downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Posts from — November 2009

First Friday fills Midtown

November 6, 2009

It’s of course First Friday, and after a seasonal hiatus, The DTO is back to supply links to events during Oakland’s premiere social event. Despite the transition to Standard Time, artists, performers, collectors, and the curious will gather downtown to see, be seen, and maybe even buy a painting.

The OakBook’s monthly guide to the Oakland art scene often focuses on the works displayed at businesses more similar to San Francisco’s contemporary galleries, including Swarm, Johansson Projects, and Hatch Gallery. Rumor also has it that the former Esteban Sabar Gallery will soon be leased. The Trib offers a sampling of new galleries and old standbys in their writeup, including Creative Growth, and Terminal22, in Uptown’s Art Murmur area. The district’s namesake apartment complex will once again devote its empty retail storefront to a suprising chic collection of art, music and drink called RAW. But Telegraph Avenue isn’t the only street to see art.

In response to the successful promotion of the Art Murmur, concentrated around 23rd and Telegraph in Uptown, galleries and nightspots around City Hall have created their own map, calling their district Midtown. Highlights of Midtown include ProARTS, the Joyce Gordon Gallery, Awaken Cafe, and new lounge The Layover. With more places participating in First Friday, transportation is becoming an issue. Fortunately, the sometimes transit-conscious City government has reintroduced a free bus.

This is the second month the city (or is it the Community Benefit District?) will run a faux-trolley shuttle between artsy locations, including the Art Murmur hub at 23rd and Telegraph, Old Oakland’s drinks-and-dinner scene at 9th and Washington, and the “Midtown” galleries around 14th and Broadway. The First Friday shuttle is similar in concept to the planned regular shuttle connecting Uptown with Jack London Square, which will be discussed in detail in a post next week. With so many transportation options (though WOBO says there’s a bike parking shortage on Telegraph Ave), there’s no reason not to sample a new part of the ever-expanding arts-oriented areas around downtown this darkened evening.

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