A Profile of Four Squares

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A Profile of Four Squares was an anthropological multimedia installation about downtown Oakland's four historic parks at Pro Arts (Fall, 2009). In addition to promoting the communities surrounding the parks through video, photos and text, we also sponsored offsite events. In collaboration with the Oakland Historical Alliance, Annalee Allen, the driving force behind downtown Oakland’s Walking Tour program, led a history-packed tour of all four parks. In a second tour, Serena Bartlett, green travel expert and creator of GrassRoutes travel, revealed fascinating and potentially overlooked facets of the neighborhoods around Jefferson and Lafayette Squares. We also hosted a Tai Chi (thanks to Lincoln Rec Center and Chinese American Citizens Alliance) class in front of City Hall and a Latino cooking class taught by Tina 'Tamale' Ramos in the gallery.

Here’s what Tina 'Tamale' had to say about the show:

...[T]hink back to a happy childhood memory that took place in a park. Running in the grass, playing on a swing and maybe having a picnic or snack with family and friends. If you were lucky, you got to walk to this park...Now as an adult, perhaps you drive or walk by this park and smile while remembering what it was like to be carefree and young. Imagine having those thoughts and feelings while standing in an art gallery just a stone throw away from City Hall. Yup, that's what happen to me yesterday.

Overall, my favorite part of this exhibit is seeing photos in black & white and sepia next to modern color images of what the neighborhoods look like today… Take some time to share your stories with the young ones coming up and ask to hear stories from the older generations too…History is art. Art is sharing. It's connecting a little piece of everyone it touches. These connections are how we build a community.

You can read Tina’s entire review here: www.tinatamale.com

Downtown Oakland, CA


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lafayette square park lincoln square park madison square park jefferson square park