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 Local Development Corporation), Margaretta Lin (Dellums Institute for Social Justice), and Ayodele Nzinga (Lower Bottom Playaz/ Black Arts Movement Business District), followed by an audience Q & A.
This symposium will engage and inform at-risk populations, culture keepers, arts advocacy organizations, and policymakers by identifying and sharing cultural resiliency best practices as part of anti-displacement efforts which seek to mitigate the negative impacts of gentrification.
As Oakland’s gentrification epidemic continues, cultural arts practitioners and low- and middle-income residents now find themselves threatened with displacement — which creates an opportunity for common ground with historically-underserved communities of color. “Alice Street” spotlights these issues through a unique perspective – the painting of a massive mural which becomes a connecting bridge between two neighboring yet seemingly-disparate communities, as well as a symbol of the gentrification threatening communities or color and artists, and the struggle for equitable development.
The presentations by Mundo and Chan will share stories of cultural resiliency and the evolution of community engagement models. Chan will focus on Tai Chi practitioners in Madison Square Park who have faced constant threats of displacement and Oakland Chinatown’s long history of resiliency against land grabs by the city of Oakland, developers, and BART. “With Oakland’s recent push for new development such as the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan, this story highlights ever more the importance of sustaining cultural identity in long-standing ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown,” Chan said.
Mundo will relate the evolution of CRP’s community engagement model and the development of its “pavement to policy” approach to public art policy over the past decade, as well as how cultural arts practitioners can play important roles in community-based advocacy efforts around equitable development and calls for increased investment in the cultural arts as an economic development strategy. “Artists have been forced to speak up for themselves and navigate the complex processes to stay afloat, as rental costs increase exponentially,” Mundo said. “The arts are critical tools in the fight against gentrification and the retention of cultural identity. At the core of that is community engagement.”
The symposium will take place on Friday April 7, 2017 from 12 PM – 3 PM at the Elihu Harris Memorial Auditorium at the State Building, 1515 Clay St. , Oakland CA 94612, and is free to the public. This event is sponsored by the Akonadi Foundation and Assemblyman Bonta’s office. RSVP to the event here.