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Local artist and museum curator explore the Oakland that could be lost to gentrification

Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California, resized and recropped
A scene out of the current exhibit "Oakland, I want you to know" at the Oakland Museum of California

A new exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California is trying to address gentrification, one of the Bay Area’s biggest hot button issues, through a broad range of work from West Oakland residents—from school kids to aerosol muralists to documentary filmmakers—who share their own thoughts.

By making posters or writing on the wall, more than 700 people contributed to the making of the show. KALW’s Jen Chien spoke with the exhibit's co-curators, Oakland artist Chris Treggiari and OMCA curator Evelyn Orantes about the conversation they hope this exhibit will spark.

ORANTES: One of our youths said it best, he's like: 'You know, this show isn't just to remind newcomers what they're missing if they don't look at what's here, it's also a reminder to Oaklanders that they're not alone.' I get all choked up thinking about it. It's true. It's worth the fight.

The “Oakland, I want to know you” exhibit will be on display until October 30 at the Oakland Museum of California

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.