Qilombo Community Center of the Afrikatown and McClymonds district has teamed up with local Oakland artist and photographer Danté-Alexander to launch a monthly Art Showcase & Gallery on First Fridays.
Join the community center for its groundbreaking event on Friday, Feb. 5 at Qilombo, located at 2313 San Pablo Ave in Oakland, starting at 7 p.m.
The community center encourages people to submit art of any expression (from paintings and sculpture to spoken word and performances). The first place winner will win cash prizes.
Last November, Qilombo hosted its first Anti-Gentrification Block Party. The event celebrated the importance of communities standing together in solidarity against gentrification and announced that the community center won its fight against its own eviction.
According to Qilombo’s volunteers, in the subsequent months the center was paid a visit from a representative from the Planning and Building Department of Oakland. The representative laid out a pamphlet of what Oakland will look like over the course of five to ten years, which included a Black Arts District.
Volunteer Chaga Kwa Nia, an Oakland native and community organizer, said he agreed that Oakland needed development, but the kind of economic development that would not displace low-income residents in the process.
Another volunteer, Van Dell, said the Black Arts District that the city is designating would be more of a museum to the past.
“How can you have a Black Arts District without Black people,” said Dell. “These plans are designed around investors and developers and are trying to plug in social justice out of the concerns of Oakland residents rather being designed around human lives.”
“It’s time to make our own Black Renaissance and Black Arts District, one that Afrikans can be able to fight to stay in Oakland to enjoy what we have created,” said Dell.
Guidelines for submitting art can be found on the Qilombo Art & Gallery Showcase Facebook page. Submission deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 3 at midnight.
Contest themes include gentrification, ceremony, Black & Indigenous solidarity, Afrofuturism and resistance.
For more information, contact [email protected]