FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Moss Kardener, Vice President
Phone: (510) 499-9697
Email: moss@oaklandartmurmur.org

A NEW BEAT AT THE HEART OF OAKLAND’S ART MURMUR®
Renewed Focus on Public Participation in Visual Art Experiences throughout the City

Oakland, California, July 27, 2018 – Nearly eight years after becoming a nonprofit, Oakland Art Murmur’s board of directors announces its new direction. The impetus came after a changeover in leadership, which began in late-2016 and took place over the past year and a half. The newly constituted board of directors worked to challenge prior thinking and retool the organization—their changes are reflected in a new charter and brand positioning that emphasize the public’s experiences with art.

OAM’s newly appointed president, Jean Durant, states, “We are the only local resource with the main focus of connecting the public to Oakland’s visual arts programs and events. These range from murals in Downtown and Chinatown, and public art installations that can be viewed 24/7… to event-driven artworks at project spaces across Oakland neighborhoods, and of course artist exhibitions at more than 40 affiliated galleries and venues throughout the city.”

Howard Flax, owner of Flax art & design, serves as Treasurer. A 30-year veteran of the art scene in San Francisco, and more recently Oakland, Howard explains why it’s so important art be part of everyone’s lives, “Art can be transformative—bringing people with diverse backgrounds and opinions together to share their views; sometimes allowing us to learn more about ourselves and others; and often lifting our spirits.”

“It was an evolution,” says Moss Kardener, OAM’s vice president, who played an active role in shaping the new direction the organization is taking. “The new board needed to quickly come up to speed, and as we went through a review of how Art Murmur evolved over its first 10 years, we recognized there was a common misperception: that we served as a de facto gallery association catering to a very narrow audience in Uptown Oakland. Nothing could be further from the truth! We promote art all over town—from the Jingletown and Fruitvale districts, to North Oakland—for the benefit of the public, not as an agent of gallery owners. Moving forward, our focus is on engaging Oakland and Greater Bay Area residents, as well as visitors, to participate in the many varied visual arts experiences, events, and opportunities throughout our amazing and culturally rich city.”

Tierney Sneeringer is the newest addition to OAM’s board; she serves as its secretary. Tierney clarifies that this new direction is really more of a twist on where OAM was than an about-face. “OAM has always encouraged people to check out the arts in Oakland. From the First Friday Art Walk to our guided Gallery District Walking Tours, OAM provides the public with fun and authentic ways to engage with Oakland’s creative community.” She points to the Visual Arts Venue Guide which OAM furnishes to galleries, and some cafes and theaters (available online), “Our gallery map is really helpful when planning your visit—it shows that you can find art across the city and represents the breadth of art spaces in Oakland.”

Oakland’s art scene is unique. Several years ago, it was deemed one of “America’s top 12 art places.” However, in some ways, it faces a similar set of challenges as many arts communities across the country. Jean Durant explains, “Like so many cities, Oakland finds itself in the midst of enormous change. It’s important to recognize the role visual art has played in attracting both commercial and residential development to Oakland from across the Bay, and from outside our area. People want to live and work in a creative environment, and we need to ensure there’s a way to preserve places for artists, and the sites that present their work, to sustain themselves, so the soul of our city isn’t in jeopardy.” To that end, OAM has identified a number of new initiatives it is pursuing in the year ahead, to further the understanding and appreciation of the individuals comprising Oakland’s rich visual arts community, and the work they produce.
Oakland Art MurmurSM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that aims to be a resource concerning Oakland’s visual arts for the public, and the broader arts community. OAM relies on private contributions through individual membership, donation and corporate sponsorship. For more information, visit OaklandArtMurmur.org.

Media Contact:      moss@oaklandartmurmur.org, or call (510) 499-9697

Images:
Photo: Oakland Art Murmur
Gallery: Joyce Gordon Gallery
(Caption: Third Saturday Walking Tour)