Keep Oakland Beautiful Grant

In October of 2015, Nomadic Press received a $675.46 grant from Keep Oakland Beautiful to plant California native sidewalk gardens near our Oakland Workspace! Each plant will be labeled with the plant's common name (in English and Spanish) along with one educational line about the plant (in English and Spanish) for the community and especially the schools that walk their kids on community field trips right past our space nearly every week. Thank you to Keep Oakland Beautiful for continuing to fund positive, community-led and environmentally beneficial change.

Below, please see a few of Arthur Johnstone's renderings that helped us get the grant. Thanks, Arty!

Bike Corral Through the City of Oakland Public Work's In-Street Bicycle Parking Corrals Program

 Nomadic Press' application for a FREE City-sponsored bike corral was approved, and installation came soon thereafter. 

Visitors to Nomadic's Oakland Workspace in Fruitvale will be pleased to find an eight-bike corral for easy bike parking during their visit. Many thanks to the City of Oakland - Local Government / Jennifer Stanley of City of Oakland Public Works Agency for offering / managing the In-Street Bicycle Parking Corrals program!

If you own a business / organization and would like your own corral, please find more information here. 

Austin Square Park

Nomadic Press cares about our community and our local environment in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. As such,  and in close partnership with a number of community and government organizations, we have adopted a creekside parcel around the corner from our Oakland Workspace at the intersection of East 22nd Street and Austin Street. It has tentatively been named Austin Square Park.

While working closely with the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda, Friends of Sausal Creek, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), and innumerable community volunteers, we have begun the process of restoring this parcel through clearing debris, removing invasive species, building basic infrastructure, such as steps down to the creek and retaining walls, and planting California native species. It is our collective hope that this parcel will be opened to the public in a few years' time as a public park. 

When we first adopted the parcel, we invited Jordan Weber, an artist who we had previously worked with in our second annual journal publication, Decay, to create a mural along Sausal Creek. From Des Moines, IA, Weber is a renowned artist that continues to push the boundaries on issues related to race and gentrification across the United States, and we thought that his vision would be a great fit for our community. But as an "outsider"—and due to a number of other unforeseen issues—his work was viewed less favorably and was defaced a month after it had been painted. Here's a gallery of the transmutations of the mural:

You'll notice that the final picture is a green wall. Through months of dialogue with the folks that defaced the mural—brought about through the help of a number of wonderful community intermediaries, such as Freddy Gutierrez of The Unity Council Latino Men and Boys group, Michael Muscadine and Ruben Leal of CURYJ, East Side Arts Alliance, and artists, including Sal Cortez, Leslie Lopez, Peps, Aslan Beautification Movement (ADM), Visual Element Youth Group, and Albert Simone (Beto)—we were able to better understand their completely legitimate and understandable issues with the original mural. Through open dialogue and understanding the positions of all those involved, we were able to find common cause and move forward together on the design of a new mural that is more representative of local community issues, with many thanks to Aztlan Beautification Movement, a program of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice. We are excited to announce that a new mural inclusive of the Ohlone, water rights, and eco-consciousness imagery will be up by the end of April 2015 (pictures to come!). 

The whole process really drove home the importance of including all pertinent parties within the community when moving forward on community projects, such as murals. We made mistakes, but in the end, a more inclusive community project arose, and we couldn't be happier. 

RADIO: Sabrina Jacobs, host of KPFA's "A Rude Awakening," interviews J. K. Fowler on April 13, 2015 (interview starts at around 10:28) regarding the mural project

Following the "Landscaped Legacies: Images of a California Pig Farmer" event on April 4, 2015, with cultural anthropologist Dr. Gail Myers and photographer Michael Santiago, we travelled together to Austin Square Park and planted five fruit trees along the banks of Sausal Creek.

On March 19, 2015, J. K. Fowler of Nomadic Press gave a short presentation to about 80 kids from Y-Plan Project from University of California, Berkeley, who ended their urban tour of Fruitvale with a stop at Austin Square Park. See the video below. 

Sidewalk Gardens

We also want to beautify small sidewalk strips that have been long forgotten but are passed by on a daily basis by folks going to work. We realize it's only a few flowers, but just a few splashes of color and natural beauty along concrete pathways is usually enough to get folks to crack a smile. See some pictures below:

Adopt-A-Drain Program

We are joining a growing team of community members who are taking to the streets to reclaim the City of Oakland's drains to keep them clear of trash and debris, which helps avoid flooding but also keeps trash from flowing into the San Francisco Bay. See a few of our features in the local news below:

Oakland NorthOaklanders prevent flooding by adopting storm drains

CBS KPIX 5 News: Oakland Residents Urged To Adopt A Storm Drain