Last weekend at Oakland City Hall, crowds of people showed up to attend the annual Oakland Book Festival, whose theme this year was “Equality/Inequality.” The festival featured lectures, book readings, and panels given by local and international writers, novelists, poets, activists, and artists.
Many of the presenters hailed from Berkeley, including our very own Shannon Jackson. Other esteemed colleagues spoke, including Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Arlie Hochschild, Ramona Naddaff, Wendy Brown, Jeff Chang, and Mark Grief.
Shannon Jackson moderated the panel discussion “Envisioning Equity in the Arts.” For some, equity means a living wage for artists, but for others, it means giving a platform for marginalized voices. The question asked was, “what does a holistic approach to equity in the art world look like?” Panelists Anyka Barber, founder of Betti Ono, Dena Beard, Executive Director of The Lab, Maria Jenson, Executive Director of SOMArts Cultural Center, and Patricia Maloney, Executive Director of Southern Exposure, all shared a dialogue over this question.
Back in Berkeley, Shannon and other Civic Arts Committee members have championed a 1% for Public Art Plan that will cultivate public art in the city and support artists. The same committee also gave a grant to CREATE, part of the Public Service Center, to further enhance a program for Berkeley student volunteers in Arts Education.