Art Murmur Evolves 

This month marks the first time 23rd Street will not be closed to traffic.

The hugely happening monthly gallery crawl known as Oakland Art Murmur will have more art show openings than ever this month, and will be trying out some new strategies as well. For the first time, 23rd Street will not be closed to traffic. "Keeping 23rd Street open does not serve our mission," said Art Murmur Executive Director Danielle Fox. "When we are aiming to focus Oakland's attention on the galleries, we were putting too much time and money into the street-fair aspect of 23rd and Telegraph."

This Friday will mark a year of remarkable accomplishments for Fox. Long gone are the days of a dozen galleries, spread throughout the city, all clamoring for recognition. Murmur has now transformed into a world-class, citywide event that supports a huge audience and shows no sign of slowing down. The truth is that 23rd and Telegraph no longer defines Murmur. Murmur has expanded to more than thirty galleries spread out over three distinct neighborhoods. Here is our guide to the best off-the-beaten-path gallery events that are sure to be hotspots this Friday night.

If you're feeling adventurous and are on foot, start at The Hive (301 Jefferson St., Oakland, HiveStudios.org), a studio enclave of more than three dozen rising art stars in the East Bay scene, where Elizabeth Saviano is showing her joyous paintings in her show, Circo.

Taste some wine around the corner at Urban Legend Cellars before strolling up Washington Street into popuphood, a cluster of oh-so-compelling little shops/galleries. At Crown Nine (401A 9th St., Oakland, Crown-Nine.com, 510-507-0789), Freya Prowe's New Work features brooding animal forms, primal yet whimsical, and deftly produced.

Next, head up Telegraph Avenue to Word to Your Motherland, a group show at Betti Ono Gallery (1804 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, BettiOno.Tumblr.com, 510-473-5919) showcasing hip-hop culture in India, with live performances.

Finally, make your way to 25th Street to check out Murmur's beating heart: Lauren McIntosh's Banished Paintings at Oakopolis (447 25th St., Oakland, Oakopolis.org, 510-663-6920), naive paintings that at first seem so sad, but upon closer inspection open up with fresh seriousness; and the 25th Street Hallway (for lack of a better term) — five galleries, including PHOTO, The Wall Gallery, Roscoe Ceramic Gallery, Manna Gallery, and Slate Contemporary Gallery (473 25th St., Oakland, SlateContemporary.com, 510-652-4085), which will celebrate the opening of Figure Form and Fiction, a group show of conceptual takes on the human body. The whole trip should take about ninety minutes to two hours by foot, which puts you at the 25th Street galleries around 8 p.m., just when Murmur is at its most thrilling.

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