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Arts & Culture

A thriving arts community has called Emeryville home for more than three decades. Initially drawn to the city by the availability of industrial and warehouse space, artists choosing to live and work here have found a supportive and receptive atmosphere, one in which the arts and the live/work concept are recognized as an integral part of the community. This support is fostered in part by the community of artists already in existence, by the City of Emeryville itself and by residents and businesses who have discovered the talents available to them in terms of skills, creative problem solving and enthusiasm.

Artists comprise a significant percentage of the city's population, and once a year many of them open their studios to the public for two weekends in June during the ProArts Annual Open Studios self-guided tour event. The City of Emeryville, in partnership with the business community, honors the city's artistic community each October with the Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition, a juried exhibition open to all artists who live or work in Emeryville. This event, now in its 24th year, celebrates the diversity of artwork created in the city and features the work of close to 100 painters, sculptors, photographers, fine craftspeople and video and performance artists.

In 1990, the City Council adopted a Percent for Art Ordinance stipulating that 1 to 1.5 percent of building construction costs be earmarked for art in public spaces in both the public and private sectors.

Many artists are active in community affairs, lending creative energy to neighborhood groups, city committees and commissions, civic organizations and the Emery Unified School District. In the fall of 2011, the City anticipates the opening of the long-awaited Cultural Arts Center, a state-of-the-art multi-use facility that will feature a theatrical and visual arts exhibit. The Center will be located in a former industrial site on Hollis Street, immediately adjacent to Emeryville City Hall, and is one more symbol of Emeryville’s transformation from an industrial center to a city of retail, shopping, business, hospitality and artistic vibrancy.

Below, you'll find information on some of Emeryville's annual or ongoing art events and other activities.

• Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, www.emeryarts.org – Annual, juried art exhibit takes place during the month of October.

• Pro Arts Gallery, www.proartsgallery.org – Nonprofit organization fosters and supports the arts in the East Bay, including artists' open studios each June.

• Art in Public Places, www.ci.emeryville.ca.us – Learn about the 30 public artworks throughout Emeryville, commissioned in response to the city's public art ordinance. Includes information on upcoming competitions and Public Art Advisory Committee meetings.

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