About Humanity, Art and Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland

I snuck a picture from the sidelines. :) 
I want to preface this blog entry by saying that I will always be an L.A. girl -- and -- that I am also proud of my Peruvian roots. That being said, I will now profess my love for my new home...Northern California.    I have been living in the Bay Area for almost four years now, which is a wild thing to admit. Mainly because I always saw myself returning to tinseltown and the film and television world after graduating from UC Berkeley. But the Bay has now become the place where my artistic explorations are fully supported through a community of people with their own amazing talents.

There are so many open and rich environments in these parts of California. Spaces where great ideas are exchanged; a place where creative people replenishing each other with themes and styles that are spun around and mixed into the next blend of paint that splashes a song with colorful textures for viewers, participants and audiences alike. It seems as if every artist here is on their own different journey to remind people of their humanity. My mind is nourished constantly, and I am inspired to see art as a medium for communicating and unifying different people. For me, art lives in the Bay and it flows beyond too. The artistic community compliment each other --- dancers, visual artists, spoken word poets, musicians, and muralists are a few creators out there who are constantly collaborating.

Recently I found myself drawn into the Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland via an invitation to My Art, My Culture 2014 event. I went to see Amara Tabor-Smith; my UC Berkeley dance teacher and now also my traveling arts friend. 

She along with other amazing women, have been honored for their contributions to their communities here in the Bay Area. The event began with chatter, food and music. Afterwards, awards were given out. In the midst of feeling privileged to be in the same space as these wonderful contributors, I found myself appreciating art more deeply; in that it has the power to make a difference in any community. Art in its beauty as a stand alone entity, and art as a way of expressing independent voices, urging us to open our eyes, to always ask questions, and to move towards change and progressive thinking. Tears intermingled with smiles were spoken into the microphones as the murals grew taller behind the honorees. They spoke from the heart and shared their stories. Stories from the civil rights movement and the times of Malcolm X. Stories that talked about the epidemic of aids and a dance that honored the forgotten spirits of San Francisco. And stories still in the making, of a woman educating young students to use their art as a means to express their individuality. Colors, flowers, charcoal, crossing of lives, dancing through pain, and regardless of it all---the ever extending hand that reaches out for the next generation to be pulled up. I thought to myself, What am I leaving behind? Or better yet, What can I do for my community? 

I invite you to check out Betti Ono Art Gallery. I have also found a few websites about the honorees below, click on their names to learn more about their contributions.  

These artists all thanked the the Betti Ono Gallery for the recognition. Some of them have never been recognized for their contributions to their communities before. The event was a testimony as to how an art space can contribute to community members who make a difference in our world. 

Current Exhibit, "Don't Tell Women to Smile" by 
The mural representing the honorees.

To see more images and information about the Betti Ono Gallery and their My Art, My Culture 2014 event, check out the links below.