The Addison Streetscape Project
Overview: Addison Street Arts District
The Addison Street Arts District was the lynchpin of Berkeley's Downtown revitalization effort. Addison between Shattuck and Milvia was designated Berkeley’s downtown Arts District. The District was developed through a collaborative partnership of arts and cultural organizations, private developers, and the City of Berkeley. It contains a vibrant mélange of arts group and businesses, creating a critical mass that defines the Arts District. The Addison Street Window Gallery, a cooperative effort between the Civic Arts Commission and the community, continually features the visual art of local Bay Area artists. Performing arts groups such as the Berkeley Rep and Aurora Theater have successfully established themselves in the Arts District along with the acclaimed Jazzschool, the Capoeira Arts Café, and historic Freight and Salvage.
The Arts District has expanded beyond its original boundaries with the relocation to Downtown of the University's Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Judah Magnes Museum, the Shotgun Players playhouse, Central Works Theater and other cultural organizations. Eventually, Addison Street will have the capability of showcasing public performances in the street, which can be blocked to motor traffic at Shattuck and Milvia as needed. The Arts District has effectively stimulated the revitalization of Downtown Berkeley, which is developing as an exciting urban arts center.
Addison Streetscape Project
City planners have undertaken a major redevelopment of the Addison Streetscape, which now includes a prominent public art component. The Addison Streetscape public art project is an extensive makeover of the sidewalk between Shattuck and Milvia. This project celebrates the Downtown Arts District, honors Berkeley’s poetry heritage and the history of crafts in California, and provides an uplifting focal point for Addison Street and Downtown Berkeley.
Eight Berkeley artists, Lynne- Rachel Altman, Jenny Cole, Carolynn Haydu, Diana Maria Rossi, Rebecca Schwarz, Nancy Selvin, Sofie Siegmann and April Watkins were selected to create individual sidewalk artwork inserts which are placed at individual points along a weaving band running the length of the sidewalk. Between the colored band and the street is the Addison Street Poetry Walk, which displays poetry and prose selections which thematically relate to Berkeley, edited by Robert Hass, professor of literature at University of California at Berkeley and former Poet Laureate of the United States. The complete text of all the literary selections was published as The Addison Street Anthology, through the generosity of private donors. The City's Parking Garage also features two permanent art installations on the exterior walls of the garage along Addison Street.