Project: Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into

A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement
Public Arts Installation

We all have heard, experienced, and mourned the news, “Oakland is one of the fasted gentrified cities in the United States.” Statistics aside, we are not just losing “numbers,” we are losing people. The pushout changes the landscape of our families, our friendship circles, our community spaces, our landmarks and our monuments.

Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into: A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement Public Arts Installation is a series of four commissioned, peace themed public art installations, created in the intersection of the arts and displacement. Hosted by the Oakland Peace Center (a hub of mostly POC-led and staffed nonprofits in Oakland), we intentionally create collaborative opportunities. The selected artists/artist teams, will bring our Peace Partners and Community Groups into the conversations of displacement. By working with artists, another community suffering under gentrification, we emphasize the importance of visionary leadership and cultural relevance. By reaching out to creatives to reflect back to communities on the move, their worth, we lead with gifts that reflect, amplify, and call out to communities, who are often times living the displacement in real-time, and don’t have the bandwidth or capacity, to know how to participate in the struggle. Each commissioned Peace Practice will be researched, presented and preserved, offsite by the Oakland Peace Center and the Akonadi Foundation, our funding partner.

Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into: A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement Public Arts Installation deploys art and community conversation, as an anti-displacement tool.  These public art installations, these momentary erections of monuments, these pop-up living rooms, are designed to recreate “home” and “place”, in the midst of forced homelessness, houselessness and displacement.

Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into: A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement Public Arts Installation will select and fund 4 artists/artists teams, to locate and AC Transit bus stop, research the commute and community meaning, and create, at the bus bench stop, along an AC Transit line, a pop-up community “living room”. The installations are temporary and are erected & dismantled in one day. The artists are charged with creating a space that reminds people that it is imperative that “home” must exist in our imaginations, and that it can look like many things.

Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into: A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement Public Arts Installation theory of change is that if community people, not yet involved in housing justice, are moved by the public art, that honors their sacred commute, they will be moved by the framework of cultural preservation and preservation of our ancestors’ legacy, enough to be moved to engage in the work.

Rooms Big Enough to Grow Into: A Bus/Bench Anti-Displacement Public Arts Installation says implicitly and emphatically, that We must always keep in mind that we are all deserving of shelter and stability. With plans to schedule a conversation with folks dealing with the crisis and folks working to address the crisis, we hope that we can document those conversations and share them with a wider community who did not experience the pop-up community.

Each commissioned artist will receive a $500 honorarium and a $250 budget for supplies. Commissioned artists will also receive the benefit of the Oakland Peace Center’s deep community work and will have access to our community partners near and beyond the public installation.

Join us: October 2018, November 2018, January 2019, and March 2019

For more information, contact the Oakland Peace Center’s, Artivist-In-Residence, Marvin K. White.