Burning Man Project to Fuel Community+Creativity in West Oakland

PRWeb reports that the Burning Man Project has announced something they are doing to show how Burning Man culture can transform a community. It highlights a difference between Burner thinking, and Burning Man thinking. Burning Man thinking is temporary: “we’ll build it and get rid of it a few months later. In that short time, it will transform everyone’s lives”. Burner thinking is practical: “we’ll build it with whatever resources and tools we have at hand, we’ll re-use it in the future, and over time we’ll add to it and fix it and improve it. We don’t care so much if it changes others’ lives, as long as we think it’s cool we hope some others appreciate it too”. We will get to see the effectiveness of Burning Man thinking in transforming part of West Oakland into a flourishing, creative community space. Can Burning Man turn the Ghetto into the Place to Be?

For three months this fall, a 24,000 square-foot vacant lot at the intersection of Mandela Parkway, West Grand Avenue and Peralta Street in West Oakland will be transformed into a creative community space filled with art and commerce. Each weekend from October 4 to December 15, the Peralta Junction Project will harness the strong local presence of the industrial arts and artists to create rich social and economic opportunities for an often-challenged neighborhood.

With the help of scores of participating artists, expertise from resources sites like Toolerant and volunteers, the project team has begun to clean up and rejuvenate the space, which until recently was full of weeds. Talented local mural artists have transformed the long fence facing Mandela Parkway into a vibrant, interactive perimeter. Soon tents will rise, art projects will be installed, carnival lights will be illuminated and the space will come alive with art installations, creative workshops, performances, micro-retail shops featuring local artisans, Oakland-based food trucks, a tented gathering place, and pumpkins.

“We hope to create an economically sustainable, communal creative space for people who live and work in our neighborhood,” said Leslie Pritchett of Commonplace Productions, one of the project’s organizers. “We invite anyone and everyone to help shape and share in this evolving social project.”

Key features of the project will include:

  • A series of three highly-interactive, large-scale art installations, beginning with M.T. Pocket’s Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights
  • A Pumpkin Patch, with artist-led pumpkin carving programs
  • Food Trucks, featuring some of Oakland’s finest mobile purveyors
  • A Pop-Up Market, featuring the wares of local artisans
  • D.I.Y. workshops and demonstrations with local arts organizations such as The Crucible
  • Community Movie Night on Thursdays
  • An artist-built stage featuring local performing artists

Marcus Guillard, a founder of the One Hat One Hand design-build collective and Leslie Pritchett, Director of Commonplace Productions will lend their experience as artists, administrators, and change agents in leading this group effort. A strong list of key collaborators includes The Crucible, American Steel Studios, Stageworks Productions and The Burning Man Project.

The project team is busily preparing for the Grand Opening Weekend, October 6 and 7, when Peralta Junction will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature performances, pumpkins and pumpkin carving, workshops, live painting demonstrations, face painting, clowns, carnies, food trucks, vendors and more!

If this pilot project is demonstrated to be viable, the project team hopes to move forward with a longer-term, five-year program at the site that includes arts-based programming, community space, and micro-retail shops and restaurants housed in artist-designed and converted shipping containers.

via Peralta Junction Project to Fuel Community & Creativity in West Oakland.

We will be watching with interest to see the effects this project has on West Oakland. Will 3 months of a pumpkin patch, be enough to gentrify a ghetto? It’s much easier to park a few taco trucks in Oakland and paint a fence, than it is to do something truly useful like addressing sexual assault in our community. So we hope the Burning Man Project delivers something positive and tangible, and shows us all the potential that Burning Man has to make a difference in Meatspace.

14 comments on “Burning Man Project to Fuel Community+Creativity in West Oakland

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  5. Did you interview ANYONE involved in the planning of this project? Did you fact check AT ALL. This is NOT a Burning Man event. Do you even know who the artists are who painted that fence? Did you even ask what the purpose of this space is for? Do you have any idea what the intention of the VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY OUTREACH COLLABORATORS AND PRODUCERS had in mind for this project? Please, get your story straight before you post unrelated information in your blog. Your photos of pictures from the playa have nothing to do with the project. The Peralta Junction Project has the support of many members of the already established community of West Oakland and the greater East Bay and Bay Area as a community space for FREE workshops, FREE music and artist venue, a place of COMMERCE for truly local crafters and artisans. There are people in this neighborhood, who have lived here for generations, who did not just move here in the last couple of years and call themselves from West Oakland, that fully back this project and LOVE what is being done to make an inviting and open outdoor space that is ALL INCLUSIVE. Check your facts before posting next time. There are a good many people involved with the creation and management of this evolving community event that have nothing to do with Burning Man. Burning Man has it’s own thing going and I’m sure a lot of people who are involved with that are amazing and not amazing and have all kinds of political and social issues. But, this is not them.

    A comment on Sexual Assault as pertaining to the last paragraph of your article:
    Sexual Assault is EVERYONE’s issue, not just this neighborhood’s issue (I prefer NOT to call it a ‘ghetto’ ) and awareness and support is key in ANY COMMUNITY.
    …And, if you would like to run or know any body who would like to run a non-violence or positive body image workshop…or if you would like to, or know somebody who would like to set up a table loaded with information on how to get help and support before, or after, or to prevent sexual assalt or provide a schedule of meetings to promote awareness to put on the community bulletin board, or raise awareness about any other socially conscious topic then by all means…the space is by the community, for the community…make it happen. Please, contact info@peraltajunction.com to find out how to participate. Please, go to http://www.peraltajunction.com for more accurate information, and for contacts and also go to Peralta Junction Project on Facebook to find even more info on the space.

    The space was built with intention for celebration of the season through traditionally Autumnal activities (like pumpkins/Day of the Dead community altar) and spectacle (carnival games/clowns/magicians) , local fun (like a public park), local commerce (non-web/non-brick and mortar where one can meet the maker), local creative awareness (art with a message i.e. Wall Writers/muralists and other styles of local expression), local performance (sounds from the neighborhood/sounds from the Bay), local skill share (free and inexpensive workshops)and to provide a meeting space for eating, sharing, and learning in a open evolving forum and as a platform for giving others permission to be immaculate in their craft and to live their dream.

    Thank you,
    Miss Jessy Brown

    • not sure why everyone is being so negative on the Burning Man Project’s involvement with Peralta Junction. Are they not welcome? This is a blog where I comment about things going on in the Burner universe, not PBS or CNN. Perhaps it’s my use of the word “ghetto” – go listen to some hiphop songs from the East Bay, that’s where I get it from. Oakland is lovely, and kinda touchy about this I guess. Or perhaps they’re not confident that the project is going to have much positive effect.
      If it’s happening every Autumn for 3 months, then tell us, don’t just bash us.
      Your ire is better directed towards the Burning Man Project, who have been promoting this story on their web site and facebook as if it is something they are heavily involved in. I’ve heard about it as such personally from some members of that group.
      I welcome anyone involved in the project to come here and share with us all the great things that’s going on.

  6. The Attached statement is entirely ridiculous! Maybe you would like to call and discuss the project with the people that are producing it before spreading such insensitive blabber.

    “We will be watching with interest to see the effects this project has on West Oakland. Will 3 months of a pumpkin patch, be enough to gentrify a ghetto? It’s much easier to park a few taco trucks in Oakland and paint a fence, than it is to do something truly useful like addressing sexual assault in our community. So we hope the Burning Man Project delivers something positive and tangible, and shows us all the potential that Burning Man has to make a difference in Meatspace.”

    • we’ve been calling on the Burning Man Project to tackle a serious issue in our community – sexual assault and education of personal boundaries at Burning Man. It seems like that’s too hard for them, instead it looks like they are attaching themselves to a community project where their contribution is being viewed with skepticism. If you think that is ridiculous, you’re entitled to your opinion. But I am not sure what is so insensitive about it.

  7. I need to be carful in my words chosen here. The simplest way to say this is; “This is not a Burning Man Project”. It is a collaboration between two local bay area business’ as well as many bay area artists, many of whom have never been to Burning Man. Yes it is true that we have had the blessing and support of the Burning Man Project and community, however calling it a Burning Man project is offering incorrect information.

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