This post is a reblog from Larissa Louise at The Clocktower Studio/Gallery at Oakland, California’s historic Cotton Mill Studios. Larissa was the Artist-in-Residence for Art Break Day 2013 at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in beautiful downtown Oakland. I was honored to be the photographer for this event. Enjoy!
On September 6, 2013, people at 19 sites across the world were invited to take an Art Break. Art Break 2013 was the 3rd annual event organized by Art Is Moving. Artists were chosen in each participating city by application and jury process. AIM supplied each facilitating local artist or, in some cases team of artists, with supplies including: paper, paint, crayons, markers, pencils and pastels. Artists and partnering entities provided tables, chairs, signs, direction and lots of HEART. Passers by were invited to stop and take and Art Break.
Oakland was fortunate enough to have two Art Break sites. I was fortunate enough to be a facilitating artist at the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza site. Fellow Oakland artist, Rtystk and Pro Arts were partners on the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza team.
When I arrived at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza at 8AM the square already had many people milling about. Some were talking on benches. There were students, people on their way to work, people on their way to job interviews, and those just enjoying a morning stroll. Oakland was stretching it’s arms, drinking it’s coffee and greeting it’s day. As I set up the tables, chairs and supplies a few curious folks stopped to inquire what I was up to. It was interesting to hear people laugh uncomfortably. With skeptical eyes fixed on me, almost everyone asked who I was with and why I was doing this. When I told them it was FREE they seemed really confused. For me making Art is as natural an activity as breathing. I sometimes forget that it’s not the same for everyone…BUT I certainly think it should be. Engaging the creative part of the self has benefits and effect beyond the production of the end product. Art is as much in the process as it is in the product. When creativity is engaged through the vehicle of Art self discovery, connection, and community happens. It was beautiful to watch this happen for every single person regardless where they were coming from or going to.
Don’t let the main stream media fool you. Oakland is a diverse and thriving metropolis full of interesting people doing interesting things. Oakland is far more than the reports of guns. It is a City bubbling with Art, culture and GROWTH! Every participant I spoke with was excited to take an Art Break.
This father and son enjoyed some quality family time while taking their Art Break.
Young women from a near by Arts High School painted, laughed and made new friends.
This guy took an Art Break from his skate board.
These folks kept saying how much they LOVE ART and even braved grass allergies to sit and paint for a while.
These women came out especially for the day’s festivities!
The day was full of sunshine, Oaklanders and ART. I was left with a deep gratitude for my City and my own Art. Making Art with so many people reminded me of how important Art is to a healthy community. The responsibility of artists is great. I am honored to serve.
Art work created at Art Break Day 2013 will be on display at The Clock Tower Studio/Gallery in December and January for Kids From 1 to 92: through the child’s eye. Thank you to Valerie Gurley for taking such wonderful pictures of the day’s event. Thank you to Art Is Moving for making it all possible.