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Gathering our Bay Area Arts + Design Community: A Statement and Support about the Ghostship Fire

As our campus struggles with the tragedy of the Oakland Ghostship Fire -- including the loss of five beloved campus members -- we here at Berkeley Arts + Design are thinking about our community and our role in the Bay Area creative ecology. We mourn the loss of life and the damage done to a thriving community filled with artists, designers, musicians, and dreamers. The tragedy makes visible the arts ecosystem of the Bay Area arts, but it also makes visible the economic pressures on that ecosystem.

While there are more questions than answers at this time, we hope you will join us in honoring the thirty-six lives lost, including the five that were part of our Berkeley community. Among the thirty-six confirmed fatalities, two were Berkeley undergraduates, Jennifer Morris and Vanessa Plotkin; recently graduated alumni, David Cline and Griffin Madden, who also served on the staff of Cal Performances; and Chelsea Dolan, a volunteer at our campus radio station, KALX. Our campus, led by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, invites you to learn more about who they were and what we have lost. Please read more here. You can read Berkeley News' story on a vigil held on campus Thursday, and see the photo slide show, here. Meanwhile, as the entire Bay Area arts and design community continues to process this loss, we hope to meet you at gatherings across the East Bay and San Francisco where our regional partners are hosting spaces for reflection and mourning. We offer a partial list below: 


Relief Fund for Victims of Ghostship Oakland Fire
To donate to the victims, please see the You Caring funding page set up by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts here.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tonight, December 8, 2016 For anyone in need of a space to reflect, mourn, and heal, SFMOMA will offer free admission to all visitors tonight, December 8, 6–9 p.m. They offer their galleries for a moment of peace in remembrance of the lives lost in the tragic fire at Ghost Ship in Oakland. Read more here.

Oakland Museum of California
December 9, 2016 In honor of the victims of the fire, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will dedicate this Friday Nights @ OMCA to the memory of the fire victims. They will have a moment of silence at the 10th Street Plaza at 7 pm and will be offering other ways that evening and beyond for our community to share their remembrances and come together in support. Read more here.

UC Berkeley, Cal Performances
December 10, 2016 In a heartfelt gesture of understanding and compassion, Cal Performances is offering to members of the campus community complimentary tickets for the Saturday, December 10, 8 pm performance of Handel’s Messiah at Zellerbach Hall. (Please reserve tickets in advance here) This communal event, and the beauty of this music, will offer a special opportunity for solace, support and reflection in these saddest of times.

Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA) December 12 & 14, 2016 On Monday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 14, ABBA will be holding space for our community to listen deeply to each other and share stories that we need to share. Borrowing from the USDAC (United States Department of Arts & Culture, a people-powered community dedicated to inciting creativity in the service of empathy, equity, and social imagination) Story Circle framework to facilitate these offerings. Learn more about December 12 here, and December 14 here.

SFMOMA is also compiling a list of charities, concerts, and conversations here. We will also update this message on our website as we learn of more.

In solidarity,

Shannon Jackson
Associate Vice Chancellor, Arts + Design Initiative
Director, Arts Research Center