Janet Koike, left, and Jacqueline Cooper came up with the idea of a gallery walk in 2009.
Galleries and studios embrace second Fridays for the Estuary Art Attack.
If the crowds at the “amazing carnival” that is Oakland’s Art Murmur are too daunting, there is an alternative: The Second Friday art walk, also known as Estuary Art Attack, comprises more than a dozen venues dotting a mile-long route along Alameda’s Park Street and into Oakland’s Jingletown.
“It has a different tone and vibe,” says Chris Rummell, manager of Redux Studios & Gallery in Alameda. “It’s not the street-party mayhem. I’ve had a hard time going to an opening and seeing artwork when the gallery’s totally slammed. It’s nice to take in an event that’s a little more low-key and spread out.”
Now in its sixth year, the art walk is the brainchild of Janet Koike of Rhythmix Cultural Works and Jacqueline Cooper of Autobody Fine Art. Remarking upon the wealth of local artists they decided “that nothing ever happened in Alameda, and we should do something,” according to Cooper. Koike says it was important to build a sense of connection and community between artists and galleries “to get people out to experience art everywhere.”
They launched in April 2009 with 16 galleries and studios, according to Chuck DiGuida, owner of Bridgehead Studio, the de facto after-party venue set to reopen in 2015 following renovations. He proposed the moniker “Estuary Art Attack” because “it’s not [just] an art walk,” he says. “We have had guerilla bands crashing our studios. Fire dancers and whirling dervishes, rooftop bands and fire jugglers. Some of the venues are very raw. They’re upstairs above auto shops. They’re converted steel factories and warehouses.”
Although participating galleries have come and gone, “right now it’s the strongest it’s been in the past several years,” DiGuida says. There are plans to revive a board to oversee the walk’s growth and development, including drawing a clearer distinction between art venues and venues that happen to have art, and also raising funds for a shuttle to carry visitors from gallery to gallery.
More information on the Second Friday Art Walk can be found at www.Facebook.com/2ndFridayArt.