downtown Oakland

The Commodification of Public Art (Op/Ed)

Recently, Pacific Standard magazine  wrote an article about public art in Oakland. Specifically, the story addressed mural brokers, middlemen who connect fat cat developers with artistic talent – for a fee.  Mural brokers, the article explains, handle logistics such as price negotiations, choosing artists, prepping walls for painting, and handling insurance coverage – “everything necessary to make the mural happen except paint it.” The article correctly points out the cultural cachet of murals, and their historical connection to illegal street art,…

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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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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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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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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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Alice St Mural Project Phase II Underway

Following an eight-month delay, Oakland-based muralist organization the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) has begun work on Phase II of the Alice St. Mural Project.  On April 3rd 2015, a contract was finally signed with property owner Mark Borsuk, allowing the project to proceed as planned. Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney’s office, who assisted with contract negotiations, was invaluable during this protracted process.  “We couldn’t have moved forward without [D3 staff],” Executive Director Desi Mundo said. Though the delay altered the project’s original…

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