downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

Art Murmur Encompasses Downtown

April 6, 2012

It’s First Friday of course, and the big news is that the Art Murmur is expanding to include all of downtown. But what does that mean?

The Art Murmur is an association of art galleries and arts-related businesses. The association sponsors First Friday, the monthly art and cultural fair which closes part of 23rd Street. The Art Murmur also sponsors a weekly Saturday Stroll of art galleries, and provides publicity and other support to its member galleries. Having arisen of necessity – to manage the 23rd Street closure permit – the association was somewhat fluid, sometimes incorporating gallery events as far North as Temescal. Now, perhaps in an acknowledgement that Uptown is only one part of Downtown, the Art Murmur has defined its geography to include the entire downtown area south of 27th.

So you can check out the new entrants to the Art Murmur, including Swarm (560 2nd st), Oaklandish (1444 Broadway), Pro Arts (150 Frank Ogawa Plaza), and Crown Nine (461A 9th St) tonight, though you won’t see a Broadway street closure. But this now downtown-wide art gallery association, which already enjoys a strong relationship with the downtown business improvement districts, provides an opportunity for more arts-oriented events and a stronger arts-based economy.

This Weekend’s Events

Two highlights of First Friday art galleries are: the closing of radical artist Favianna Rodriguez’s poster art show at Betti Ono (1804 Telegraph) with live art outside; and the final stop of a traveling quilt-based environmental art project at Hatch Gallery (492 23rd St).

For music tonight, the Uptown’s monthly First Friday free show features popular local indie bands Religious Girls, Mister Loveless and French Cassettes (1928 Telegraph); and Era Artbar celebrates its two-year anniversary with the Latin Soul Brothers spinning and live art upstairs (19 Grand Ave, no cover before 10pm). Saturday, Somar Bar hosts Chicago-based house DJ Tyrel Williams (1727 Telegraph).

In film, the Great Wall returns to the first block of West Grand (at Broadway) with a projected series of short films celebrating natural beauty and lamenting environmental destruction, tonight.

The Oakland International Film Festival comes to the Oakland Museum this weekend. The charming, downtown-based short film 10,000 Steps (which features a brief interview with yours truly) is part of the 7-10pm series. Go to the OIFF website for more information.

Lest we forget the culinary arts, the Chronicle’s Inside Scoop blog and the East Bay Express have more information about Duende, Paul Canales’s venture around the corner from Flora on 19th Street in Uptown. We can look forward to it this Fall!

Enjoy your DTO weekend! I’ll see you at the Art Murmur!