Looking for something fun and interesting to do tonight? If you haven't already experienced it, you should check out Oakland's Art Murmur / First Friday event. While these are 2 separate events, they take place every First Friday of the month from 6-9pm. Art Murmur hosts an evening art walk featuring arts and mixed-use venues collectively open to the public. Plan your visit to some of the 50+ venues using their Google map, which you can save to your phone. Wander from gallery to gallery, taking in the latest exhibitions and meeting artists. And if you can't make it out tonight or don't like the crowds, a nice alternative to First Friday is Saturday Stroll, where all the same galleries are open from 1-5p and is a lovely way to spend a Saturday!
Oakland has a wealth of galleries and art spaces, but here are my top 5 to visit:
1. SLATE Contemporary. Run by Danielle Fox (who was instrumental in the creation of Art Murmur) and Shelley Barry, SLATE is a gorgeous gallery space with a great variety of contemporary artists from around the Bay and beyond. Go see their current exhibition, Blurring the Lines, featuring art by Phillip Griswold and Michael Azgour. Stunning! 475 25th St.
2. Vessel Gallery. Located next door to SLATE, Vessel is a unique and historic space, one of Oakland’s very few standing turn-of-the-century horse stables that has been converted to a fabulous gallery and event rental space, complete with outdoor deck. The exhibitions are often edgy and thought-provoking, and the location is ideal!
3. Chandra Cerrito Contemporary. Housed in a cool brick building on 23rd Street, Chandra Cerrito is always avant-garde and a visual feast. And tonight is the opening reception for two exhibits: Sheila Ghidini's In-Between Space and Sabine Reckewell's Composites. A must see arts destination!
4. Classic Cars West. Rare is the art gallery that showcases not only local artists but beautifully maintained/restored vintage cars AND a super-cool outdoor beer garden. This is the place for everyone in your group: the art lover, the car enthusiast, and anyone who appreciates locally crafted beer. Cheers!
5. Roscoe Ceramic Gallery. Down the hallway from SLATE, Roscoe is a total delight. Owner and artist Derik Van Beers has the tidiest, most beautifully laid out artistic space and gallery, filled with incredibly whimsical, often politically satirical sculptures that incorporate fun, everyday objects in the most clever ways. Don't miss this little gem of a gallery!
Once you've had your fill of artwork for the evening, or in between gallery stops, wander out to Telegraph Ave, between 27th and 23rd Streets to find an amazing assortment of street vendors and performers, selling everything from just about every type of cuisine you can imagine, to unusual arts and crafts including "Mellifluous Slimes." The vibe on the street is fun, upbeat, lively, and communal. For those new to the whole Art Murmur/First Friday scene, I would recommend getting there as early as possible, when the crowds are more manageable and a little quieter, and the parking is easier. Come see what Oakland is all about: art, creativity, food, music, performance spaces, and an incredibly diverse, vibrant community of people!