Arts in Oakland bring fresh life to a town

Posted on: May 3, 2010

In Sunday’s (5/2) New York Times, Chloe Veltman writes, “Just a few years ago, the Uptown Oakland [California] neighborhood was mostly a dead zone after business hours: an intimidating landscape of gaping doorways, barren sidewalks and abandoned storefronts. Then, in 2006, eight local gallery owners began Art Murmur, a monthly evening tour of their spaces, to showcase the work of clients and promote their businesses. Before long, the Friday tours were attracting so many people that the organizers decided to apply for permits to close off a stretch of 23rd Street so that visitors could wander freely without blocking traffic. … Art Murmur is just one sign of the recent emergence of Oakland’s cultural scene. In February 2009, the Fox Theater joined another grand old theater, the Paramount, in being restored to its former luster. The two auditoriums now attract audiences in the thousands to performances by local arts organizations like the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Oakland Ballet, as well as by well-known pop music acts like Mary J. Blige, Green Day and Jeff Beck. There are now 30 arts festivals that take place in Oakland, up from 2 in the mid-’80s, and about 50 art galleries where there were only a handful a decade ago.”

Posted May 3, 2010