So last Friday was another First Friday here in Oaktown, and this time I did it a little bit differently. My plan was to focus on galleries and spaces that were specifically set up with holiday sales…
My friend and I were on our way to grab a bite and a drink at Flora, probably my favorite restaurant in Oakland. At this point in time, that’s a pretty high compliment given the slew of fantastic restaurants that are springing up seemingly weekly. Oakland’s dining scene has been getting a lot of press and it’s very exciting. Here are a few samples…
I’ve written about Flora before, and I’ll do an even more in-depth story in the future… I have plans for a whole Art Deco series thanks to a suggestion from my friend Jessica. But in the meantime, all you need to know, is they make fantastic cocktails and out of this world food. You’ll likely have to book early to get a reservation on a First Friday, but I’ve had good luck dropping in early and just grabbing a seat at the bar. A fancy libation and small plate delight and you are on your way to murmuring right!
We made our way down the block to a space we had passed earlier while parking… it wasn’t a gallery I was familiar with, and it wasn’t a spot on my list of to-see’s for the night, but hey, when you’re murmuring, you gotta kinda roll with it. And this was clearly a scene worthy of an adjustment to our plans. There was a crowd of people outside and an even larger crowd inside, snaking their way through a labyrinth of gallery walls chock full of art, accompanied by live music, spoken word, and improv rap. This was a cool scene, and it was mostly kids… real kids. We had serendipitously stumbled upon the holiday sale of the Oakland School for Visual Arts.
The Oakland School for Visual Arts (OSA) moved to the Fox Theater‘s building (also to be covered during Art Deco Days!) in January of this year. The brain-child of former Mayor Jerry Brown (Wikipedia), OSA is school is a public charter middle & high school with a mission “to provide students with intensive conservatory-style training in the arts while maintaining a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum.” They offer seven core artistic programs: Arts Management, Dance, Instrumental Music, Literary Arts, Theater, Visual Arts, and Vocal Music. Students wishing to attend have to audition to show they’ve got the artistic muster to make it… think Fame!
They currently maintain an attendance rate of 94%, one of the highest in Oakland. And their first senior graduating class (2006), graduated with 100 percent of the class accepted to four-year colleges (Wikipedia). That’s pretty impressive.
In fact, the whole scene was quite impressive. The huge turnout… the talented musicians… the amazing works of art (at bargain basement prices too!) I, for one, emptied my wallet in support of this school and its young artists. My only complaint would be that the lines for buying the art were too long, and that’s not a bad problem to have. Yay for OSA!
Check back tomorrow for the futherings of our murmurings… And if you missed the holiday sales this past weekend, check back later in the week for my best effort at a comprehensive list of arty/crafty holiday fairs and events next weekend.