The East Bay Express has opened EBX lOAKal, a new pop-up boutique shop and gallery in the heart of downtown Oakland across from City Hall on bustling Broadway Avenue. Oakland has become famous for its pop-up shops, which are month-to-month leased storefronts designed intentionally to activate empty real estate and provide opportunities for locally-based manufacturers and artists to display and sell their products. With the addition of lOAKal, Oaklandâ€™s busiest downtown block now has three thriving local retailers (two of which are pop-ups), two art galleries featuring local artists, and a community-owned coffee shop. â€œItâ€™s community-driven economic redevelopment at its best,â€ states Jody Colley, Publisher of the East Bay Express. â€œItâ€™s wonderful to see a city block revitalized by the simple act of allowing entrepreneurs a chance to launch their dream businesses in otherwise empty prime real estate locations. Weâ€™re creating jobs, weâ€™re collecting local sales tax dollars, weâ€™re hiring local vendors, weâ€™re supporting our artists and musicians, weâ€™re improving neighborhood safety, and weâ€™re helping make Downtown Oakland a destination for quality products and services.â€
EBX lOAKal is also the name of the Expressâ€™ made-in-Oakland clothing brand launched this past year in partnership with Oakland-based clothing company fiftyseven-thirtythree. Previously the t-shirts and hoodies were available at East Bay retailers, at festivals across Northern California, and online. The retail pop-up shop is the latest outlet for buying the EBX lOAKal brand. The Express also donates 15% of every purchase back to a local nonprofit.
EBX lOAKalâ€™s gallery exhibit, â€œOakland NOW,â€ is curated by Spoke Art and features our favorite Oakland-based emerging and established visual artists with mediums ranging from illustration to sculpture to painting. Some of the prominent lineup of artists include: Scott Hove, Nicomi Nix Turner, Gina Tuzzi, John Casey, GATS, Lucien Shapiro, Brett Amory, Ken Davis, Rich Jacobs, Aaron Nagel, Deth P. Sun, Small Stakes, Isabel Samaras, Jesse Hernandez, Jeremiah Jenkins, Monica Canilao, Andy Witrak, Justin Lovato, Kelly Allen, and many more. The show will open during the Art and Soul Festival, and will be on view the entire month of August during regular business hours.
The East Bay Express co-produced Oaklandâ€™s Art & Soul Festival on August 4 and 5 which took place in the blocks surrounding EBX lOAKal, bringing over 40,000 people to the area. EBX lOAKal opened its doors in conjunction with the festival, giving it an incredible opening weekend. Colley says, â€œThe shop was packed all weekend by festival goers. We had a main stage performer decide he wanted to do t-shirt signings, so our designer, Eddie Colla, ran home and made a new design and screens to live print custom shirts for signing that day. Weâ€™re knocking out new designs all the time that kick ass because Eddie at fiftyseven-thirtythree is simply the best.â€
The event also debuted 35 new East Bay Express art racks, some of which can be viewed here. The art rack project was curated by Eddie Colla and are all created by prominent local street artists. The racks have now been distributed throughout Oaklandâ€™s Temescal and Korea Town/Northgate Districts.