arts Blog

CAST Awards $350,000 to 14 Oakland Arts Organizations

Kenneth Rainin Foundation investments have helped the Community Arts Stabilization Trust to expand its work to Oakland and launch the Keeping Space–Oakland pilot program.

Oakland, CA – The Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) announced that 14 arts and cultural organizations, collectives, and DIY models will receive over $350,000 to secure long-term, affordable, and safe spaces in Oakland. This grant funding was awarded through Keeping Space–Oakland, CAST’s pilot program to assist arts nonprofits that are vulnerable to space instability and displacement. Oakland’s arts community has listed safe, affordable space as the number one impediment to the growth and vitality of the arts.

The 14 recipients consist of traditional arts nonprofits, hybrid collective-cooperative models, community-based organizations, and a live/work, DIY warehouse model. Organizations are located across Oakland, from East Oakland to North Oakland to Lakeshore. Based on the needs of each organization, financial assistance will go towards space acquisitions, planning expenses, tenant improvements, or rental and moving expenses.

Keeping Space–Oakland Award Recipients

“Thanks to training and customized consultations through CAST’s technical assistance program and now this financial assistance award, Alena Museum is able to continue to offer dedicated space for multidisciplinary artists in the face of rapid displacement and gentrification in our neighborhood,” said Executive Director of Alena Museum, Seven Hager Asefaha.

Alena Museum is a nonprofit creative space that houses multi-disciplinary arts and work studios to cultivate the cultural richness of the African Diaspora. An incubator for artists, Alena Museum empowers the community to take an active role in directly mitigating displacement and marginalization.

“CAST is playing a critical role in supporting Oakland’s diverse creative community.”– Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

“Originally focused on arts nonprofits in San Francisco, CAST heard the urgent need for help from a wide-ranging network of artists, artist collectives, and arts communities, and designed Keeping Space–Oakland to better prepare this diverse, vibrant community to thrive in Oakland’s challenging commercial real estate environment,” said CAST Executive Director Moy Eng. “With the Bay Area’s escalating real estate costs, Keeping Space–Oakland investments are timely and essential to help keep artists and arts groups in Oakland.”

Keeping Space–Oakland aims to build the capacity of arts organizations to successfully execute real estate transactions by providing technical assistance and funding to aid arts groups in securing workspaces. Beyond Keeping Space–Oakland, CAST is devoted to working with the community to develop mechanisms to solve the issue of arts and cultural organization displacement.

“I am thrilled that CAST is helping our arts and culture organizations remain in Oakland through its Keeping Space–Oakland program,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “CAST is playing a critical role in supporting Oakland’s diverse creative community.”

CAST launched Keeping Space–Oakland in December 2016 with funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation. These grant awards represent one strategy of many proposed by the Oakland Arts Workspace Group, a public-private partnership working on short-term initiatives and long-term strategies to help stabilize artists and arts and cultural organizations in Oakland. Partners include the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, CAST, City of Oakland, Northern California Community Loan Fund, and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation.




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