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.
I’m doing a write-up for pinballnews.com and would like to use your photo of the Radio Pinball Union vs. Pinball Mafia poster. I can be contacted at jonnyo AT softhome DOT net
Great! I’ll contact you directly to see what size file you need… Thanks.
I LOVE what you are writing about on this blog, and cannot believe I did not find it earlier–you have such a great sensibility…hope to read much more.
Just discovered this website, and I really love it. It’s very cool to find a blog dedicated to Oakland’s art. I love this city! 🙂
What would be the best em address to send a press release on an oakland-based art business?
studiodeb ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot com’
Thank you for talking with me this weekend at the 5K. You put up a great video that we hope to share with our supporters!
Great blog! Keep up the good work!
Love your blog. I’m a Oaktown native and it’s great to read about all the great art in Oakland!
I love this blog!
Our self-started, Oakland-based design firm just launched! We truly enjoy being inspired by the art in our city, where we live, work, and enjoy life on a daily basis. Thanks for this great blog!
😀 it will make it even easier to stay connected to the art world here. BeOriginal!
I thought this event on Saturday (7/24/10) would fit right in on your blog – a self-guided tour of five private gardens (3 in Oakland), featuring the work of many local artists. See the website link for details – admissions support The Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit that helps to preserve and restore great American gardens.
Thanks for sending me this info. It IS the type of thing that would fit right in, and the type of thing I love (I did the Bay Friendly Garden Tour earlier this year which was great) but sadly I had to work all day on Saturday and couldn’t go. Sorry for not responding sooner. I hope you’ll send more info like this in the future… Thanks again!
Just stumbled across your site. Love it! I can’t believe I didn’t find you sooner. You have a great writing style. Thanks for doing all you can to promote Oakland’s Art Scene. Keep up the good work!
Great blog… I’m a Bay Area girl myself, who loves art! I love your photos and the idea! I’m going to start following you on Facebook. 🙂
we have a mutal friend named Daki/he turned me on 2 yu site/i am putting my art and comics on a site/any suggestions/i would like 2 do a comic everyday???/if u have any feed back let me know/thx jamz
hey jamz, i’d love to check out your art and give you some feedback but i need to know what your site is… send a link, k? cheers! d
Dear Ms. Sherman: I just learned of your Oaktown Art blog from the Friends of the Library October newsletter, Off the Shelf. What a treat for Oakland to have you as the observer and reporter of our life. I’m so glad you’re planning to add the outstanding Laurel Book Store to your list of significant neighborhood bookstores. Luan Stauss (yes, correct spelling) deserves special notice for what she has brought to the Laurel District neighborhood for the past ten years, offering enriching and exciting programs and reading and writing opportunities for every age level. Even though I’ve moved to a different part of Oakland, I always return to Laurel Book Store to buy books and cards.
Another Laurel District keystone is the MacArthur Metro, a neighborhood newspaper of over twenty years standing. Admittedly, I’ve been one of the copyeditors of the Metro for most of its existence, but even so, I can stand back and without bias attest to its excellence as a reliable reflection of the audience it speaks to.
Many thanks for your attention to the depth and breadth of Oakland’s culture. Anne Fox
I like what you’re doing. When you get a chance, please check out the Oakland Art Census at the SOA website. More features to come, including a mapping function of other art and cultural activities.
what a wonderful bad ass webpage you have going on here. and I’d admit I’ve been strolling your posts for about an hour now. very very very interesting stuff. and as a person who has to walk through oakland to get to work every day, I very do much enjoy the fact that you also see what there is to appreciate in this city. thank you for keeping this blog alive and well.
Hey, love the blog, follow it and always enjoy.
Do you follow the work of JR, the artist? Here’s his site: http://jr-art.net/
He won the TED prize this year and his project that’s coming out of it (http://www.insideoutproject.net/) is for people to send him digital images of something/someone that is important to them/their community and he will send you large b&w posters of that image to be pasted up in your community. A project that totally resonates with your posts about wheatpastes.
Here’s his speech from TED 2011 that gives you an overview of his projects and process: http://www.ted.com/talks/jr_s_ted_prize_wish_use_art_to_turn_the_world_inside_out.html
I was thinking you might share with your readers to encourage MORE PASTES in oakland!!!!!!!
Thanks for the shout out! I just learned of JR (and his Ted prize) recently in this New York Times Magazine article (Supercolossal Street Art by Gaby Wood), although the article didn’t mention the specifics of his new project. Very cool.
I’ll put something up about it on my next round of street art. In the meantime, here’s the excellent slideshow that accompanied the article (All the World’s a Canvas). Cheers!
Great site! I lived in Berkeley/Oakland for 9 years and miss it. Thanks for bringing a voice for the Oakland art community to the blogosphere!
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Lovely blog and amazing photos!
Hi neighbor! Hey great blog! I really enjoy your posts and look forward to many more!