Kiese and Tressie both wrote for, to, and about those of us who carry Blackness with us everywhere we go. The thin white woman beside me folds her legs all the way up and gathers her knees to her chest. Her elbow is in my way and it nearly pokes me. “I’m so tiny,” […]
Naming Gallery: The Place to Be on 15th St.
The Naming Gallery
on 15th St in Downtown Oakland is nestled in next to
just down the street from
artist Mbire and his space,
and a few doors down from what will soon be a vintage shop featuring clothes, records, and arcade games, a brain child of Naming Gallery’s owner,
Naming gallery opened about 7 months ago. Kevn Tijeria, who I have been trying to meet with for months now and finally ran into at the opening of Flight Deck and Township, volunteers at Naming Gallery. Kevn is a textile artist, who like most of us artists, has stapled together many different gigs to keep herself afloat. At Naming Gallery, she is a craft organizer, has been the point person for vendors such as Oakland Drops Beats and helps around the studio with anything and everything she can. From “lowering the weird microphone juice that needs to be emptied from the speakers,” to taking out the garbage. “That is the beauty of this space,” she says, “we all jump in and help. Kevn runs Craft City on Fridays, a community interactive event with a different theme each time. You can bring supplies or use what they have. All ages are invited. It is a low-key place to meet artists and community members and make a little something creative yourself.
Naming Gallery is officially open Wed- Sat from 12 to 6, however there is often someone hanging out in there during the day, doing some work, having a conversation, chilling and inviting people in to check out the space. It is all volunteer run. As Kevn points out, “the only people getting paid are the artists when they make a sale.” Everyone who is there is there because they want to be- because they care about art and community.
As much as the space is a Gallery, it is also a community gathering spot. There is a kid who makes cupcakes and cookies, Xochi’s was just there making taquitos recently, and a man from one of the apartment complexes behind the gallery showed up with food for everyone one night. He had made food and a lot of it! On the way over, he enlisted the little girl from the corner shop to help bring it over and everyone had dinner together.
Jesse is the tech guy who makes the operation work. He is also a craft coordinator, focusing more on the tech side of things, like Facebook.
The current artist at Naming Gallery is Patricia Mera. Her show, Spectrum, runs until july 5th. The next closing party is the last saturday of the month. The next show goes from July 11th to August 7th with the opening party on the 11th. The next artist they will be showcasing is Miles Tickler. In August, the Naming Gallery is looking to put together a group show to highlight all of the artists that make the gallery run.
James Otto Seibold, a local artist, does Naming Gallery’s logo. Elsewhere Philatelic Society has a cheese plate on the construction wall across from the gallery, and runs a giant scavenger hunt. They showed at Naming Gallery recently and their main focus is art stamps. Check out their scavenger hunt map here. Openings are the 2nd saturdays and the space is available to rent out for events after hours as well!
As we talk, people walk in and out. Joseph’s dog smells the many cat smells on me and then begrudging settles into the chair, since we have taken the couch. “Naming is doing this,” Kevn says, “making me accountable. Lisa and Joseph push it by having people ready to show…it is kind of a new take on having an art bubble. It is really important for me to be around business woman and in the long run Id like to be my own business woman. Everyone is just bouncing off the walls- we are like little atoms. But this is what works.”
Head over to Naming on Fridays for Craft City! The most recent Craft City was Masks & Maze, a community art gathering where people of all ages got together to make masks on the sidewalk of 15th street and check out the art and scene at Naming Gallery!
Check out future artists during open hours or just meander by the space at any time. Chances are someone will welcome you in.