The First Friday art crowd packed the room, backing all the way up the stairs. This wasn’t a conventional event for one of Oakland’s downtown art walks. It was a youth fashion show, featuring local kids trained by Mario Benton, a San Francisco native who moved to East Oakland 16 years ago. “From childhood I wanted to be a fashion producer and have models,” Benton said. “That’s my first love.”
Oakland resident Kendra Poma said she noticed food swaps—local barering meetups for gardeners and cooks—sprouting up all over the country. “I couldn’t find one happening in Oakland,” she said. So she started one.
Unlike a traditional gallery with a few wide-open rooms, the flow of traffic at the Kroswork Gallery is confined to a mostly linear path. Here, the current show, This Means War is Personal, examines the concepts of masculinity, conformity and militarism.