Public Art Policy

Another Perspective on Oakland’s Public Art Ordinance

Recently, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) addressed Oakland’s controversial public art ordinance, analyzing the implications of a since-withdrawn staff report (a copy is here) outlining proposed changes, as well as some background on the history of the ordinance itself. While the staff report’s small changes to clarify language and buttress the ordinance against lawsuits seemed reasonable, the tacked-on proposal to incentivize the in-lieu contribution is both both problematic and unnecessary.  CRP has since gotten word that the item has been pulled,…

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Revis(it)ing Oakland’s Controversial Public Art Ordinance

Recently, Oakland city staff proposed revisions to the controversial Percent for Art ordinance , which will be discussed at a March 14th  Community & Economic Development subcommittee meeting, a preliminary step before a full City Council hearing. Most of the changes are minor, intended to clarify fuzzy language in the ordinance. But one proposed revision is not so innocuous: city staff has recommended incentivizing the “in-lieu” contribution to make that option more attractive to developers. The implications of this could be…

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The Saga of Cleveland’s Controversial “137” Mural

Public art exists in a space between censorship, gentrification, community engagement, and notions of aesthetic value. These are the takeaways from a recent mural painted in Cleveland by CRP Executive Director and founder Desi Mundo, which became a source of controversy as well as a catalyst for a lengthy community discussion around these topics. It all started when Mundo traveled to Cleveland to give a talk for Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC), a non-profit arts advocacy group. The…

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CRP, #SupportMalonga Coalition Announce Mediation Agreement With Bay Development

In Fall 2015, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) completed the Alice St. Mural, after two years of work. The mural reflected a new model for community engagement—dozens of interviews with cultural practitioners and neighborhood residents were completed—and represented a successful application of the city of Oakland’s underutilized anti-blight mural fund. Yet just a few months after a dynamic, rousing block party activated what had been a nondescript parking lot, word came that the lot was planned for development. The proposed…

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CRP and Local Residents Launch Petition and Fundraiser for Community Benefits from Alice Street Development

The Community Rejuvenation Project  — in solidarity with artists from the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, the Chinatown Coalition, local residents and businesses —  has launched a petition to Maria Poncel of Bay Development to demand community benefits from the development of the parking lot at 250 14th Street. In addition, the community has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds to appeal the Oakland Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the development. A protest will be held on…

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Developers: Public Art “Something That’s Not Really Needed”

Oakland’s cultural shift is real, it’s happening right now, and its impacts could be devastating from a long-term perspective – unless there is a strong, concerted effort from both the cultural community and the larger community to organize around anti-displacement and cultural resiliency efforts. That’s the short version; the longer version goes something like this: For the past decade or so, as Oakland has become more and more gentrified, the threat of displacement has loomed ever-present. The biggest impact of…

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Cultural Resilience, Community Engagement, and Addressing Displacement from an Equity Standpoint

In the wake of the recent completion of the mural dedicated to murdered painter Antonio Ramos and Soul of Oakland and OCNC rallies to defend Oakland’s culture, CRP painted the outside walls of community organization Qilombo as part of an anti-gentrification rally. Most of the massive wall, which features portraits of Assata Shakur,Thomas Sankara, and Amed Sekou Toure against a red black and green backdrop, was done in just one day. Qilombo is currently facing another eviction attempt, this time from…

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As Development Threatens Displacement, Oakland Artists Fight for Cultural Equity

As CRP previously reported, the September 3 kick-off of the public engagement phase of the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP), followed the same week by a SPUR report outlining “big ideas,” raised community concerns about displacement and exclusion. None of those ideas, it seemed, addressed displacement, affordability, or maintaining diversity, and arts and culture seemed an afterthought at best. A second meeting, held October 19, did little to dispel those concerns. The evening began with a speak-out to defend Oakland’s arts and…

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Big Ideas for Oakland’s Downtown Mostly Exclude Artists (Op/Ed)

Retaining the character, flavor and cultural identity of Oakland should be a Big Idea. But in an urban planning process which appears to be completely run by developers and consultants, apparently with the blessing of the pro-development administration of Mayor Libby Schaff, broadly diverse voices of the artistic and creative community may have been all but shut out of that process. As CRP previously noted, the development community has already taken aim at the arts, by filing a lawsuit this…

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Developers Vs. Art (Op/Ed)

  This past July, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area (BIA) – a developer’s club, whose members includes realtors, construction companies, mortgage lenders, and building manufacturers—joined forces with conservative legal activists Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) to challenge a recent Oakland public art ordinance. The PLF filed a lawsuit on the BIA’s behalf in federal courts, alleging Oakland committed a civil rights violation in enacting the ordinance, which expands current percent for art requirements to private (1%) and residential…

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