Umami Mart

Reflections on last Friday's Oakland Art Murmur


I pictured writing a different sort of response to last Friday's Oakland Art Murmur and accompanying street festival. The fatal shooting of an 18-year-old, however, taints the memory of the evening and retroactively adds a hint of menace to the crowded streets.

In OAM's responding statement, what begins as condolence, transitions into a reaffirmation of the monthly festival's aims: "The Oakland Art Murmur and the First Friday Street Festival are the products of communities coming together to showcase the best of what people create together." As questions surround the future of the event — most pressingly, can it continue as before? — it is important to remember this.

The mood on the streets before the shooting was celebratory. In the stretch of street closed to traffic, random pockets of activity testified to the joyful and creative possibilities contained within a diverse crowd of thousands.

Read more »