Clement Avenue Hosts BBQ, Art Fest


Merchants near the intersection of Clement Avenue and Broadway are celebrating the vibrancy of the neighborhood today and tomorrow.

From about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Urban Island Furnishings at 1901 Broadway (at Clement) will host the activities — both Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15.

Zee Zeleski and Steve Ferguson, shown in the photo above, helped set up gardens at the shop and organized work on a growing number of colorful mosaics in the area over the past year or so. They took their cues from Chuck DiGuida, who runs the nearby Bridgehead Studios on Blanding Avenue.

“I’d like to get this area, on the south side of Park Street, full of mosaics,” said DiGuida, in an interview in April.

“We’ve had a great response from the neighborhood,” said Steve Ferguson, who is head of the consignment shop. “The neighbors say the area is really looking attractive.”

Students and instructors from the Institute of Mosaic Art in the Jingletown district of Oakland (just across the Park Street Bridge) are responsible for the colorful mosaics going up in the area. “I started reaching out to certain individuals about this a few years ago,” said DiGuida. “I told them it’s a great space and would be great exposure for them.”

“I’m so happy with the murals’ colors,” Ferguson said last month. “We’re getting more people and more awareness of the artistic bent of this section of Alameda.”

“Like the gardens we’ve planted, I’d say the area itself has only just begun,” said Zeleski. “It’s a lot of fun to be here and work on building its creative atmosphere.”

DiGuida, who hopes to get more murals in place around the neighborhood, concurs. “It’s great to give the area some color and art, which let people know that this is a creative section of town full of artists, studios and businesses,” he said.


Over there across the Alameda estuary: Jingletown art show

There’s only a few more days to catch Alameda photographer Jan Watten’s work, which is up now through April 25 at the Pro Arts Gallery at 550 2nd Street in Oakland. The 10-person show, called Jingletown Junction, is a celebration of the art and artists who’ve made their home in the area of East Oakland between the High Street and Fruitvale bridges.


Watten, who also participated in the recent Alameda on Camera project now up at the Frank Bette Center, says her work for the Jingletown show includes portraits of neighborhood artists, many of whom she’s worked around for years. “I lived in Jingletown from 1984 to 1997,” says Watten. “Then then I got married and moved to Alameda—but I kept my studio because I loved it so much.”

Watten has two pieces in the show:

One piece is called An Aspect of my Jingletown [pictured left]. In the late ’80s, I started photographing people with objects—with something they felt revealed something about their identity. I’m going back to those people and photographing them again. The work is a grid of faces.

I also have some photographs I took with a plastic camera, a Holga. I photograph the neighborhood. I’m in love with my Holga—it’s freeing. You go out and you never know what you’re going to get. It’s sort of like zen photography.

The East Bay Express has a nice little write up of the show and more on the history of the Jingletown neighborhood.