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Moment of Silence 3/1@ 7.30- 9.00


moment of silence flier

When you see the crowd giving a peace sign, please join us for a citywide Moment of Silence in honor of all the victims of gun violence in Oakland. Friday March 1st 7.30 – 9.00

Advertisements statement on the events of Feb. 1, 2013

For Immediate Release —

(Oakland, CA) On February 1, at approximately 10:53 p.m., almost an hour after Oakland First Fridays shut down, an 18-year-old Oakland resident named Kiante Campbell was murdered and three other people were wounded due to gun violence. Ironically, the shooting happened just one block from a youth stage run by a local non-profit organization which works with at-risk youth. Contrary to some media reports, the shootings took place near 20th and Telegraph, not 23rd and Telegraph. Also contrary to media and social media speculation, Campbell was not a “thug,” but a friendly, likable youth, raised in Oakland.

According to a family friend who wishes to remain anonymous, Kiante was on track to graduate from Oakland Technical high school and had hopes of attending UC Berkeley. His dream was to make his mother proud by attending college. He was passionate about music production and about volunteering with various community organizations, which allowed him to work with youth. The OaklandFirstFridays organization and the First Friday community mourns the loss of another young man, taken before his time.

Although these tragic events took place after our monthly gathering had officially ended, we all bear some responsibility for his loss, which comes at a time when gun violence has become part of the national debate and public safety has become a critical local issue. Our organization and community will continue to honor his memory and ensure that he will not be forgotten, that his name will not be just another homicide statistic in a city which has seen too many young black men die too soon. We are directing concerned community members to an altar which has been set up at the site of his passing, on Telegraph Avenue near 20th St. in Oakland. We are planning to set up a youth stage named in his memory at future First Friday events, which we hope will help promote public safety and education, as well as music and the creative arts. In the meantime, our prayers and well-wishes go out to Kiante’s family.

Public safety remains an ongoing issue not just in Oakland, but nationally, and our organization, comprised of volunteers passionate about cultivating culture in Oakland, is committed to working with city and business leaders and members of the artist, artisan, and musician communities to ensure that First Friday remains safe, family-friendly, and fun for all attendees. Prior to this unfortunate incident, more than 10,000 people enjoyed what by all accounts was a peaceful and chill event, which included several music stages, interactive art, a kids’ zone, fenced beer garden, and more. We welcome the opportunity for more community engagement and dialogue around this critical issue.

For more information, visit
Media Contact: media @

ArtPlace announced America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces – Oakland, CA!

FROM ArtPlace @

Art is inspiring and motivating. But it is also a powerful catalyst for change within communities, invigorating neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and creating vibrant places. America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces is a new annual ArtPlace initiative recognizing neighborhoods in the largest 44 metropolitan areas in the country where the arts are central to creating places where people—residents and visitors—want to be.

Today, ArtPlace announced America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces, communities that have most successfully combine art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods. Download the full report to learn more.

America’s Top 12 ArtPlaces for 2013 are:

Brooklyn, NY / The intersection of Downtown, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope and Prospect Heights
Dallas, TX / The Dallas Arts District, with parts of Deep Ellum and Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA / Central Hollywood
Miami Beach, FL / South Beach
Milwaukee, WI / East Town and a portion of the Lower East Side
New York, NY / Manhattan Valley
Oakland, CA / Downtown, including Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square
Philadelphia, PA / Old City
Portland, OR / The Pearl District and a portion of Downtown
San Francisco, CA / The Mission District
Seattle, WA / The Pike-Pine Corridor
Washington, DC / The intersection of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Dupont Circle

Members of the press can download images from each community from this image bank.

“The impact the arts have had on the social and economic vibrancy and economy of these communities is unmistakable,” noted Carol Coletta of ArtPlace. “This study shows how the arts can provide a foundation for a diversity of neighborhoods to thrive.”

ArtPlace’s selection of the twelve neighborhoods was based on a set of six indicators identified by Impresa Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of metropolitan economies. Four indicators measure ingredients of vibrancy: the number of retail and service businesses; the percentage of independent businesses; the neighborhood’s Walk Score; and the percentage of workers in creative occupations living in the neighborhood. Two arts-related indicators were also used: the number of arts-related non-profits and the number of arts-related businesses. Finally, neighborhood scores were normalized for family income so that neighborhoods with the highest concentration of income did not skew the results.

Each community has a particular story to tell, but they share a common theme: when a community mobilizes to place the arts at the core of a set of strategies to effect positive civic change, everyone benefits.

In addition to the Top Twelve, thirty-two additional neighborhoods across the country qualified as robust ArtPlaces. To read more about these stories and for a complete list of ArtPlaces for 2013, download the full report.

ArtPlace is currently developing indicators specific to smaller metropolitan areas with the goal of releasing America’s Top Small Town ArtPlaces later this year.

PHOTO ABOVE: Pedestrians enjoying Miami Beach, one of America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces 2013 (Photo: ArtPlace)

Official Oakland First Fridays Press Release: October 29th, 2012

Official Oakland First Fridays Press Release:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 29, 2012

(Oakland, CA) Hailed by the New York Times as “an abundance of there here,” Oakland First Fridays is an internationally-acclaimed immersive art and community experience, which draws as many as 15,000-20,000 people of all ages each month. Oakland First Fridays is primarily located on or adjacent to Telegraph Avenue from 19th Street to 27th Street and through Oakland’s Jack London Square, Historic Old Oakland, Downtown Lake Merritt, Uptown, Downtown, Koreatown- Northgate District (KONO), the Temescal Districts and more.

Every First Friday, Oakland comes together with an “Open House” / ad-hoc street festival of art galleries, artist collectives, street artists, food trucks, food vendors, local artisans, performers, musicians, dancers, DJ’s, and poets.  Attendees to First Fridays come from all around the Bay Area and beyond to experience eye-catching art, eat great food, enjoy live music from all genres, and stroll through the amazing, eclectic, creative scene which has transformed Oakland’s cultural identity.

The November event marks the beginning of Oakland First Friday’s Fall/Winter hours, beginning at 5pm and ending at 10pm. Over 20 blocks of streets will be closed to thru traffic, including Telegraph Avenue from 19th to 27th St and various adjacent side streets; as well as 9th St. bet. Washington and Broadway. Attendees are encouraged not to drive but to bicycle, walk, or BART to downtown Oakland and get off at 12th Street, 19th Street or Lake Merritt stations.

Planned events and activities for November include: Gallery openings by SoleSpace (featuring “Day of the Dead”- themed works by Favianna Rodriguez, Oree Orginol, and Julio Salgado),  Creative Growth Art Center (featuring studio textile works by Judith Scott, Tony Pedemonte and Carlos Perez) and SoMar (featuring paintings, photographs, video art, and mixed media work by Femme Cartel); TopTenSocial presents Block Party OAK (featuring The Grow Sessions and the Deepblak Recordings stages, “In the Black” Marketplace, Gursha Ethiopian food and the Funky Soul Stop Record Booth); Jazz Alley Outdoor Lounge and Community Jam Session (featuring live music from Valerie Troutt & Qui510 and Marcus Cohen & the Congress, plus Dirk’s Jerked Chicken); The EatUp food pod (featuring 15 of the Bay Area’s best food trucks, seven local Oakland mixed-media artists, and four DJ’s); “The Art Zone” (featuring mobile art gallery ArtIs MobilUs, an interactive art wall, art vehicles, DJs, face painters, performers, and local food vendors Vesta Flatbreads, Wild Orchid Asian, Boffo Cart, and Fat Bottoms Bakery); freestyle rap artist MC Word; Two music stages curated by Mission Creek/ArtsBeat Foundation: the (electric) Unicorn Stage (featuring Marmalade Mountain, Buttons and Hotel Eden), and the (acoustic) Rainbow Stage (featuring Linda Moody and The Maple Street Five); Badd Boyz/Uptown Studios fashion show; a classic/lowrider car show; the “Great Wall” visual art projection screen; and much, much more.

More than just a murmur, Oakland First Fridays is a phenomenon.

For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Frequently Asked Questions & The Block Coordinators List 10.28.12

FAQ: Updated:  October 28, 2012
Oakland First Fridays Arts Festival

Date: November 02, 2012
Set up: Streets close to the public at 3:00 PM
NEW Event Times: Fall / Winter Hours
5:00-10:00 PM (within the street closure)
Location: Telegraph Avenue from 19th Street to 27th Street and adjoining streets (street closure area), and Old Oakland 9th Street and Broadway (street closure area)

Participation in Oakland First Fridays:
Oakland First Fridays Arts Festival is an inclusive, diverse, dynamic, amazingly creative community of artists, street vendors, performers, galleries, musicians, collectives, art studios, food vendors, non-profit organizations, creative entrepreneurs, mobile art and music, inter-active art areas, collectively attracting 15.000-20,000 people per month.
We have FF Community Organization meetings every Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 at The Stork Club at 2330 Telegraph.
If you want to come down and get involved or just meet some of the folks in the FF community we invite you to join us there and look forward to meeting you.
The weekly meetings are for everyone that participates in or benefits from First Fridays—or would like to in the future.

What is the difference between Art Murmur and Oakland First Fridays?

Art Murmur is an organization of 40+ brick and mortar visual arts organizations, galleries, and collectives.
They are a cultural partner with First Fridays and an integral part of the art experience of Oakland First Fridays.
Find out what is happening in the Art Murmur Galleries

Oakland First Fridays is everything else – An amazing, eclectic, creativly diverse, immersive Arts Festival including over 200 artists, performers, musicians, art shows, interactive art exhibits, art creation, non-profits, poets, writers, makers, mobile music and art venues, art cars, street vendors, independent food vendors, and food trucks taking place on Telegraph Ave. from 27th to 19th Street and throughout Oakland.

Official Oakland First Fridays and the Street Closures:
Due to the size of the crowds along some areas of Telegraph Avenue during First Fridays the city has decided to help us and support us (the artists, performers, street vendors, food vendors, street entrepreneurs, galleries, mobile art vehicles, inter-active art exhibits, non-profit organizations, etc that participate in First Friday) by legally closing the streets so that all pedestrians and participants in the most crowded areas are safe from moving vehicles.

This month, the official street closure will go from Telegraph and 27th to 19th Street with 26th, 25th, 23rd, and 22nd being closed to through traffic between Telegraph and Broadway. Cross Traffic will be on West Grand, 20th Street, and 19th Street.
No moving vehicles or public transit will be allowed into the street closure area from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

First Fridays is happening throughout Oakland. It is not limited to the street closure areas. It is everywhere. There is always something incredible, creative, and amazing happening somewhere in Oakland.

Media / Press:
If you are writing an article, doing a show, or want to do interviews with some of the stakeholders of Oakland First Fridays please contact the Communications Team / PR at the email below.

Photos/ Videos/ Writing:
If you have photos, videos, or any creative writing on Oakland First Fridays. Please
send them to us for us to post on the website and our Facebood page;

Public Parking:
1) The multi-story garage at 19th & Franklin (entrance on 19th or Franklin) will be open until 12midnight.
2) The two-story garage at 21st & Telegraph will be open until 12midnight with entrance from off of Broadway.
Both lots will be $10 per car for the night.
3) For additional parking click on the link below:

Public Restrooms:
Telegraph at 19th St. (in front of Sears) (ADA)
–  21st and Telegraph Ave (ADA)
–  23rd at Telegraph Ave
–  24th at Telegraph Ave
–  25th at Telegraph Ave.
–  26th at Telegraph Ave

Pedestrian Safety:
Pedestrian Safety is our number one concern during First Fridays.
Please keep the designated Fire Lanes clear at all times.

Bike Valet:
A bike valet for everyone to check-in their bikes as been relocated to the Taco Bell Parking Lot at West Grand and Telegraph.

We will have cardboard trash cans down the center of the Telegraph from 27th to West Grand and from West Grand to 19th.
Plus KONO will put out some additional plastic trashcans.
We ask everyone to pick up their trash and the trash around them.
Food Truck Vendors who leave trash may not be invited back.
We also understand Safety First will be distributing trash bags to all vendors to help out around where they are.
One Dumpster will be located at 21st off Telegraph and should be there on Saturday morning
One Dumpster will be located at on the corner of 24th and Valley or close there and should be there on Saturday morning as well
Safety First will be passing out trash bags to vendors and others who are participating with some form of set up event/ performance / music etc

Securing a space within the official street closure areas:

Participant Spaces: street vendors, music, artists, and performers, interactive, art creation, mobile art/ music / maker people (non-food vendors).
At the moment all the vendor / artists /performer spaces are on a first come first serve basis. Please check out the Artist-Vendor map on the website for a look at the working map draft of the layout and contact the Block Coordinators of the block (s) you are interested in advance and when you get there.

Music / amplified performance spaces:
There are a limited amount of areas for amplified music. It is recommended that you contact the block coordinators as the best place to set up. Be prepared to share the space and available time with other musicians. Be respectful of your FF neighbors and event collaborators and do not play too loud or face your speakers at residential buildings. Contact the Block Coordinators in advance and when you get there for placement.

Food Truck / Food Vendor spaces:
There are a limited number of Food Truck spaces.
Please check with the block coordinators for location and make sure you are on the approved food vendor list ahead of time. (See below). Contact the Block Coordinators in advance and when you get there for placement.

Space Locations: Find a space and contact the block coordinator.
Please check the artist-vendor map draft on the website to see what the footprint will be for the official street closure area. At the moment all spaces are first come first serve.  It can change from month to month as First Fridays continues to grow.
Please check The Blog on the website or the Participation Page for a list of Block by Block coordinators and contact the coordinators for the block (s) you are interested in participating as a street vendor, musician, artist, performer, community non-profit organization, food vendor, or food truck. (see below for more info)

There are no shared generators or grid provided by the arts festival at this time. If you need power you need to bring your own whisper generator, solar generator, or a regular generator that is totally soundproofed.
Please do not bring a noisy generator that is not sound proofed or in an enclosure of some kind.
Street Closure Event Hours:
At the moment, the event goes from 5PM until 10PM. Please check the website for any changes.

Load-In: 3:00 PM
FOOD VENDORS: All food vendors are required to enter Telegraph from 27th.
ALL OTHER PARTICIPANTS: street vendors, music, artists, and performers, interactive, art creation people are recommended they enter from West Grand.
You may drive in at pre-designated points of entry, unload, and then park your vehicle elsewhere off Telegraph. – There is No Parking within the event footprint during the event.
Be sure to contact the block coordinator for your placement on their blocks.

Load-Out:  Fall / Winter Hours: 10:00PM
When the streets are re-opened at 10:00 PM to traffic, you can then bring your vehicle back in to load-out.

Music / Loud Amplified Performers:
According to the FF community’s input in this weeks community meeting and the stipulations of the Special Event Permit issued for Oakland First Fridays for Fall  / Winter Schedule, the “last songs” should be started at 9:45 or earlier- with a hard stop at 10:00 PM.
It is up to all of us who participate in First Fridays to make this work. We need everyone’s heart and soul into the FF collective whole for everyone’s and Oakland’s success.

Please respect your fellow artists and neighbors and try not to play to loud as to drown out your neighboring performers. In addition, please try to share your “stage” area with other musicians limiting sets to 45-60 minutes per performer. There are not enough spots that are good for amplified music for every musician or amplified performer to accommodate everyone as a solo performer. For overall music questions contact Amber McZeal at “ from the music team and always contact the block coordinator of the block you wish to perform on. You can also check in the music forum.

Food Vendors:
If you are an indendent food vendor or food truck and you wish to vend at Oakland First Fridays, you must follow the guidelines established by the City of Oakland and Alameda County.

To confirm your registration for Friday, November 2nd you will need to provide the following documents to Nancy Marcus by Tuesday October 30, 2012 by 12 noon.

It is suggested that you contact the block coordinators to see if they have space for your food truck, tent, or cart being on their block.

Documents Required:
1) Sellers Permit
2) City of Oakland Business Tax Certificate
3) Health Department Certificate or Temporary Event Permit issued by the Alameda County Health Department
Please send your proof of documents required to Nancy Marcus at and CC

Nancy Marcus
Administrative Assistant
Special Activity Permits
Office of the City Administrator
One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 11th Floor
Oakland, CA  94612
Phone: (510) 238-3294
Fax: (510) 238-7084

Non-Profit Organizations seeking places to table:
There is a good spot on 23rd Street at the end where it meets Telegraph that has historically been a good spot for table-ing. Please do not block any entrances to open businesses.

Oakland First website membership:
Membership is free for ALL participants in First Fridays- artists, performers, musicians, street vendors, food vendors, and merchants.
Just go to the website and sign up- for free,  complete the sign up process, get on the visitor map, and  have some free marketing for your event, exhibition, or business.

Every Oakland First Fridays member can post unlimited events and announcements for free to the website “Buzz Section and the calendar section.
They show up on our website in The Buzz section on the home page and in the calendar section. and on our Facebook Page.

In addition, they are also published on the Downtown Oakland CBD site, the Uptown- Lake Merritt CBD site, and on the East Bay Express website – giving members of Oakland Fist Fridays .org much greater visibility.
Everyone’s location will show on the visitors map on Visitors will be able to click on your location on the map and it will take them to your profile. You will also be able to post photos of your creations in the “inventory” part of your profile on the website.
Maps on
Artist-Vendor Map:
Maps of the overall footprint of the legal FF street closures are available on the website as well as recommended locations for music, street vendors, and food vendors. The October map is the same footprint as the November map.
Visitor Map:
The Visitor map will have locations of all vendors, merchants, and galleries that are participating in First Fridays-that have signed up as a free member to the Oakland First Fridays website.
Art Murmur Map:
The Art Murmur Map on is a comprehensive map of all the Art Murmur visual arts organizations, galleries, venues, collectives that are part of the Art Murmur organization. Art Murmur is a cultural partner with First Fridays. Visit to find out what’s going on this month at Art Murmur.

Online Forums for First Friday’s Interest / Work Groups:
There are online email forums for subcommittees and other common interest groups.

The Oakland First Fridays Block Co-coordinators List:
October 23rd 2012
FF Block Co-coordinators / Facilitators:
 19th to 20th:  Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Michael Orange (Closer to 19th)
20th to 21st:   Street Closure and Food Pod
Block Coordinator: Amber McZeal: (Contact:
Austin Luke (Contact: Food Contact / Food Pod
21st to 22nd:  Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Rovel Sparkes, (Contact:
22nd to West Grand:  Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Felix- This block “The Art Zone” is primarily designated for Interactive Art, Art Creation, Makers, artists, performers, and Mobile Art / Music Vehicles Area- no commercial vendors
(Contact: PH: 415-602-6400
West Grand to 23rd: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Needa and Helen Wyman ( Contact: )
 23rd to 24th:  Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Copes (Contact:
 24th to 25th:  Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Russell Hilken and Daniel Dolan (Contact:
25th to 26th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Matt Iglehart (Contact:
26th to 27th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Edward Yoo: (Contact:
Alternative Contact: Otto Herrera (Contact:

FF Side Streets:
26th Street from Telegraph to Broadway: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Open
Open to Acoustic Music ONLY – but not blocking businesses that are open
25th Street from Telegraph to Broadway: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:  Matt Iglehart (Contact:
Open to Acoustic Music ONLY – but not blocking businesses that are open
23rd   from Telegraph to Valley: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Chill Zone- no music… no vendors, non-profit tables are OK where
23rd Street meets Telegraph- not in front of the door of any open businesses
22nd Street   from Telegraph to Valley: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Carlos Valteau ( Contact: This is the Classic Car Zone

Approved Food Vendors and Food Trucks for Oct 5th– Stay tuned for the approved food vendors for November 2nd
(approved by Nancy Marcus and The City of Oakland)

Vesta Flatbread
Sweet Treat Stop
Docs of the Bay
Liba Falafel
Whip Out Catering
My Shrimp Shack
SK Snacks
Royal Cuisine
Victory Outreach
Tina Tamale
Fist of Flour
Munch  India
Elizabeth Jackson
Big Serge BBQ
Forbitten City
The Barn Oak
Taco Oaxaco
Suzie Q’s Lunchbox
Spice it Up Café
Temur Khwaja
Sam Won BBQ
Tamales La Oaxaqena
Get Goes
Crème Bruelee
Siva’s Secret Hot Dogs
Milton & Smalls
Kasa India

The FAQ is a living document, please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.
FF Communications Team
PH: 415-602-6400

The Oakland First Fridays Block Coordinators /Contact List:

The Oakland First Fridays Block Co-coordinators  and FF Contact List:


October 18th 2012

FF Block Coordinators / Facilitators:

19th to 20th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:Michael Orange (Closer to 19th) (Contact:
Block Coordinator:Zakiya Harris- Closer to 20th (Contact:

20th to 21st: Street Closure and Food Pod
Block Coordinator:Austin Luke (Contact: Food Contact / Food Pod

21st to 22nd: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:Rovel Sparkes, (Contact:

22nd to West Grand: Street Closure
This block is primarily designated for Interactive Art, Art Creation, Maker, and Mobile Art / Music Vehicles Area- no commercial vendors
Block Coordinator: Felix (Contact: PH: 415-602-6400

West Grand to 23rd: Street Closure
Block Coordinators :Needa and Soul Luciani (Contact:

23rd to 24th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:Copes (Contact:
Block Coordinator Support:Amber McZeal: (Contact:

24th to 25th: Street Closure
Russell Hilken and Daniel Dolan (Contact:
25th to 26th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:Matt Iglehart (Contact:

26th to 27th: Street Closure
Block Coordinator:Edward Yoo: (Contact:
Alternative Contact: Otto Herrera (Contact:

FF Side Streets:
26th Street from Telegraph to Broadway: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: (Open) Open to Acoustic Music ONLY – but not blocking businesses that are open

25th Street from Telegraph to Broadway: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Matt Iglehart (Contact: Open to Acoustic Music ONLY – but not blocking businesses that are open

23rd from Telegraph to Valley: Street Closure
Block Coordinator: Chill Zone- no music… no vendors, non-profit tables are OK where 23rd Street meets Telegraph- not in front of the door of any open businesses

22nd Street from Telegraph to Valley: Street Closure
This is the Classic Car Zone.
Block Coordinator: Carlos Valteau ( Contact:

Specific Teams/ Contact People:
1) Interactive Art, Art Creation, Mobile Art / Music Vehicles Team temporary point person for questions. Felix (Contact: PH:415-602-6400
2) Communications Team: Internal, External, Social Media, Photo, Video, Writing, PR, Website Admin. (Contact:
3) Music Coordination Team: Amber McZeal: (Contact: 4) Additional Questions about food vending / food vendor workshops. Please contact Hiroko Kurihara at She has been very active in working with independent food vendors / street entrepreneurs to help them get legal / legit and come up with affordable solutions.
5) Media / Press: If you are writing an article, doing a show, or want to do interviews with some of the stakeholders of Oakland First Fridays please contact the Communications Team / PR at
6) Photos/ Videos/ Writing: If you have photos, videos, or any creative writing on Oakland First Fridays. Please send them to us for us to post on the website and our Facebood page; Contact:

Oakland First Fridays in The New York Times

ImageNew York Times
By Malia Wollan
Published: October 11, 2012

OAKLAND, Calif. — One wonders if Gertrude Stein would write “there is no there there” about Oakland if she could see the thousands of people who convene every month for this city’s rambunctious art craw.

Actually, there is an abundance of there here: what started six years ago as a small, once-a-month gallery walk has mushroomed into an event that city officials now say attracts as many as 20,000 people downtown for an evening known as Oakland Art Murmur.l and street bacchanal.

“This is definitely more like a shout,” John Herbstritt, 26, a wine buyer who recently moved to Oakland, said as he looked at block after city block of overflowing galleries, street musicians, food trucks and curated art exhibits last Friday.

Visual enticements were everywhere, like shiny lowrider cars and a scantily clad pole dancer atop a jalopy with a black metal unicorn head.

And despite some hand-wringing over the event’s rapid growth, many city officials and businesses here seemed relieved that so many people are gathering month after month without mayhem, the sting of tear gas or the hum of low-flying police helicopters, things that have become all too common in the turbulent streets of Oakland.

It was just a year ago this week that Occupy Wall Street protesters set up camp in front of City Hall, beginning what would become months of protests and fierce clashes with the police.

Now, some of those combative memories have been replaced by more serene scenes, like one of a man stitching intricate images with a portable bicycle-powered sewing machine.

And nobody seems happier about the new scene than Mayor Jean Quan, who took her fair share of criticism last year during the Occupy protests. “Oakland is always reinventing itself,” said Ms. Quan, herself a regular Murmurer.

Art Murmur began in 2006 when a group of galleries created a monthly art crawl in an area of town known, until then, for auto body shops, empty commercial buildings and manufacturing space.

As word got out and the sidewalks became more crowded, the galleries applied for a permit to close one block to make space for food and vendors.

In 2010, the galleries created a nonprofit group called Oakland Art Murmur to coordinate the dozens of exhibit spaces (some in unexpected places like car dealerships). Referring to the whole wild scene as Art Murmur, though, turns out to be incorrect.

“What we do inside the gallery spaces is Art Murmur,” explained Danielle Fox, the group’s director. “What happens out in the street is First Friday.”

As the crowds grew, the group hired four private security guards and brought in a portable toilet. But by June of this year, the crowds had swelled to more than 10,000, spilling into the street, unofficially taking over blocks of downtown and worrying gallery owners who said that even when they called for backup, the police did not come.

“It just got so big and out of control,” said Kimberly Johansson, founder of the Johansson Projects, one of the city’s crop of new galleries.

Concerned that someone would be hurt, Oakland Art Murmur gave up its road closing permit in June, essentially forcing the city to step in.

So beginning last month, the mayor committed to close nearly 20 blocks of Telegraph Avenue and surrounding streets to vehicle traffic and to dedicate some 20 police officers each month through the end of the year. A volunteer group of business districts and individuals has formed to organize vendors, deal with cleanup and provide portable toilets.

“When this first started it was mostly white and maybe some Asian hipsters,” Ms. Quan said. “And now, walking down the street, I’ve seen everybody from wealthy developers to my favorite homeless guy to new Chinese immigrants and African-Americans from East Oakland.”

Also in the crush of people are many familiar faces from the Occupy movement. Some sell silk-screened Occupy posters, wear the telltale Guy Fawkes masks or lead impromptu street marches.

During August’s event, a splinter group of protesters handed out leaflets warning that city officials and businesses were trying to usurp Art Murmur and turn it into “a tool to further their agenda of gentrification.”

But such disruptions have done little to deter revelers.

“This event is the best thing to happen to Oakland in a long time,” said Jim Copes, 61, who sold “I hecka love Oakland” T-shirts to passers-by while yelling out historical tidbits about the Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale and the Oakland rappers Too Short and M.C. Hammer.

Many newcomers to the city know little about its past, said Mr. Copes, a lifelong resident. He feels it is his civic duty to inform them.

“Oakland didn’t just start yesterday,” Mr. Copes said. “We’ve been here having fun for a long time.”

For the complete article please click on the link below: