Best place to see art in the Oakland?
I'm biased...Swarm Gallery!
What's your take on the art scene here?
Accessible and abundant. It's exciting to be a part of historically, but difficult to say if the momentum of this visual art scene will be fruitful for commercial galleries in Oakland, specifically. Oakland's been "on the brink" for 30 years. Despite this uncertainty though, I wouldn't have opened shop anywhere else.
How did you get involved with Swarm?
I met my business partner in 2005. I gave him a proposal for one of his buildings. I wanted a multidisciplinary arts space with a gallery, studios, artists workshop, print shop, maybe a cafe. Our working name for the space was "hive labs" (based on the collaborative concept, but that name was too commonsensical) -- We eventually came up with "Swarm" and that stuck. The original concept was too heavy of a financial obligation for me, so I decided to par down and "grow the business." Swarm opened in March 2006 and is a place that brings art and people together in innovative ways. The business model includes the gallery and project space, 11 artist studios open to the public during gallery hours, lectures with art world professionals, artist receptions and creative-based events. It's a pretty synergistic creative environment.