East to West: Island City Fetes Creatives

Eric J. Kos    An older couple felt compelled to dance to the sounds of the Salsa-Lab at Pour Your HeART Out Saturday.

An outpouring of support for local arts and artists took place in several venues last weekend

The weekend of Aug. 9 to 11 turned Alameda into an artist’s paradise. On Friday night, the weekend began with the usual burst of creativity that is the 2nd Friday Art Walk. Several new galleries of artwork opened, including the Island City-centered Plein Aire Paint Out Exhibit at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. (See related story on page 11.)

On Saturday, Rhythmix Cultural Works, the city’s center of culture, held its annual celebration of the arts, Pour Your HeART Out. The event ties into the Rhythmix mission in that it inspires the community to engage in the arts and to learn about each other and the world through the arts. 

The event provides a mix of wine, beer and spirits tasting, with delights from local restaurateurs and music of the highest caliber by bands including Mary Lou’s Apartment. It also raises money for the Rhythmix Performance Art and Learning Program which allows children from local schools — including underserved Title IX schools from Oakland — to gain exposure to live performance.

The K Gallery at Rhythmix also presented a series of works meant to capture the Island City as a form of paradise. The exhibit Alameda as Arcadia by local artist Ginny Parsons includes some interesting interpretations, including using peanut butter as an homage to the birth of Skippy Peanut Butter here. The artist was on hand, enticing donors to give by offering a free watercolor painting with a certain contribution. 

On Sunday, the celebration of creation moved westward onto Alameda Point for the Alameda Mini-Maker Faire. This event focused more on the kooky, scientific side of creativity, with people making real use of their creations. People rode atop a mechanical hermit crab, attempted to high five disembodied mannequin arms and admired unique creations in engineering, sculpture, painting, technology and lots more. Many participants spent a good amount of time engaged in various projects. 

Whether building a pinewood derby car at the Nerdy Derby, or listening to the young musical talent at the Busker’s Corner, the display of creativity became a whirlwind of color, inspiration and the unusual. 

Personally, I enjoyed trying on a mechanical augmentation called a Suit X designed and marketed by a firm out of Emeryville. The mechanical attachment supported my elbows and shoulders as a means of reducing strain while working with my hands above my head. (Not that I ever do that.) The firm designed several different devices to support workers who have to perform repetitive actions putting stress on their bodies.

Eric J. Kos    The following day at Alameda Point, a youngster went for an unnecessarily high five at the Maker Faire.