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Sights & Sounds of East Oakland: An artist takes back the streets

Photo by Bill Joyce
Laila Espinoza paints a mermaid in Athol Plaza Park

Most artists follow their visions in the privacy of their studios, but one Oakland artist is re-defining public space: a park. Laila Espinoza is a community artist — one whose art touches larger social themes while engaging the surrounding community. She does all this at Athol Plaza Park in Oakland nearly every weekend.

ESPINOZA: When you set up your studio or gallery or anything you set up your studio. You clean it, you organize it, you take care of it. And it's the same when you do anything out in public. It has to do with, in a sense, taking back the streets.

That story was produced last year for our project Sights & Sounds of East Oakland, in collaboration with Oakland Voices, a community media training program run in partnership with the East Bay Times and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.


Join us this weekend at a live event marking our second year of this collaboration: Sights & Sounds of East Oakland will feature music, dance, poetry, food, storytelling and more. It takes place at the Castlemont High theater on Sunday afternoon. For details and a link to tickets, go to our website, kalw.org.