.
Hon and Ha are both seasoned mural painters, with their work enlivening walls across the Bay Area. Last year, they sprayed the Mission District of San Francisco with a 49ers mural during the Super Bowl and an SF Giants mural during the World Series. As one would expect, both were very popular with the community.
Although the artists haven't disclosed what the Telegraph mural is going to look like when finished, their goal is to offer an uplifting message that will inspire reading and imagination. "I believe people are influenced by their environment and their surroundings, and we aim to make a positive impact on that old building," Hon was quoted as saying in a press release.
Shakespeare & Co Books and the Telegraph Business Improvement District are jointly funding the project. Because the bookstore is one of the first businesses that visitors see when coming to the Sunday street fair, they are hoping that it will contribute to the street's charm and give off a good impression.
With notoriously empty lots on Telegraph still glaringly empty, and many of its businesses struggling, a little makeover will hopefully provide some pull for customers. Shakespeare & Co, a homey buy/sell/trade used and rare bookstore on the corner of Telegraph Ave. and Dwight Way had been struggling for years. Business has been looking up a bit since manager Stephanie Vela took over two years ago, but she thinks that the previously inconspicuous, white building still needs a new look.
Hon and Ha will be painting at 2499 Telegraph Ave. between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on August 15, 16, and 18.