Oakland artists organize city hall to shape city budget
With the grief and isolation of the pandemic, many have called the artists “second responders” to the crisis. They are the creatives of our communities, after all, whose music, poetry, and murals helped us through this dark time. And in a more literal sense, artists were often at the forefront of protests and self-help efforts, advocating for racial justice and community care.
With that in mind, a group of Oakland artists want to help shape the city’s budget for 2021–23 and they are planning a virtual town hall to advocate for their interests and those of their communities on May 25.
Right now, Oakland residents have a chance to give their opinion before the city’s next budget is set in stone. Mayor Libby Schaaf posted it budget proposal on May 7, and it includes an allocation plan of $ 448,731 for arts grants and events in fiscal year 2021-2022 and $ 573,930 in 2022-2023. More controversial, his budget proposal seeks to increase police spending by 8% at a time when many community advocates have called for reallocating police funds to social services. City council will need to approve the final budget by June 30, and council members are currently seeking feedback from their constituents.