Tag Archives: oakland school for the arts

OSA Visual Arts Spring Exhibition

Last Friday was another First Friday here in Oaktown with Art Murmur in full spring swing. It’s become a real challenge these days to figure out what stops to make because the options are really expanding… lots of new galleries and funky mixed-use warehouse spaces filling in the gaps.

Next few posts will follow our Art Murmur escapades. First stop was the Oakland School for the Arts Spring Exhibition. I was eager to take friends after attending their stellar Holiday Small Works Show in December

OSA is housed in the ground floor commercial spaces of the Fox Theater, once occupied by malt shops and the like.  Now 40,000 square feet of renovated and expanded commercial space comprise classrooms, administrative offices, and student services, as well as music, dance, drama, and art studios.

What I loved about their holiday show, equally evident at the Spring Exhibition, is the incredible art available for truly affordable prices.  Because these kids are, well… kids, the prices are quite a bit more budget minded than those found at many of the professional gallery spaces on the Art Murmur tour.  Not that you shouldn’t support your local professional artists.  It’s just that these shows offer the opportunity to support budding young artists without putting a serious dent in your wallet.

oakland school for the arts, OSA, spring exhibition

osa, oakland school for the arts

The show included all kinds of drawn, printed, and painted pieces, both framed and sleeved in bins, and other media including sculpture, jewelry, and an amazing film screening of works from OSA’s Digital Media emphasisFriends and I stood mesmerized by the arty black and white silent film projected on the walla woman’s legs clad in black spiky pumps approach the camera, hands in silhouette flutter like birds into frame, peacock feathers dance and weave in front of a beautiful woman’s eyes… Hard to believe this piece was put together by high school students, but it’s simply a testament to the quality of work this school and its talented students are producing.

Also impressive was the live musical performance by OSA Instrumentalists.  My favorite was their final piece of the night, a composition by Bach, but here is a snippet of a more recognizable song, and a real crowd-pleaser…

Oakland School for the Arts – Art Murmur (Act I)

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…

East Bay Express:  America’s Next Great Dining Town

Wall Street Journal:  Oakland’s Temescal Goes From Rundown to Reborn

NYTimes:  36 Hours in Oakland

Diablo Magazine:  One Fine Night: Oakland’s Uptown

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.

OSA, oakland school for the arts, oakland holiday sale, osa holiday sale

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!

oakland school for the arts, small works show and sale, OSA small works sale

oakland holiday art sale, oakland school for the arts

OSA Small works sale, OSA gallery, oakland school for the arts

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.