Artists working to live and work in safer spaces in Oakland after Ghost Ship

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

Tanya Retherford took KTVU inside a 90-year-old warehouse in West Oakland where she is working with the city of Oakland on a first-of-its-kind project to build a live-work space completely up to code at 30th West Street, with a special variance from the planning department.

Retherford is the architect and a future tenant of the flagship project.

“This is going to be an artist’s, co-living working space when it’s completed with 13 residential spaces and studio space, dance floor, and workshop,” Retherford said.

She was part of an art collective at another warehouse that was evicted by their landlord immediately after the Ghost Ship fire took 36 lives in Dec. 2, 2016.

“What we’re trying to do is shift the paradigm so that people can develop spaces like this and work with the city,” Retherford said.

With numerous people living in non-permitted commercial spaces, two non-profit organizations are offering support.

The Oakland Warehouse Coalition and Safer DIY Spaces are two groups whose goal is try to bring properties up to code, while fighting to keep residents in their homes.

Jonah Strauss, executive director of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, said the organization was formed after immediately in the wake of Ghost Ship…

At the beginning of the year, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued an executive order to improve safety at unpermitted buildings. It aimed to prevent unnecessary displacement, among other things. Strauss and Keenan said city leaders are supportive of making spaces safer, but the order has largely been ignored by code enforcement (more)

It would be nice if more cities chose to help artist stay in place while they take care of safety problems as a response to dangerous living conditions rather than evict them and or fine them. Do it Yourself (DIY) projects are at the hart of the artists movements and have been for decades. Our city leaders should encourage that spirit of freedom to express ourselves instead of damping it down as they have done for as along as we can remember. This is the newest and only pioneering option we have left in this country, and any action to improve one’s life should be embraced. Make sure to share this with your local officials as a good way to combat dangerous living conditions without evicting people and adding to the homeless crisis.


At the Artists’ Loft Museum, Longtime Arts District Residents Are Refusing to Be Erased

By Catherine Wagley : laweekly – excerpt

Please don’t let the Arts District become unlivable for actual artists,” Michael Parker pleaded on Aug. 10, addressing the City Planning Commission and the developers behind the Camden Project, a mixed-use development slated to go up on Industrial Street downtown. Just 5 percent of the complex’s residential units are required to be affordable housing, which Parker doesn’t think is adequate. “There should be much, much, much, much, much, much, much more affordable housing and larger units so that dozens and dozens of 25-year-old artists from the CSU can afford it,” an effusive Parker said. He also mentioned the Artist Loft Museum of Los Angeles (ALMLA), the museum he started out of the Seaton Street studio in which he’s lived and worked since August 2001.

“What’s the name of your museum?” asked Planning Commission president David Ambroz.

“The ALMLA,” repeated Parker. “We have our first opening on Aug. 31, the last day of my lease, before I will be facing —”

“Now you’re slipping into testimony,” Ambroz interrupted. “The name of the museum I got.”…

Parker recently received notice that, upon the start of his new lease, his rent would increase by $2,050 a month — a 43 percent increase from what he’s been paying, and about 200 percent more than what he was paying six years ago — and that he would no longer be able to live in his studio, though the space has been zoned live-work for at least 25 years. He is working with lawyer Elena Popp of the Eviction Defense Network to fight these new terms, something a number of other artists in this city are doing, too. Parker also spent last Wednesday morning in court, after his landlord’s lawyer sent Popp a temporary restraining order against ALMLA’s opening. The judge ruled that the opening could legally go ahead, as long as Parker kept attendance under 49 people at a time. “You’ve wasted enough of my time,” Parker recalls the judge saying after she emerged from her chambers with a decision…(more)

Who knew in the 1970’s when Beaux Arts was under pressure to close one of the first “live-work” art and entertainment centers, that San Francisco and Los Angeles would face the same fate forty years later. Seems the establishment can’t stand art and creative thinkers.

JoEllen Schilke

JoEllen and her Dad, Donald Joseph Schilke, remembered

Dear Friends of Beaux Arts,

On Tuesday, April 10, The Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg)  Times had an obituary for; Donald Joseph Schilke, JoEllens’ dad. Since many of you know JoEllen through her now-closed Globe Coffee Lounge in St. Petersburg and know how supportive she was for Beaux Arts and the people who went to the Globe after Beaux Arts, I am passing on this information. I am asking you to please show support for JoEllen at this time in her life. The online Guestbook is at

The Memorial Service will be 1 pm on Saturday, April 21, at Anderson-Mcqueen Funeral Homes, 2201 Dr. ML King St. North, St Petersburg. The obituary suggests that instead of flowers, please consider donating to WMNF, 1210 E. MLK Jr. Blvd., Tampa FL 33603. (JoEllen has a long-time show there named ‘Art In Your Ear’  and she is now a full-time employee there working as Volunteer Coordinator, Outreach, and lots of other tasks). If you are able to make a donation to the station,  please consider mentioning Beaux Arts so JoEllen is aware of that.
Also, please feel free to mention this to any people you know who have been to the Globe or Beaux Arts.

I used to see her dad at the Globe frequently, and he was always a friendly man. And, JoEllen also sponsored a Benefit for Tom Reese, when he first went into the hospital. We owe a lot to JoEllen.

Thank you!

Malcolm Johnson

New Photobucket collection

New Beaux Arts Photo collection.

Chris is creating a new photo collection from his Beaux Arts gallery. If you have trouble viewing the collection, you may log in using your facebook ID. If want to add to the collection or send Chris your files, contact him here:   Chris Skillman

Have fun.


“The 3rd Annual CIRQUE DU SURREAL” at Beaux Arts

“The 3rd Annual CIRQUE DU SURREAL” at Beaux Arts

cirque du surreal poster

“The 3rd Annual CIRQUE DU SURREAL” on Friday, January 8 at 6:00pm.

Event: The 3rd Annual CIRQUE DU SURREAL
What: Opening
Start Time: Friday, January 8 at 6:00pm
End Time: Friday, January 8 at 10:00pm
Where: Beaux Arts, 709 S. Missouri Ave., Clearwater

To see more details and RSVP, follow the links below:

This just in from the producers…

Events at the new Beaux Arts in Clearwater

We have had a great time since opening night setting the Guinness world’s record for largest movie camera collection inc. Hollywood props from Liz Taylor’s “Cleopatra”, Boris Karlof. & Bela Lugosi-even
Gumby and “Rocket Girl”. Lots of fun for all and even a film festival!

Dec.4th’s show “Dissection” was a full house and much fun featuring 21 artists, musicians and poets with a great crowd enjoying themselves immensely and we managed to recaptue the sense of “family” that the orignal Beaux Arts had. No one wanted it to end – artists and crowd alike. “Cirque du Surreal” opens Jan.3rd-8th.

– Chris and Jay

Stay tuned for videos and photos of the event: