Mayors of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond Jointly Launch East Bay Cultural Corridor and Portal Website

Range, Volume, Diversity and Accessibility of the Arts the Focus of Nationally Unprecedented Public/Private/Community Partnership

Mayors Assert that the Arts are Good for Business

Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond, CA, October 2, 2009-The Mayors of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond convened a news conference and series of public events today to announce the launch of a nationally unprecedented public/private/community partnership that shines the spotlight on the arts and culture as proven catalysts for urban development, economic vitality, quality of life and community sustainability.

Mayors Tom Bates of Berkeley, Richard Kassis of Emeryville, Ron Dellums of Oakland (represented by Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember-at-large, City of Oakland) and Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond together "flipped the switch" to launch the new portal website,, that is the first pilot activity of the newly formed East Bay Cultural Corridor (EBCC). The day will culminate with public arts activities in the four partner cities that celebrate this forward-thinking arts and business alliance, which is designed to broaden awareness of the East Bay as one of the country's most culturally rich and diverse arts regions. The and EBCC launch coincide with the October 2 California Arts Day and National Arts & Humanities Month.

The EBCC is intended to 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.

In recognition of both the central role the arts play in issues facing today's urban areas and of the added value of collaboration, leading funders came forward at the beginning of the process to partner with the cities to support the creation of the EBCC and The project is solely funded by the private sector in the form of $74,000 in 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.

In attendance at the news conference was a full complement of the East Bay Cultural Corridor's collaborating partners:

Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley
Mayor Richard Kassis of Emeryville
Mayor Ron Dellums of Oakland, represented by Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember-at-large, City of Oakland
Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond
Nicole Taylor, President and CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation
John McGuirk, Arts Program Director of the James Irvine Foundation
Anne K. Vally, Special Initiative Officer of the James Irvine Foundation
Julie Fry, Performing Arts Program Officer of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Nicole Neditch, Objet d'Art Design and designer

The Need for an East Bay Cultural Corridor

Collectively the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond represent one of the most culturally rich, diverse and active arts regions in the country. The various arts departments and agencies of each have found in practice that they can maximize exposure to activities and resources in the greater region by collaborating and sharing resources, experience and ideas to the benefit of the arts communities and the public while minimizing expenses.

Together, the East Bay communities boast:

  • One of the highest per capita artist populations in the country with more than 6,000 professional artists calling it home.
  • 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 the East Bay communities have consistently ranked at the top of national city diversity figures, which is reflected the depth and variety of arts in the region.
  • Hundreds of non-profit visual arts, music, dance, theater, culturally specific, multi-disciplinary and innovative organizations from internationally known to neighborhood programs, education programs and offerings for youth, seniors and others.
  • Alameda and Contra Costa Counties are home to 5,532 arts-related businesses that employ 21,477 people according to a 2007 study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

Four Mayors See Arts Partnership as Good Business

In an agreement signed by the four Mayors in March, 2009, that officially endorses the EBCC, Mayors Bates, Kassis, Dellums and McLaughlin stated, "The East Bay is a region of widely diverse cultural backgrounds. 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 in our 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 East Bay Community 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. Hernández, 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 Cultural in the Bay Area. We look forward to the diverse fruits of this creative partnership."

The Web Portal

The first EBCC project has been to create the portal website. The site is designed to give ease of access to a broad range of the public in the East Bay, greater Bay Area and beyond. It is a central point of access, information and resources that guides visitors through overviews of the kinds of arts and culture available in the region, listings of select events of broad public interest, news and information, and access to the four cities' individual sites for the arts and culture.

The launch is accompanied by a marketing and promotional campaign that announces " World Culture in the East Bay" to the public through fliers, posters, public service announcements and the media.

Moving the EBCC Forward

The collaborators in the East Bay Cultural Corridor and plan to expand the project and site organically after the original roll-out. They are in the process of assembling an arts community-based advisory body that will assist in fine-tuning and expansion of the site to make it interactive, flexible and effective. Discussions are underway to open the partnership to include other communities in the 510 Area Code to broaden the scope and reach and to enhance the site with features such as expanded listings, "virtual gallery" space for artists to exhibit their work, etc.

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 Cultural Corridor and ranging from a civic center arts exhibition; tours of a historic mural in Berkeley; one of the country's oldest and largest local arts exhibitions and a new bus shelter art program in Emeryville; an arts community party, gallery tours and demonstration of innovative technology-based light installations in Oakland and 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'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.


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 Cultural Corridor's launch of in October, the City of Emeryville will inaugurate its Bus Shelter Public Art Program, bringing its art and artists to residents and visitors.


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 and annual festivals and performance seasons. October kicks off with an expanded First Fridays/Art Murmur on Friday, October 2 hosted by the Cultural Arts & Marketing Division and Oakland Cultural Trust. Free to the public from 6:00 - 10:00p.m., the event will feature an arts community appreciation reception with music, food and drink; multimedia previews of,; and the "Luminous Oakland" public art vision for the Uptown District. The art-filled evening culminates in a downtown gallery, restaurant and nightspot hop with free shuttle provided. For more information on this and other fall arts events in Oakland visit


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 Richmond 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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