Four years after several Oakland advocates, bloggers, and blog readers saved the space from becoming a surface parking lot, the Uptown Art Park is opening this Friday night! Thanks to hard work by staff in the City’s Public Art Program and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Oaklanders and Uptown visitors will soon be able to enjoy several sculptures by local artists. (Read more about our advocacy for the art park in the many blog posts listed at the bottom of this post.)
Here are the details for the grand opening event:
Uptown Art Park Grand Opening!
What: Nine Sculpture Art Pieces by Local Artists, Music, Tours, Food Trucks
Where: Telegraph & 19th Street
When: Friday, April 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/170069043142598/
Get There: 19th Street BART Station or Free Broadway Shuttle… or bike there from West Oakland with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and Bikes4Life: Riders of all ages gather at 5:30pm at Bikes4Life, 1600 7th Street @ Willow in West Oakland (take BART to the West Oakland station) for 1.5 mile ride to the event. Free bike lights courtesy of the City of Oakland (limited supply –arrive by 5:30pm). Bike valet parking provided by Richmond Spokes.
This guest blog post was written by Josie Schimke, the Program Development Associate for the Black Rock Arts Foundation. Through her administrative and program support over the last five years for BRAF, Josie has had the privilege of watching promising art proposals mature into exceptional achievements of public art.
The Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) is close to fulfilling a dream and needs the community’s help. We have art. We have a place to put it. We have 12 extraordinary young artists worth celebrating. All we need now is a few more dollars to make it happen!
Donate to the Kickstarter campaign for The Bike Bridge!
If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve heard mention of The Bike Bridge. We can’t say enough about this project, and it’s so close to becoming a reality. The City of Oakland has approved the installation of the sculpture in a new park on Telegraph Avenue, between 19th and 20th Streets, adjacent to the beautifully renovated Fox Theater. Continue reading
Throughout my blogging hiatus this year, I’ve many times been tempted to blog about things happening in Oakland (particularly upcoming decisions at the Planning Commission and City Council). I’ve stopped myself because I just don’t have the time to start blogging again while I’m campaigning for BART Board and maintaining my full-time job. But I came across news on Facebook yesterday that was far too exciting not to share, since this blog, other Oakland blogs, and dozens of blog readers made this news possible.
The Uptown lot that we saved from becoming a parking lot back in 2009 is finally becoming a public arts space!
I know, I know, I’ve shared this news a couple of times here already. Unfortunately there were major delays due to funding issues after the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. But now it really is happening. And by now I mean that construction should start this month, and if construction stays on schedule, the art could be installed as early as mid-late October.
The City of Oakland Public Art Program has put out a call for art, with applications due on September 18th. With such a short timeline for submission, acceptance, and installation, they’re currently looking for existing artwork, to be displayed for 6-12 months. After that, they might commission some new artwork. From the call for art: Continue reading
This guest blog post was written by Suzanne L’Heureux, an Oakland resident, artist, and art historian with an interest in community building and art as social practice. She is a cofounder and organizer of Temescal Street Cinema, which she views as part block party, part public art intervention.
I think many readers of Living in the O will agree that in large part, it’s the lively, creative community events and small businesses that make Oakland a rich and wonderful place to live in spite of some of our larger problems as a city.
This is why four years ago, my neighbor Catarina and I started Temescal Street Cinema – a free outdoor movie night featuring films by Bay Area artists. We wanted to highlight the work of Bay Area artists, while bringing people together in a dynamic community event that fosters connections in our community.
Our series has run for six Thursdays every summer for the last four years. Since we began, we have steadily grown to an audience of 200+ per week. We have received a great deal of positive press and we have supported the work of 100+ artists through a combination of live music, shorts and feature length films. This past season, we were voted Best Local Film Event by The East Bay Express.
UPDATE: The facilitation committee has put this proposal on tonight’s GA agenda as the first item. This proposal has been merged with another proposal – see the new proposal below.
On Wednesday, for the first time in weeks, I decided to take a full afternoon and evening off from Occupy Oakland and Twitter. I had left work early – the cold that had been trying to catch up to me for weeks finally caught me – and I thought I could use some rest. When I finally logged into Twitter later that evening, I found out that the Occupy Oakland General Assembly had voted to occupy the lot at 19th and Telegraph and the adjacent park.
At first I was upset because of all the work I and many others have put into that space, to save it from becoming a parking lot. (You can read a quick synopsis of that story here or check out the many blog posts about it linked to at the bottom of this post.) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the wrong space to occupy for many reasons. And it became clear to me, from the General Assembly minutes and from the proposal text, that the people voting on this proposal might not have understood the full context of the space they voted to occupy.
I tweeted a bunch on Wednesday night and Thursday morning and saw that many people agreed with my perspective. So last night I drafted a proposal to rescind the vote and worked with several other people to refine the proposal. A few of those people signed on and we’ve submitted it to be heard at tonight’s General Assembly. Continue reading
If you’re interested in parking or PARK(ing), there’s plenty for you to do in Oakland this week. You might have heard that this Friday, September 16th is PARK(ing) Day, “an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.” Oaklanders have participated in PARK(ing) day for the past several years, and I’ve heard about some awesome plans for this year.
PARK(ing) Day is all about re-appropriating on-street parking, but off-street parking is also important to our city. On Thursday night the City is holding a workshop on off-street parking. From the email: Continue reading
Over the past several years, Uptown has improved in so many ways. The Fox opened, many restaurants and bars opened (and all seem to be doing quite well), the Art Murmur brought new people to the area, and most recently, the Broadway Shuttle started running through Uptown on Friday and Saturday nights. But there are a few places in Uptown that could use some work. One is of course the huge lot next to the Fox that will turn into a sculpture garden next March. Another is the 17th Street BART alleyway between Telegraph and Broadway.
If you’ve ever walked through that alleyway, you know it’s not very appealing or welcoming – definitely not the first thing we want Oakland visitors to see as they come out of BART for a show at the Fox or for dinner at Flora. Thankfully, the Oakland Cultural Arts Department is working to improve it. From their website: Continue reading
You might have read earlier this month that the opening date of the Uptown sculpture garden has been delayed from December 2011 to March 2012, but have you heard about the centerpiece sculpture chosen for the space? Because I’m often a month behind on blogs (except for a few), I was ecstatic this morning to read a Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) blog post written a month ago about this piece.
From the beginning of this fight – when advocates including myself convinced the City Council to approve an arts space instead of a surface parking lot in the lot between the Uptown apartments and the Fox Theater – I dreamed about Burning Man style art being featured there. I’m often frustrated that San Francisco gets to publicly display so many East Bay Burning Man art pieces, like Ecstasy and the Raygun Rocket Ship, and I thought this was the perfect space for Oakland to showcase East Bay art. Well, my dreams have come true.
Actually, this art piece is even better than what I imagined. The project is being led by one of my favorite Burning Man artists, Michael Christian, but it’s being created by 12 young Oakland women. Also, it’s made of reclaimed bike parts. Here are the details from BRAF’s blog: Continue reading
I’ve been going to the Temescal Street Fair for years so I was super bummed when I had plans for the date it had been scheduled for in June. Lucky for me (but not so lucky for the event organizers), it was rescheduled due to the rain for this Sunday, July 10. (You’d think it would be safe to schedule an outdoor event in June, but with the crazy weather this year, I guess not.)
I’m a big fan of street fairs and festivals. I love seeing normally car-jammed streets filled with pedestrians. I love having so many different food vendors and other small business vendors crammed together and so convenient. I love running into Oaklanders from the neighborhood and beyond.
The Temescal Street Fair is special to me though because for five years it was my neighborhood street fair and had to substitute for my neighborhood block party, since living on Telegraph, it’s not so easy to set up a block party.
This year, the fair has a similar structure to past year’s events, except for one awesome addition – the Oaklandish County Fair. But this isn’t your regular county fair. Instead of farm animals and pie eating contests, they’ll have pop-up soccer, bike dances, wrestling, a photo booth, and much more. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I first wrote about the Oaksterdam and Water Writes murals, so I thought it was time for some updates.
Though progress was slowed initially due to rain, the Oaksterdam mural was completed, I think at the end of March, and it looks awesome. I’m lucky enough to pass it every day on my way to and from work. Particularly when I walk south down Broadway, it changes the entire feel of the area and brightens my mornings, even on gloomy mornings like this one. Continue reading