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Public Art Policy

Alice Street Symposium Brings Activists, Advocates, Policymakers Together

On Friday, April 7, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) presented the first in a series of planned symposia. Sponsored by the Akonadi Foundation and Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s office, the Alice Street Symposium built on an engaging event and panel discussion held during the Matatu Festival of Stories in 2016, Shifting the location to the auditorium at the Elihu Harris State Building lent the proceedings a more formal, official air, which underscored the political relevancy of the topics discussed. Assemblyman Bonta…

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UPDATED: Alice Street Symposium Addresses Gentrification, Displacement, and Cultural Resiliency

On April 7, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) will host the Alice Street Symposium on Community Engagement Strategies and Best Practices. The event includes a short address by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a screening of director Spencer Wilkinson’s “Alice Street Short” documentary film, presentations by CRP Executive Director Desi Mundo and Roy Chan of the Chinatown Oral History Project, and a panel moderated by CRP Communications and Policy Director Eric Arnold, featuring Danielle Beavers (Greenlining Institute), Ener Chiu (East Bay Asian…

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The Abatement Mural Mystery

Graffiti is a polarizing word. Rampant tagging in urban areas contributes to blight, which according to law enforcement experts, decreases property values, and invites further vandalism and illegal dumping. These urban hieroglyphs are frequently a hot-button issue for both the media and elected officials; their sensationalistic rhetoric has turned the abatement industry into a $20 billion behemoth. For that reason, many practitioners of the form prefer the term “aerosol artist” – noting that the punitive measures often prescribed tend to…

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Alice Street Symposium Addresses  Gentrification, Displacement, and Cultural Resiliency

On April 7, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP) will host the Alice Street Symposium on Community Engagement Strategies and Best Practices. The event includes a screening of director Spencer Wilkinson’s “Alice Street Short” documentary film, two presentations, and a moderated panel discussion followed by an audience Q&A. The event’s objective is to facilitate a dialogue between community leaders, arts practitioners, funders, and public officials focusing on community engagement strategies using arts to address issues of gentrification, displacement, and resiliency. As…

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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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