The Art Murmur is Oakland’s version of Portland’s Last Thursday. Just as DIY, 90% smaller, but a great spectacle among the grittiness of downtown Oakland. It’s on a small street, with several art galleries, a neighborhood coffee shop called Mama Buzz, a bar off to the side, and one of the best volunteer run art collectives in the area, Rock Paper Scissors- which will let you use their many different kinds of sewing machines, teach you how to worm compost, and entertain you with movie nights.
The Art Murmur, named after “Heart Murmur” is a collection of artists, cyclists, burning man folks, freaks, musicians and bystanders, who together block off the street with performances, music, and tables that sell hand screened shirts, illustrations, and vegan cupcakes. Oakland is exceptionally into industrial arts: from metal spiders that roast hot dogs, to life size hamster balls, you’ll find it at the Art Murmur.
The First Friday of every month is art night in Oakland. All over the city art galleries open up to the public, introduce their artists personally, serve wine, and sell art. The Art Murmur is the most DIY component of first Friday and happens in a very specific location- 23rd and Telegraph for those of you who are planning a trip down to the Bay.
Amy Mosley, one of the founders of the Art Murmur says “the Art Murmur grew from the grassroots organizing of the multitude of non-commercial art spaces that thrive in Oakland, with the ‘murmur’ referring to the little known secret that is the Oakland arts scene. Of course, the murmur has only gotten louder: originally we were 8 gallery spaces, and now we are nearly 20, all inside a small geographical zone. At the heart is Rock Paper Scissors Collective, which has worked endlessly to invite community groups to participate, and really diversify the event. Mostly, if it’s going on in Oakland, it might be happening at Art Murmur.”