Ghost Ship: Remembrance, Grieving, and Healing Through Arts

By Kadesh Carter

On the Friday night of Dec 2th, 2016, many in Oakland were met with the shocking news that a space that was being served as a venue had been engulfed in flames, and many were unaccounted for. Upon hearing this people immediately turned to Facebook asking for a response from posting on friends and loved ones pages. Steady checking if messages were read, or responded to. Phone calls were made with the optimistic, yet frozen in time, hope that the person receiving the call was at different location for the night. It was the longest weekend in the history of the Oakland arts community.

Because of how the arts community in Oakland is shaped — both music and visual arts are intertwined and connected, attracting like minded individuals to this particular venue on this night. Locally there are people of various ages, ethnic backgrounds, art mediums, music genres who make up the artist community, therefore it was not clear of exactly who was apart of the missing when the news broke. Of the 36 who were killed that night it was astounding to many to learn how in some way, they were all connected in the art community.

Here in Oakland, art is what brings together people, and mends creative makers together. Making art a voice of many voices.

Upon hearing about the tragedy Howard Flax of the generational owned Bay Area art store Flax And Design, contacted a group that had been formed from the Ghost Ship tragedy by the name of We The Artists of the Bay Area to see what could be done to honor those who were not able to return home after a night of the enjoyment that is frequently shared by both artists and Oakland community members week after week.

Together Flax Art And Design and WABA has teamed up to produce the tribute art show “heArt Is Oakland” which will be held July 1st at Classic Cars West. Flax Art And Design providing art materials for the first registered 100 artist to create tribute artwork which will be sold in a silent auction for DIY artist spaces. A genuine gesture that has connected many, and created bonds in the process.

Though the media announced Ghost Ship as a rave site, many know that the conditions of this particular DIY artist space is not a reflection of all creative spaces within the city, and yet it’s uniqueness was still was one that brought people together for the appreciation of the arts.

Faced with immediate evictions from cautious landlords since the fire, many artists have been displaced as recent as the last 7 days. Families of loved ones lost are still seeking answers and are still overwhelmed with sadness. This is a time that many need something to feel safely connected to while rightly grieving. This is a time to express emotions of a shift that has forever changed Oakland arts

Oakland is a field of creative flowers that bloom through the cracks of cement despite Oakland being one of the most unaffordable places for artists to live, and create. Resulting in artists live work spaces, and venues that are created by artists for the arts.

Through it all, and through out time, the arts has always been a language that many speak. People coming together at a current time when racial tensions are high, learning how to ignore economic status differences, art driving city festivals, directing achritecture, artists turning street walls into canvases and influencing the world, it is the artists of this unique town who have helped shape to make Oakland, California as beautiful as it is. And this is why we as a city wide community, and global arts community must always remember Ghost Ship.

Community members who would like to remember those who were at Ghost Ship can do so by creating a piece for the July art exhibit. Rather you are a beginner or advanced artist all submissions are encouraged and welcomed.

To register as an artist for the “heArt Is Oakland” exhibition visit

Artists and landlords seeking resources for managing creative/DIY safer spaces visit


How To Host A Successful Open Studio Event


Does this sound familiar?

You paid for and approved your listing in the East Bay Open Studio Guide. You spent $50 picking up wine and snacks for your guests. But by the close of the day, your only sale is a $30 print. And the majority of people who stopped by are your family and friends.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

What if instead:

  • You opened the door and welcomed dozens of past collectors
  • You created a memorable experience that visitors shared with their friends
  • You strengthened existing collector relationships and built new ones
  • The event paid your studio rent for the next few months

Join a panel of artists and marketers on May 20th. And walk away knowing tactics you can immediately put into place. So that this year can be your best Open Studios yet.

Best of all, these tactics don’t just apply to Open Studios! You’ll be able to use them anytime you host an in-person event: art fairs, group shows, street festivals, craft shows, and bazaars.

Our panelists will share:

  • How to tell the story of what makes you and your art unique
  • How to create a great art collecting experience for your visitors
  • How effectively distribute your postcards and printed materials
  • How to use email and social media to convince your audience to join you in-person
  • How to close the sale, without feeling sales-y
  • Their own Open Studios experiences, both good and bad

After our panel wraps, you’ll be able to join our panelists and your fellow artists for a reception.


10:00 am – 11:30 am: Panel Discussion

Confirmed Panelists: Corey Egan (Jeweler), Bobby Arte (Artist), Kadesh Carter (Oasis Art Design), Summer Romasco (Artist and Digital Marketer) and Sharon Schrank (Gap, Inc.)

11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Reception

To purchase tickets to this event click here.


Hosted by Oakland Art Murmur


heART Is Oakland – Tribute Art Show


Call for “heArt is Oakland”

Statement: Through art, there is community. Through tragedy, there is hope. Through hope, we can overcome. On December 2, 2016, Oakland experienced the tragic loss of 36 unique and creative souls in the devastating Ghost Ship fire. This city, rich in visual artists and musical talents from diverse backgrounds, has a creative community unlike any in the world. For many, local art & music provides an outlet for expression, freedom, and communication. We The Artists Of The Bay (WABA) and Flax Art & Design have teamed up to offer a community benefit art show- heArt is Oakland . “This is a call for heArt, which we define as works that speak to Oakland’s unique artistic soul”. Tyler Hanson
What: A benefit exhibition with the theme heArt is Oakland, which will serve as a tribute to the victims of the Ghost Ship fire, and a opportunity to lift up the art and artists that beat within the city’s heart.
Where and When: July 1-31, 2017 at Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland, CA 94612. This family-friendly venue will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday each week during the show.
Why: Through art there is community. This will serve as a visual perspective and dialogue to continue the support of local artists, and the DIY spaces in which they live and work.
Benefit: All artworks submitted will be sold in a silent auction, which will be held open for the duration of the exhibition. All proceeds will support safe housing for artists. Bids for each piece will start at $50.
Eligibility: The show is limited to 100 participants. Any Bay Area resident of any age and art ability is welcome to participate. To remove any entry restrictions, Flax Art & Design is donating art supplies. It is the hope of WABA and FLAX to include all art submitted to the benefit art show. Depending on the scope of submissions, WABA & FLAX will be selecting art based on diversity of style and representation of the theme, heArt is Oakland. This will be a blind process based solely on choosing images that represent the meaning of heArt. Artists whose work is not installed in the show will be contacted for pick up. All art submitted will on display for the duration of the show and available for auction.
Registration Date: May 1 – May 31, 2017
Art Material Available at FLAX (Must register first): May 1 – May 31
Deadline to Drop Off Finished Pieces: June 25
Final Selection Process Ends: June 30
Event Dates (including Silent Auction): July 1 – July 31
Opening Reception: July 1
Deadline for Picking Up Unsold Artwork: August 6
Requirements for Size and Materials: To maximize the number of participating artists, the art is limited to two-dimensional works no larger than 18”x 24”. Artists may visit Flax to pick-up free art supplies to create their heArt is Oakland artwork, which includes either a stretched canvas or wood panel. FLAX will also distribute additional art materials that can be used to create pieces. Materials are limited and will be available on a first- come, first- served basis.

What is heArt Is Oakland?
heART Is Oakland is an open call for work by established and emerging artists who wish to pay tribute to the victims of the devastating Ghost Ship fire. This is a community call for heArt.
What is the reason for this event?
Our aim is to give Oakland artists an opportunity to honor the spirit and celebrate the lives of those lost in the warehouse fire,. We hope to shift the attention to Oakland’s treasures, its artists and their works, and let their works provide meaning to the community.
Who can participate in the art show?
Anyone of any age. This is a community art show for new, beginning, and continuing artists.
Who is WABA?
We the Artists of the Bay Area (WABA) is an inclusive organization of artists, tenants, and community activists dedicated to working with city officials to ensure safe, long-term spaces for the creative community in Oakland, the larger Bay Area, and throughout the United States. WABA was formed in response to the Ghost Ship tragedy that occurred on December 2, 2016, and has quickly become one of the largest self-organized coalitions for members of the creative community in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Who is Flax Art & Design?
As the Bay Area’s oldest and well-loved retail art supply business, Flax has been serving the creative community since 1938. A family-owned and operated business that returned to Oakland last year (there was a store on Telegraph in the 1950s), FLAX has a long history of supporting artists and the arts community. FLAX is located at 1501 Martin Luther King Jr Dr.
Where will the funds from the art show go?
  • Vital Arts
This show is being produced by Kulturehaus & Oasis Art Design