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Charles Berkowitz

Oakland artists gather for seventh annual Jingletown ArtWalk

The galleries of Oakland’s Jingletown, a pocket East Oakland community once dominated by immigrants and working warehouses, opened this weekend to display the work of over 35 local artists, all part of the seventh annual Jingletown Winter ArtWalk. The weekend event highlighted a variety of work, from photography and oil painting to metal work and textiles.

Oakland’s Depot for Creative Reuse has supplies for school, crafts and much more

On an average day, the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, an Oakland thrift store, is chock full of school supplies, furniture and even quirky items like ET postcards and baskets full of doll heads. The shop buzzes with teachers, students, parents and passers-by, either in search of something specific like pencils for the classroom or just hoping for a unique find.

Proposed graffiti ordinance seeks harsher punishment for vandalism

This month, the city council’s Public Works Committee will consider a new graffiti ordinance, which aims to bolster Oakland’s current vandalism laws by inflicting harsher penalties on offenders and offering support for property owners frequently targeted by graffiti writers. The “Graffiti Enforcement Program” proposed by City Attorney Barbara Parker and District 3 representative Nancy Nadel, would enhance a section of the city’s municipal code which presently only addresses graffiti abatement procedures and prohibits the sale and possession of pressurized paint cans and markers to minors.

New affordable housing development comes to East Oakland

Jeanice Spence stood in the doorway of her new apartment at Clinton Commons watching her four-month old kitten frolic amongst the guests gathered to celebrate the opening of Oakland’s latest affordable housing development. She said she feels at ease now, finally, after spending years in homeless shelters and rescue missions, struggling to find a place to call home. A blur of potential tenants walked past her, followed by the occasional laugh or tidbit of conversation, but Spence stood at her…

A Lovely Day: A new documentary highlights Hip-Hop therapy in local high schools

In 2009, Tomás Alvarez III sat at his desk as a group of nine teenagers filed into his classroom at Oakland High School. This was the fifth year of his Beats, Rhymes and Life program, which uses hip-hop music as a form of therapy for at-risk teenagers. Alvarez began the class in the usual fashion, playing instrumental beats on a boom box. As the class gathered in a circle and began to freestyle, Alvarez recalls, he recognized something particularly special…

Parents, doctors and kids celebrate the fight against pediatric cancer

Amidst the clamor of construction and downtown traffic Tuesday, a crowd of patients, nurses and doctors met outside of Kaiser Oakland’s pediatric building to support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Adorned in school bus-yellow t-shirts emblazoned with “Little Kids Get Cancer, Too,” health care providers and families gathered outside the hospital’s pediatric unit in downtown Oakland. Together, the group rallied to promote childhood cancer awareness and celebrate patients’ personal triumphs against the disease. The gathering was conceived by Clarence Berger-Greer,…

Father, son paint murals to highlight lives of Oakland’s homeless

Mike and John Manente stand proudly together as they look up at their recent creation: Sheila, a dignified woman with a gentle face blended from yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, and earth tones. The setting sun gives her an amber hue. She’s the subject of the “The Gardener,” the latest in an ongoing series of murals entitled “The People of Oakland” by the father and son team. Last year the two men, both professional artists, created the “People of Oakland” to…

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