Art close to home is a valuable tool to enrich the lives of many residents. However, it can be daunting to know where to start looking. Exploring the multitude of art choices Berkeley offers is key to being able to enjoy them in our day to day lives.
For Greta Graham, “One of the most amazing places you can see art in Berkeley is through the murals.” Graham thinks of the murals as a symbol of Berkeley’s culture and its residents. “They show that art doesn’t always need to be carefully thought through on canvas,” she said. The notion that art doesn’t need to be in a museum is one with great significance.
“You can find them everywhere and they have lots of different styles,” Graham continued. “There are some beautiful ones around Fourth Street. They can be done through the city or by individual artists,” she elaborated.
These murals tell powerful stories about Berkeley. From the wall of Amoeba Music speaking anti-war messages to Southwest Berkeley where the mural Living Without Borders calls attention to the relationship between race and gentrification.
Museums and other traditional establishments are still a pillar of Berkeley’s art scene. Simon Cheng recommends the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), located at 2155 Center St.
“They have a couple galleries and they’ve got the theater,” Cheng said. Cheng appreciates the originality of the art as well as the variety. “It rotates quite often so you can see a bunch of different stuff,” he continued.
Cheng believes this variety opens the audience up to a stream of unique emotions and responses. “It’s a very freeing experience,” he said, speaking about his experience at the BAMPFA museum.
Founded in 1881, the museum’s collection has expanded tremendously over the last 50 years. In alignment with their mission statement, they strive to ‘ignite critical dialogue.’ This appeal to discussion is exactly what Cheng sees in BAMPFA. It is a space that welcomes debate and doesn’t tell you what you are seeing.
Chloe Rappaport values The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall, situated at 2036 University Ave. “I enjoy seeing artists perform in a smaller venue,” Rappaport said. “You have to get there early to get up close, so it’s easier to see the artist,” she continued. “There’s also food and a bar if you want to order,” she added. First opened as a film theater, the theatre is now a City of Berkeley landmark.
“One of the main reasons I attend is to help support smaller artists,” Rappaport said. “There aren’t many stages that are as welcoming to up and coming musicians as here,” she added.
One thing remains clear: taking advantage of the art around us is crucial. Art in Berkeley takes many different forms while still having a powerful impact on the community.