Gala Opening Reception:
Friday, October 6, 6-9 p.m.
Celebrate art in Emeryville. Meet the artists and get a sneak-peek of the art work of 96 artists who live or work in Emeryville. Live music is provided by The doRiaN Mode: Vintage Jazz & Blues. A no-host bar will raise funds for the Emeryville Youth Art Program, which brings professional artists into Emeryville public schools.
Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition Poetry Reading
with Sarah Kobrinsky and Friends:
Sunday, October 15, 2-4 p.m.
Join Sarah Kobrinsky, the former Poet Laureate of Emeryville, and other poets at the 31st Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition for a poetry reading amidst the artwork of 96 artists and craftspeople who live or work in Emeryville. The poets include Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Natasha Dennerstein, and the Poet Laureate of Sacramento, Indigo Moore.
Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition Multi-Media Performance
Chit Chat Project: An Artist's Quest with Shadi Shamsavari:
Sunday, October 22, 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Join songwriter and music-video producer Shadi Shamsavari for special multi-media performance at the 31st Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition amidst the artwork of 96 artists and craftspeople. The Chit Chat Project is a work-in-progress about Shamsavari’s musical journey and self-discovery as an artist. This first stage performance will blend live storytelling, original songs, acting, dance, pre-recorded music, and poetry.
“I had no idea!” How often have I heard this exclamation during the six years of my tenure as curator for the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts? This was my initial reaction on my first tour of this wonderful east bay enclave and I hear it again each year from juror—arts professionals from the great bay area—as they discover Emeryville and its enormous cache of creative talent.
Although I grew up in San Francisco and went to school in Berkeley, I ignored Emeryville’s existence. One of the Bay Area’s best kept secrets, the town has a written history dating from 1776—but who knew? Before the arrival of the Spaniards in that year, it was a peaceful Ohlone village on the edge of San Francisco Bay tidal flats then rich in clams, mussels and oysters. Many transformations followed the invasion including a wild depression era town known for its brothels, speakeasies and race tracks, followed by a war time boom town that left many huge industrial complexes in its wake.
Some of those structures have vanished, replaced with modern housing and corporate headquarters. Those that remain are rapidly being transformed. Thanks to the cooperation of developers and owners, for thirty-one years the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts has been able to find a home in one of these locations.
As urban renewal proceeds, the opportunities for temporary spaces are vanishing. The need for a permanent home not only for the Celebration but one that would serve the entire community year round for exhibitions, art classes and related events has been clear for many years.
The dream seemed close to becoming reality almost twelve years ago when the city of Emeryville purchased the United Stamping building from Dan Carlevaro. A project began to move forward with engineering plans, architectural designs and use permits. On February 1, 2012, the State of California’s dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies ended access to funding that would have made the project possible. The building still exists. It sits on Hollis Street empty and in dire need of repair. Currently, there is hope for renewed interest from the private (and public?) sector. Advocates are again talking about the possibility of a real, permanent art center for Emeryville.
In the mean time, the yearly search goes on followed by a huge community effort to transform unlikely spaces into galleries worthy of the work of Emeryville artists. This almost magical feat is possible only through the efforts of the steering committee, artists and other community volunteers.
Thirty-one years is a very long life for a small arts organization. Our existence and continued growth is due to the perseverance of administrator Sharon Wilchar and the many community sponsors and volunteers who have stood by her.
Thanks are also due to our jurors for 2017—Shelley Barry and Danielle Fox of SLATE Art, Oakland and Elizabeth Shypertt founder of Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco—for their patience and careful attention over three long days of studio visits. They also had no idea.
The golden anniversary of the Summer of Love has come and gone but this summer brought Emeryville a recognition that will continue on for years. We are one of fourteen cities in California selected for the designation “Cultural District” by the California Arts Council. Rotten City Emeryville Cultural Arts District celebrates our vibrant creative community of makers. For over three decades, Emeryville Celebration of the Arts has been an anchor in developing an active, engaged arts community and is honored to be the City of Emeryville’s non-profit partner for their Cultural Arts District program.
Q: Ninety-eight artists, one hundred twenty-five volunteers, what brings it all together?
A: Our dedicated Board of Directors and our Operating Committee, behind the scenes year-round and in high gear August through October.
Volunteers, we run on volunteers and Board members Linda Boyd, Frances Gaston and Pam Mendelsohn keep this crucial element running smoothly and on schedule. Linda also handles so many things behind the scenes not the least of which is our website. Our opening night reception is our city’s cultural and community event of the year with members Shane Clabaugh, John Bauters and Albert Repola at the helm. We do like to party! Kelly Grace makes sure our posters and rack cards are seen in all the right places. Gwen Souza steps in wherever needed and this year we welcome two new members Camille Hamilton and Shadi Shamsavari who have already brought energy, skills and fresh ideas to our event and its planning.
Retiring this year after 18 years on our Board, much of that time as Board President, is Jean Goldman who shared her organizational skills, marketing savvy and energy with us, helping our event grow. Thank you, Jean. We wish you only the best with your new business venture that is already thriving and we will carry forward all the systems you put in place for us.
A: and a small, but highly effective, group of professionals.
It’s not fair! No, it simply isn’t fair to hold so much of their work hostage until we land on an exhibition site. Our publicist Genevieve Antaky waits patiently for that address and does a masterful job of getting our story out to the Bay Area before and after. Graphic designer Amy Nathan, I simply cannot say enough about my respect for and admiration of her design sensibilities. It’s not about typeface and white space with Amy, though her technical skills are tops, it’s really her own interpretation, through design, in capturing our spirit. But without an address, nothing can go to print. Curator Kathleen Hanna faces a similar dilemma … how to design an exhibition for an unknown floor plan? She is a master though with decades of experience, a love for this event and its artists, and a reverence for the artwork. I want to keep all of these great people on board for us but the site issue has to be resolved. I simply respect them all too much and deservedly so.
This year in particular, I would like to thank several who were generous with their time and experience as we searched for an exhibition site: Andy Getz, Tom Gibson III, Preston Thomas, Nathaniel Centeno, Vice-mayor John Bauters, Ken Schmier, Elmo Frazer, Adam Ruch and Bill Banker. The list was long. Down to the wire, enormous gratitude to our Board member Kava Massih, Will Miller with Ellis Partners and Rebecca Foust of CBRE. EmeryTech and Clarion Partners have provided us with an exceptionally beautiful space to showcase our creative community. Thank you Will and Rebecca for moving this forward and putting your trust in us.
Thank you to our City Council members for their continued support, City Manager Carolyn Lehr, Economic Development Manager Chad Smalley, Emi Thériault, Amber Evans, Navarre Oaks, and Kivu Jamal Hudson and all of his Public Works crew.
I recently came across a quote from a favorite artist of mine, James Turrell, and I’d like to send it down the field to you—“Art is a completed pass. You don’t just throw it out into the world—someone has to catch it.” Our exhibition is waiting for you, score the touchdown! We want you on our team.