SUPPORT: City Wide Cultural Arts Districts & the Designation of the Uptown Arts District

For the last year the #UptownArtsDistrict has held meetings to address a potential loss of one of Oakland’s cultural hubs due to the growing displacement of independent art spaces caused by imminent real estate development.

A collaboration between Uptown neighbors, East Side Alliance, the City of Oakland Planning and Cultural Arts Departments, and art supporters throughout the city, the goal of sustaining and growing cultural arts entities that keep Oakland creative is closer to reality!

Oakland’s FIRST officially designated Cultural Arts District (CAD) is the Black Arts Movement and Business District, in Downtown Oakland. Currently, the Uptown Arts District (UAD) seeks to be the second CAD designated in Oakland.

We have council members Lynnette McElhaney and Rebecca Kaplan’s sponsorship, as they will bring our resolution to City Council on October 11. Please encourage your council member to support the UAD designation, and pave the way for future Cultural Arts Districts throughout the city!

UAD’s Cultural Arts District designation will:

1) Specifically define the UAD borders (27th Street to Grand Ave. between Broadway and Telegraph)
2) Support the City Of Oakland’s re-institution of the Cultural Arts Commission to connect ALL arts districts with the city’s growth
3) Include the UAD in the Downtown Area Specific Plan, which will add an arts preservation and anti-displacement voice to the Plan
4) Ask that ALL community members receive notice of new development that affects them, so that they may have an ability to actively participate and
engage in their community’s development
5) Provide district signage within and surrounding the UAD, and identify the UAD on maps including those of Oakland, the DT Plan, and public transportation

UAD’s designation and its guidelines (see below) can be adopted or used as springboard for other Cultural Arts Districts seeking such designation.

POLICY GUIDELINES - UAD’s resolution is highly suggesting the City implement the following, beginning 8 weeks after the designation of the UAD:
Guideline 1: Ensure zoning allows for art and maker venues
Guideline 2: Re-instate the Cultural Arts Commission to partner with communities and arts institutions to manage and support Cultural Arts Districts throughout Oakland.
Guideline 3: Create a fund to support displaced artists and culture venues, to help prevent displacement or assist in relocation, and to provide facility
improvement grants for art/maker venues.
Guideline 4: Consider tax advantages (as adopted in Maryland and Rhode Island) for qualifying artists and art venues; provide technical assistance programs to start-up art venues
Guideline 5: Enact urban planning that contributes to the success of art/maker venues with pedestrian-friendly design and transit/parking plans that enable patronage of art venues
Guideline 6: Reserve portions of ground floor development for art/maker spaces; offer incentives to encourage art/maker spaces; make vacant City-owned properties available for lease to artists/makers at below-market rates.
Guideline 7: Research additional tax benefits, incentives, and policies that encourage and enable developers/property owners to support art and culture entities

For up to date info / questions / want to get involved:

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