Gentrification

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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Mural Artists Remain Resolute In The Face of Tragedy

It’s the worst-case scenario for a mural artist: to be the victim of deadly violence while painting on public streets. But the muralists who witnessed the shooting death of Antonio Ramos say the tragic incident may have been shocking and horrific, but hasn’t deterred them from continuing to work on the third installment in the “Oakland Superheroes” series being painted under freeway overpasses in West Oakland. “Public art… is a powerful way to engage the public,” said Amana Harris, Executive Director…

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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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New CRP Mural: “Welcome to Afrikatown”

The Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) was blessed and fortunate to have been involved with the creation of a new  mural, “Welcome to Afrikatown,” painted in solidarity with community organizing space Qilombo, community advocacy group the Black Angels, non-profit organization Planting Justice, and educator Denae Martinez, who teaches at San Francisco State, Laney College, Merritt College and Fremont High School. The mural came about after CRP was suggested for the project by Planting Justice, a frequent collaborator. For CRP founder and…

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The Privatization of Public Art

Last November, then-Councilmember Libby Schaff proposed a new ordinance which required a percentage of new development–.5% for residential property, and 1% for private development—for “public art.” The ordinance further codified an existing public art program, which provides 1.5% of capital improvement projects to “commission and acquire public art.”  Yet while the existing public art fund is administered by the city’s Cultural Arts dept., the new ordinance “provides developers with the option of commissioning public art on the development site or…

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Alice Street Mural Phase I Completed; Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Announced

Community Rejuvenation Project artists Desi Mundo and Pancho Peskador have completed Phase I of the monumental Alice Street Mural Project, capping two weeks of intensive painting which often saw the artists pulling ten-hour days. The first wall, completed earlier in July, covered a large wall facing the Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts on Alice and 14th Sts., which was decorated with portraits of Malonga, dancer Carla Service, an Ohlone Indian chief and drummer, social justice activist Cephus “Uncle Bobby”…

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