For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, (510) 981-7533

INVENTORY OF WEST BERKELEY TO PRESERVE AND PROMOTE FINE ARTS AND CRAFT STUDIO SPACE

Berkeley, California (Thursday, June 14, 2007) - West Berkeley has been known for decades as a creative center for some of the region’s best arts and crafts. But Berkeley is growing, and an important part of protecting the artistic work being done in the area is to have a good picture of its size and scope.

In order to establish a baseline understanding of the fine arts and craft studio space, the City of Berkeley’s Civic Arts Commission, at the request of the Berkeley City Council, is conducting an arts inventory in West Berkeley. In order to do this survey, a consultant hired by the Civic Arts Program will knock on West Berkeley studio doors and ask scripted questions from artists and crafts people. He will identify himself and have a letter of introduction from the Civic Arts Commission. If you wish to be included in this inventory and feel you are not easily identifiable from the street as an arts/craft studio, you can email the Civic Arts Coordinator, mmerker@ci.berkeley.ca.us, with your address and the consultant will visit you and include your space in the inventory.

 The purpose of the inventory is solely to gather information about arts activity. In fall, once the survey is done, a map will be created that will show the existence of the studios inventoried. The results will be shared with the public and the City Council.

The specific zones for this inventory are commercial rental spaces within the M, MM, MU-R, MU-Ll, (zoning classifications) and Commercial Districts only, from San Pablo Avenue west to Eastshore, and from the north and south City limits.  The Civic Arts Commission is starting with this area because it is referenced in the West Berkeley Plan. The City Council recognizes that reliable data concerning the magnitude of this creative community is a necessary step toward preserving and protecting the arts/studio use.

The Civic Arts Commission is charged with promoting the arts and urban beautification of the City of Berkeley.  The Commission advises the City of Berkeley Civic Arts Program located in the Office of Economic Development. The Civic Arts Program sponsors a Public Art Program, a Civic Arts Grant Program for non-profits, technical assistance, arts marketing and cultural tourism, contracts to community agencies, fundraising and is developing an arts in education committee within the Civic Arts Commission.

For more information about the inventory, contact MaryAnn Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator at (510) 981-7533 or mmerker@ci.berkeley.ca.us.

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