Admit it, Oakland California will strike fear into the hearts of those who believe what they see on the news all the time. A theft here, a shoot-out there, it is easy to consider never coming to Oakland unless there’s a death-wish in mind. But, Oakland is not what the news likes to portray it. Oakland is home to many budding ideas of creativity, especially in downtown Oakland, where there are eclectics and many like-minded people who will find inspiration for their work, be it a story or even very vibrantly colored Spanish murals. Oakland also produces famous artists, including Afro-centric rap groups from the 1990’s like 93’ Til Infinity, or even famous actors like Tom Hanks or actor/comedian Mitch Mullany. If you are not afraid to explore the depths of Oakland’s wild and unpredictable terrain, be prepared to experience a culture that is its own. And also prepare to find inspiration, even in the most unexpected of places.
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To many artists, there’s nothing more frustrating than not finding good inspiration to express their talents. But in Oakland, inspiration is everywhere. The loud roar of the AC Transit becomes a soundtrack with a mix of people talking, dogs barking, and cars screeching. For sounds most would find unpleasant, they blend to become a soundtrack that’s perfect. It would inspire a musician to create their take on Oakland’s hustle and bustle of society. Or the flit of birds as they weave in and out of berry bushes inspires a cartoonist to create comic strips based on our woodland friends. Any child with an artistic eye could look at this town and feel ideas for new art pieces flourishing in their minds as they observe the people, the music, the food even, as they grab their tools of trade and show their parents and family how they view this eclectic town. When it comes to eclectic, Oakland can give San Francisco a run for its money. It has that Metropolitan feel with the apartments, mini-towns, building after building of businesses stacked together like perfect-fitting puzzle pieces. The only difference is that it brings in many different people from all walks of life. They could be the Hippies and Dread-heads from Humboldt, the Gothic punks from bratty Berkeley, all the way down to the Southern Beauty Queen from Atlanta; they all come to Oakland to mingle their styles into one large melting pot that many can no longer distinguish and place this city into an archetypal category. It has the charm of sly New York, the friendliness of Southern hospitality, the toughness of cocky New Jersey and Boston, even the calm tranquility of Pennsylvanian Quakers. It is a town that many who enter and leave will never forget. For those of a political air, Oakland is the place to be for the future political manifesto-writers, protestors, and artists with a social-conscious focus. Oakland has been a landmark of famous protest, like Occupy Oakland, or even the growth of the Black Panther Party, a political group that protested against police brutality and the racial injustice that plagued Oakland in the 60’s. Oakland was the place to be to protest and question society’s norms. Artists could express themselves with murals that are placed on the streets and avenues that tell what are the issues Oakland and the world in general needs to fix. Anyone who visits Oakland will not only get a sense of artistic enrichment, but will also gain a philosophical experience questioning and developing ideas about our roles in American societies. Oakland will forever be an artist’s paradise!
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