Four East Bay Cities Team Up In Nationally Unprecedented Arts Collaboration

Mayors of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond Jointly Launch East Bay Culture Corridor and 510Arts.com Website October 2

Public/Private/Community Partnership Shines Spotlight on Diversity, Quality, Volume and Accessibility of Arts in the East Bay as one of America's Highest Per Capita Arts Regions

Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond, CA, September 10, 2009-Recognizing that the arts are a significant, affirming and transformational force in civic life, regional economies and education, the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond have come together in a nationally unprecedented partnership to promote their arts in a new East Bay Culture Corridor (EBCC). The EBCC will be formally launched October 2 with public events that run through the month in celebration of the collaboration and a news conference at which the Mayors of the participating cities will inaugurate a new 510Arts.com website.

The EBCC launch is scheduled to coincide with the October 2 California Arts Day and National Arts & Humanities Month. In addition to the participating cities, the EBCC is supported by grants from the East Bay Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and Leveraging Investments in Creativity. (Editor note: a list of public launch events may be found at the end of this release).

The four-city collaboration is believed to be the first of its kind in the US and is designed to serve as a model of forward-thinking, economically and socially viable partnerships that put the arts forward as a proven catalyst for economic development, quality of life and community sustainability. The EBCC will foster relationships between the diverse arts communities of each city, leverage new audiences and resources for the arts, increase the visibility, accessibility and sustainability of arts communities, leverage new resources for each partner city and benefit local businesses through partnerships with the arts.

Together, the East Bay communities boast:

  • One of the highest per capita artist populations in the country.
  • More than 150 languages spoken and many times that number of culturally specific art forms practiced.
  • One of the nation's largest per capita collections of public art.
  • For decades East Bay communities have consistently ranked at the top of national city diversity figures and their arts reflect this depth and variety.
  • Hundreds of non-profit visual arts, music, dance, theater, multi-disciplinary and innovative organizations from the internationally known to neighborhood programs, education programs and offerings for youth, seniors and others, as well.
  • More than 1,000 professional artists call the East Bay home.

Four Mayors See Arts Partnership as Good Business

"The East Bay is a region of widely diverse cultural backgrounds," state Tom Bates, Mayor of Berkeley; Richard Kassis, Mayor of Emeryville; Ron Dellums, Mayor of Oakland; and Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond. "Our arts and culture reflect the region's demographics, boasting individual artists, arts groups and organizations working in a range of disciplines from a variety of cultural perspectives. From individual artists working and teaching in communities to nationally recognized theatres and museums, the East Bay provides arts experiences that make the area a regional cultural treasure. Our arts presence has contributed to urban development, has a positive impact on local businesses, and has the potential for creating more viable and sustainable communities.

"The arts drive economies. As Americans for the Arts note in their report Arts and Economic Prosperity III, investment in the arts translates to economic impact on restaurants, retail stores, hotels and other businesses frequented by arts patrons. The average amount spent on such businesses by local arts audiences is $27 above the price of admission to the art event; cultural tourists from outside the area spend an average of $19 to $40. Creating sustainable arts communities is good business.

"In recognition of this, we have come together to state our strong commitment to strengthening the regional economy through creating the East Bay Cultural Corridor (EBCC). The intention of the EBCC is to heighten awareness of our cultural landscape, deepen the impact of the arts on their cities, and further the sustainability of artists and arts organizations through arts marketing, economic development and cultural tourism."

Collaboration Leverages Maximum Impact

Nicole Taylor, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, said, "We at the East Bay Community Foundation believe collaborations and partnerships are not merely desirable, but are necessary in a world where limited resources must be leveraged for maximum impact. Through this collaboration we intend to throw a spotlight on the amazing richness of arts resources in these four East Bay cities and how fortunate we are that they come together here."

Sandra R. Hernandez, M.D., CEO of The San Francisco Foundation commented, "The San Francisco Foundation is honored to join forces with the East Bay Community Foundation, our sister funders, and the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, and Richmond, to lift up the importance of arts and culture in the Bay Area. We look forward to the diverse fruits of this creative partnership."

Launch of 510Arts.com Web Portal

The four mayors of the participating cities will come together at a news conference on Friday, October 2, to officially launch 510Arts.com, a new portal website designed to provide centralized access to information and resources about the arts in the East Bay to the public and artists. The mayors will jointly "flip the switch" to activate the web portal for public access. Offering "the 4-1-1 on world arts and culture in the 5-1-0," the site will feature information about each city's unique arts profile, details of community-wide arts events, links to each city's arts and culture departments and more that will brand the East Bay to a broad public as a multi-cultural and multi-dimensional arts mecca for the greater Bay Area and beyond. The 510Arts.com site is being designed by Nicole Neditch at Objet d'Art design in Oakland.

October Public Events Celebrate East Bay Arts Corridor

The participating cities have planned a variety of public events for the October launch of the East Bay Culture Corridor and 510Arts.com ranging from a civic center arts exhibition and tours of a historic mural in Berkeley to one of the country's oldest and largest local arts exhibitions and a new bus shelter art program in Emeryville to an arts community party, gallery tours and demonstration of innovative technology-based light installations in Oakland to tours of the newly renovated and arts-rich Richmond Civic Center. A list of October kick-off events may be found at the end of this release.

Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond Arts Profiles

Berkeley

Berkeley's thriving cultural scene is home to more than 130 non-profit arts organizations and hundreds more artists and performers. It's clear why Berkeley locals and visitors "Come for the Culture, Stay for the Food" - the arts hold equal pride of place with Berkeley's international reputation as a center for culinary and educational excellence.

Berkeley offers a comprehensive array of year-round cultural attractions. The Downtown Berkeley Arts District is a nationally recognized model as an arts destination and "arts led" downtown revitalization. The Arts District is centered on Addison Street; once lined with auto body shops, Addison Street now "rolls" with live theatre, live music, and performing arts education space.

Creative spirit infuses Berkeley with everyday discoveries ranging from vibrant street art and public art galleries, to major events such as the Berkeley Artisan Holiday Open Studios, and the renowned exhibitions and permanent collections at UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive.

Emeryville

Truly a City of the future, Emeryville boasts one of the country's most active artist live-work communities with hundreds of visual and performing artists in residence year round. The arts have been at the center of a decades-long transformation of Emeryville into a city where locally made culture vibrantly defines the fabric of its neighborhoods.

Among other events, the nationally recognized Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, held every October, has for two decades established the city as a progressive and diverse center where business, the arts and quality of life come together at the crossroads of sustainable urban development. The city has a long-standing Percent for Arts program by which real estate developers contribute toward public art. In conjunction with the East Bay Culture Corridor's launch of 510Arts.com in October, the City of Emeryville will inaugurate its Bus Shelter Public Art Program, bringing its art and artists to residents and visitors.

Oakland

The Oakland renaissance is in full swing, weaving arts and culture into the fabric of everyday life. Like its busy international port, for generations Oakland has welcomed artists and innovators from all over the world who have established homes here, significantly invigorating the cultural landscape and celebrating creative expression.

The most diverse city in the nation and gateway to the East Bay, Oakland has always held the arts close to its heart, with more than 300 arts groups, thousands of artists and scores of passionate community arts patrons and advocates. The city literally lights up with its arts from innovative illuminated art installations to brightly shining historic theater marquees, vibrant artisan street markets, edgy industrial arts scene, annual festivals and performance seasons. October kicks off with "Luminous Oakland," an ongoing program of innovative, eclectic temporary digital, media and interdisciplinary public art projects together with popular Art Murmur gallery openings on First Fridays.

Richmond

Richmond's long-standing pride in its arts stands literally at the center of the city in the form of visual and performing arts centers that are nationally recognized as models of a vibrant intersection of public/private partnership. Its newly renovated Civic Center, emerging Arts District, ambitious public art program and performing arts groups welcome new artists and residents and are inextricably aligned with business and neighborhoods. Coupled with the Ford Point Craneway's new entertainment venue hot-spot on the Bay, Richmond is revealing a vibrant new image.

One of the last bastions of affordable artist live-work space in the Bay Area, Richmond is experiencing rapid growth in its already active artist population. The arts played a leading role in the comprehensive renovation of the city's Memorial Civic Center, setting the stage for an even more heightened presence for the cultural life that is at the heart of the city. The Richmond Art Center has helped launch the international careers of many artists, and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts has put many residents both young and old on life-long paths enriched by music, theater and dance.



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