Through May 1
For years, Ellen Lake has been seeing the same ad on a bus bench near her home in North Oakland. “ADVERTISE HERE,” it read. Finally, she decided that someone should be utilizing the space. With the help of an Alternative Exposure grant, she started Bench Projects, an artist-led initiative to occupy Oakland’s bus stop benches with art. The first two artists featured in these new “bench galleries” are Steve Briscoe and Lynn Beldner. Briscoe created photo collage-like works at the stop on 55th Street and Shattuck Avenue, and Beldner made text art in response to violence in her neighborhood for the benches on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Aileen Street. In blue, black, and yellow, the benches read “Never give up” and “Don’t think too much.” These pieces will be up until May 1, when they will be replaced by new works contributed by other artists. Lake hopes to gradually expand the project, with the ultimate dream of turning every bus stop in Oakland into an outdoor art show.