Let’s see… What can I tell you?
I had a stroke of inspiration. I decided since I wasn’t busy raising children, getting my PhD in anything, or saving the world through development of an iPhone app that sequesters carbon, I might dedicate myself to the promotion of ART. Art in Oakland that is.
A friend told me that Oakland has the highest number of working artists per capita of any major city in the United States. I’m not sure where he got his stats, but it sounds about right to me. Wikipedia says we’re second only to Brooklyn. And that’s not too shabby.
I live in Oakland. I love Oakland.
I first moved to the Bay Area in my early 20’s, landing in Berkeley where many of my college chums had landed. After a few years there, when our house was sold out from under us, a friend and I made the move to Oaktown. Now mind you, this was before Jerry Brown, when folks said there was a good side of the lake and a bad side of the lake. (Incidentally, they’re both good now.)
We moved to Oakland because it was cheaper, closer to San Francisco (where I was working at the time), and frankly, cooler than Berkeley. We moved into the Temescal neighborhood, a decade before Temescal was dubbed the new gourmet ghetto. Back then there was no gourmet… you had to go to Rockridge for that, and pay a pretty penny while you were at it.
But Temescal was a wonderful place to live, and my earliest connections with the neighborhood were the CCAC (now CCA) art school on Broadway, and the Studio One Art Center on 45th, just a few blocks from our house. My housemate Susie and I took numerous classes at Studio One, walking over on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to get our creative juices flowing.
In the late 90’s when the dot-com boom was happening and landlords in San Francisco were cashing in on the venture capital money and dumping their artist and musician tenants, others flowed to Oakland too. Braving the bridge for sunny skies and cheaper rents. And yes, it is cheaper, and quite a bit warmer too!
This city is full of artists doing amazing things. And what’s fantastic, is how much of it can been seen without spending a dime. You simply have to look around.
My initial concept was to post a photo of some piece of public art, each day, every day.
After only one week it became clear that that was a very ambitious schedule. So I modified it, opting for weekends off, and sometimes more days than that. And after my one year anniversary (September 2010), I decided to pat myself on the back (223 posts!), and cut myself even more slack. Now the posts come whenever they come…
I hope you enjoy.