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Collaboration puts student artwork on Hayward billboards


Suzy Wear, left, associate professor of art; Cory Bardwell, recipient of the first place award; and Shaun Tai, art ’02, executive director of Oakland Digital. (Photo: Michael Gumora for ODALC, Visual Verbs)

  • August 9, 2012

Artwork by two Cal State East Bay students is on downtown Hayward billboards as the result of the first-ever “Inspire Hayward” contest involving the university, City of Hayward, and the Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center (ODALC). The center is a volunteer-staffed organization headed by Shaun Tai, a CSUEB alumnus who earned his bachelor's degree in art in 2002.

The winning entry by Cal State East Bay student Cory Bardwell may be seen at the corner of Mission Boulevard and “A” Street. Jennifer Jacobo’s second place design is on Foothill Boulevard, near Ash Street.

A jury of professional designers also  placed art by Ashley Rose, Eric Dinsdale, Jessie Worden, Phuong Duong, Wenhui Zhu, Christine Espina, Jena Scholten and Hayley Hart in the top 10.

"Inspire Hayward," patterned after a similar program in Oakland, was created to inspire civic pride through design, while providing college students with professional and life skills essential to job functioning.

Suzy Wear, CSUEB associate professor of art, was impressed with the help and attention given to her students in Art 4230, which features the graphic design senior project.

“They emphasized that the idea was to have a professional piece for the students' portfolios. Winning was the icing on the cake,” said Wear.

She marveled at how generous people were with their time, along with the generosity of the City of Hayward and several companies to donate billboard space.

Diane Curry, curator of the Hayward Area Historical Society, provided background on the community. Presentations were made by such ODALC leaders as Michael Lee, a marketing executive; Martin Kojnok, former executive producer at Saatchi & Saatchi; Rita Forte, founder of, “The Olive Street Agency,” and a former KMEL Radio DJ and online radio coordinator for Warner Music Group; Vernita Naylor, founder and CEO of Jabeze Enterprise Group and a freelance writer for American Express OPEN; and Linda Poeng, Visual Verbs principal.

When Bardwell took the podium to present his creation to the jury, he recalled growing up in Hayward and asking his dad about the tall building on the hill. His dad replied that it was "a place for education and education meant hope."

For his win, Bardwell also received a one-month, paid internship at Ameredia, a firm specializing in marketing for diversity.

Others in the top 10 got a "shadow day" there. All top 10 designers received a framed plaque and were honored at a reception at ODALC with the “Inspire Oakland” participants. All top 10 Hayward designs may be seen at

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