In collaboration with the Kala Art Institute, artist Sue Mark of marksearch is developing a permanent neighborhood memory bank at the Golden Gate Branch Library on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland. The project invites neighbors’ participation in an array of events, kicked-off by a block party at the Golden Gate Library on May 27, 1-4 pm, that is designed to celebrate the community, introduce local residents and workers to one another, and share ways to get involved in the Commons Archive. A delicious free BBQ will be provided by grill-master Mark Lasartemay, grandson of the pioneers of the East Bay Negro Historical Society. Also featured will be hands-on demonstrations by Kala printmakers, games for children, musical performances, and neighborhood information.
For community members who want to be part of the Commons Archive, marksearch is offering research sessions where they will scan old photographs and scrapbooks and record stories so that they are preserved and shared with the community. Those who are interested may sign up at the library for 30-minute sessions on the following days and dates: Thursday, June 1 (noon-2 pm); Saturday, June 3 (10 am-noon); Tuesday, June 6 (6-8 pm); Thursday, June 8 (noon-2 pm); or Tuesday, June 13 (6-8 pm).
On June 10, from 10 am-12:30 pm, the project will host a neighborhood walk led by members of the community about the role of religious centers in the area. The walk starts at St. Columba Church (San Pablo and Alcatraz) and ends at the Golden Gate Library.
For teens and adults who would like to try their hand at block prints (no experience necessary), Kala Art Institute printer Mary Marsh is offering a free workshop on Saturday, June 17, 3-4:30 pm. Please reserve a spot for the workshop by calling 510-597-5023 as the workshop is limited to 12 people.
Commons Archive is part of Kala Art Institute’s Print Public residency program. More Commons Archive events to accumulate and shape the collection will take place in the months ahead.
On May 27-29, Tessa Wills, who has been collaborating with Krista DeNio, Jaime Cortez, ABD Productions/Skywatchers, and local youth artists, will premiere Tender Nights: Multimedia Performance Walks Through the Tenderloin in partnership with the THIS IS WHAT I WANT festival. Working from youth stories, the artists will take participants by the hand and walk them out into the evening to engage with themes of gentrification, tender desire, psychogeography, private space, public space, the internal lives of young people, and queer sexuality.
In addition to contributions of artistic director Tessa Wills and lead artists Krista DeNio and Jaime Cortez, the project has been developed with sound artist Zachary Watkins, mapmaker Taraneh Hemami, and performing artists Jose Abad, Sammay Dizon, Randy Reyes, Jaq Nguyen Victor, Tavi, and Angeline. The project manager is Lucy Tafler, and partnering organizations are ABD Productions, CounterPulse, and Larkin Street Youth Services.
Each night, two concurrent walks will depart from CounterPulse at 7:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, and walks will be accessible for people in wheelchairs.
Tickets may be purchased directly from CounterPulse. While no one will be turned away for lack of funds, due to very limited tickets reservations are highly recommended.