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The Soul of the People: Oakland Gallery Showcases Bay Area Artists

By Allison Wilson

Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland showcases the rich culture and creativity of the Bay Area through arts exhibitions, workshops, book signings, film screenings, and performance art. Inspired by her own desire to become an artist and her belief in the importance of art in the community, Gordon opened her namesake 1,500-square-foot downtown gallery in 2003.

"Through conversations about a particular piece of art, music or spoken word, we begin to have a better understanding and appreciation for cultures outside of our own," Gordon says. "Oftentimes we don't know what we don't know or why we respond in ways toward people who may be different until information is presented to us in an art form that is easier to digest. I find artists to be the soul of the people, expressing political thought, needs, wants, and desires as we journey through this life, which might otherwise be difficult to express."

Growing up in Berkeley, Gordon was surrounded by creative thinkers and artists, who inspired her to become part of their world. Artists featured in her gallery are primarily from the Bay Area and include sculptor David Ruth, who creates custom cast glass for individual collectors, architects and designers; Kathy Kuhn, an abstract painter and fourth generation Californian; expressionist painter Monjett Graham; and Nina Fabunmi, an African Ambassador. Recent exhibits include Forms of Expression, which featured clay sculptures by Southern California artist Chukes demonstrating "the human spirit in a physical form," and the currently-exhibited Loss- Public/Private by textile artist Alice Beasley, who examines absence and loss in aging, loneliness, violence, and societal crises.

"I so enjoy most of the art exhibits that I have experienced either at my gallery or other galleries," Gordon says. "The Loss exhibit is informative, inspirational, and brings laughter. The way the artist expresses herself through quilting, weaving different textures of fabric with different patterns in the fabric together and the intricacies of the stitching is amazing. I say that she paints with fabric. The images that she uses to create narrative are interracial, political, timeless, and beautiful."

The gallery also hosts weekly guided-painting sessions called Brew & Brush. Participants are invited to enjoy a cup of brew and some lively music while the resident artist guides them through the class. Materials provided include an easel, paints, canvas, and brushes, and participants are encouraged to bring snacks.

Joyce Gordon Gallery is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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