Ever wondered what might happen if artists joined forces with their community to turn an abandoned lot into something amazing? That question was at the forefront of the Peralta Junction Project, an experimental, carny-themed activation space based in West Oakland, CA, which took a grassroots approach to artful engagement and neighborhood transformation.
Once the event opened on October 4 2012 with an outdoor film screening, Peralta transformed the previously abandoned 24,000 square-foot lot at the intersection of Mandela Parkway and Peralta Street into an active community space filled with art installations, creative workshops, performances, micro-retail shops occupied by local artisans, Oakland-based food trucks, a tented gathering place, a pumpkin patch, and more.
Produced by Commonplace Productions, One Hat One Hand, and a swell of volunteers, each week featured additional programming – including the installation of Life Size Mousetrap on Saturday, Nov. 10 – creating a unique experience for event-goers week after week, through its closing on November 30.
In addition to pure awesomeness and alignments with our guiding principles – Participation and Communal Effort being big ones – what made this project so special is its ability to be replicated and customized for different neighborhoods in the future. Urban spaces all over the world have their share of abandoned corners like this one in Oakland, just waiting for people to turn them into something wonderful. One of our many goals in sponsoring this project, in addition to assisting in workshop curation, was to create documentation that will help people pull off similar projects in their neighborhood in their own unique way.
The project continued to revolutionize weekends in this historically challenged neighborhood through its closing celebrations Friday, November 30. We are very proud of our support of Peralta in making magic happen!
More photos at our flickr.