Oakland: Organizers Trying to Keep Monthly Street Art Party Alive

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    NEWSLETTERS

    First Friday's street art festival may have seen last days if organizers are unable to find funding. Jean Elle reports. (Published Friday, Jun 7, 2013)

    First Fridays is hoping Oakland hasn't seen the last of the one of a kind event.

    The street art party is free to attend, but organizers say with police and other costs the price tag to throw the monthly party is $20,000.

    The City of Oakland has been footing the bill for months and after kicking in $500,000, it's pulling the plug.

    Organizers are now asking for donations and developing a vendor fee schedule to try and keep the party alive.

    Isioma Copes says, "We have long term goals like getting grants, but those take time. We have immediate need for money now to keep the event going month to month."

    Rush from Beast Oakland, a vendor at the event, says he's willing to pay to play but he's not sure other artists will contribute.

    "If they start charging people they are (going to) start moving down the street," he says.

    At this point Copes says an entrance fee is not on the table. But some regulars say if that's what it takes to save the event they are willing to help out.

    Habib from Oakland says, "This event is really a big loss if it's gone. Really big loss."

    While First Fridays works on a financial plan organizers say with a little help from the city it has enough money to have an event in July. At this point no one is sure First Fridays will be around in August.