Downtown Oakland Specific Plan

Reevaluating the State of the Arts in Oakland

Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Department (CAD) is severely underfunded and understaffed. According to a memo sent by CAD to the Funding Advisory Committee last November 26, current staffing levels are just one full-time employee and one temporary service contract employee. $1.2 million in grants were awarded in the last fiscal year, a number which has not seen a significant increase since before the recession. (By way of comparison, the San Francisco Art Commission handed out $1.6 million in grants in 2014-2015…

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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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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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