Thoughts for Navigators - CODAworx

Thoughts for Navigators

Client: College of Alameda

Location: Alameda, CA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Martin Webb

Project manager

Donna Napper

Slate Art, Oakland


I designed this mural specifically for the College of Alameda, contemplating it’s location on an island in San Francisco Bay. In developing the concept, I considered the College’s mission of filling a diverse community of students with wisdom and learning, then sending them out into the world.

A stylized visual language is used to depict a bay with islands glimpsed through trees and foliage. The bay’s islands suggest possible destinations, and the origami boats in the painting represent the student’s hopes and aspirations launching into the world. The title, Thoughts for Navigators, refers to the universal human challenge of navigating life’s journeys.

Colors were selected to complement the building’s interior, and described as “a color palette that is quite rich and quite intense without being overly bright or primary.”

Ideas carried onward by the students are represented with fragments of text on the paper boats. Each of these are teachings by artists and thinkers from different backgrounds and times in history, many reflecting the teaching disciplines located in the Liberal Arts Building.


The goal was to invigorate the space, and to engage the students. First on a visual level, and then through the text segments contained in the piece.


The College put out a local call, and Slate Art invited me to present a proposal through them. The College selected my initial design, with Slate working as my representatives in dealing with design development, contract, and scheduling. I worked with a local scaffold company on site logistics. The piece was painted solo over four weeks.