Oakland faces cultural renaissance, improved community relations

Oakland is currently undergoing something of a cultural renaissance, with a burgeoning visual arts scene and a growing sense of community pride that is bolstering the neighborhood. The city is largely eschewing its recent history of urban coldness and disparate communities to become more unified and more culturally strong. This represents a great opportunity for young families to check out the homes for sale in Oakland and consider relocating to the Bay Area.

The city has long held a status as one of the most artistic regions in the country. According to Oakland Local, the city's Cultural Arts department has long touted the claim - backed by solid statistics - that Oakland has more artists per capita than any other city in the United States. However, a recent shift away from upscale galleries and collectors in favor of more local and community-driven visual art is leading this particular mini-renaissance.

"[Visual art in Oakland] has expanded, there's a lot of attention," Anyka Barber, a gallery owner in Oakland, told the news source. "People feel like they can come here and create and get things done. In addition to a supportive community, there's an outside validation that's happening."

Along with the host of community galleries displaying the works of local artists, the groundswell of grassroots work is also increasing. The news source reports that the monthly First Fridays art walk allows local artists to sell their works on the sidewalk. Additionally, more artists are creating spaces for themselves, with the help of local community institutions, to bolster the city's cultural reputation.

While local community galleries are looking to prop up struggling artists from Oakland, the local community at large is working to help pick up struggling institutions within the city. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Zoo recently received a surprise check for $1 million from an anonymous donor. The money arrived via the San Francisco Foundation's Serendipity Fund to be used for general purposes at the zoo.

The zoo has long been a popular establishment among Oakland families, but had recently fallen on tough times. Zoo officials had hoped to raise funds to improve the zoo through a parcel tax. However, the anonymous donation helped stave off those needs, while demonstrating that Oakland has a strong community presence that supports each other.