Oakland Mayor Pledges $1.7 Million To Affordable Art Spaces Following Deadly Warehouse Fire
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has announced the city will give $1.7 million to support safe and sustainable art spaces after the deadly warehouse fire at Ghost Ship on Friday, Dec. 2.
The program has been in development for the past several months, but it comes at a poignant time after 36 people, and potentially more, lost their lives in the blaze.
"The arts are at the center of vibrant and diverse communities, and are critical to neighborhood health and well-being, yet artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to instability and displacement," says Major Shaaf in a press release. "This public-private collaboration and investments are aimed at preventing displacement, growing the capacity of the city's artists and cultural organizations, and enhancing municipal resources for the cultural sector over the long haul."
The funding is led by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) - a nonprofit real estate organization, in addition to aid from the from government. The city will also hire new staffers to support arts and culture in Oakland.
The funds will help launch financial and technical assistance programs to aid arts organizations facing displacement. This has been a big issue in the Bay Area and many urban areas around the United States as real estate prices rise and become untenable for artists, collectives and promoters on small budgets.
CAST offers up to $75,000 to arts organizations that have been displaced or are facing displacement. It will also provide expertise in real estate transactions.
Applications for the grant are open now and close on Feb. 10. More information on how to apply can be found on the CAST website.