Studio One needs to raise money, which you will discover as you read this Oakland Tribune article.
Studio One arts facility has rich history
FRIENDS of Studio One are eagerly awaiting completion of renovations to the city-owned arts facility — located in a 100-year-old former orphanage on 45th Street — so classes can resume there once again.
Some $10 million in funds from Measure DD, approved by voters in 2002, were allocated to retrofit and reconfigure the structure and make it handicap accessible as well.
During construction, Studio One classes temporarily are being held in downtown Oakland at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts on Alice Street, also a historic landmark building (once the home of the Oakland Women's Club). Summer classes are under way.
Funds will still be needed for art-related furnishings once the North Oakland facility reopens, so the Friends are hosting a Sept. 27 "Splash for Cash" fundraiser from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Temescal Pool, 371 45th St. from 3:30 until 6 p.m.
Friends member Karen Hester is keeping track of RSVPs. A tax-deductible donation of $20 to $40 is requested. Children are welcome for $5 to $10, event organizers say.
Historical files show Temescal Pool, next-door to Studio One, opened in 1949, one of four public pools earmarked for construction in the city after voters approved a $600,000 bond measure in 1945. Other pools constructed at the time were deFremery, Fremont and Dimond Park. Oakland architect Irwin M. Johnson was tapped to design the pools for $113,000 each.
The Friends group has been hard at work preparing the documentation to nominate Studio One for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Berkeley resident and local historian John English researched and wrote the report that was reviewed at the state and federal level before being approved. The successful listing was announced at the July city landmarks board meeting.
According to the report, the concept of a city-run arts program for Oakland residents first came about at Bushrod Park in 1948. The city parks and recreation department during the post World War II-era was a nationwide leader in providing affordable arts-related classes.
Because of the popularity of the classes, the Bushrod space was quickly outgrown and community organizers then raised the funds to acquire the vacant former orphanage building. The simple U-shaped, two-story structure with ground floor brick exterior and shingled upper level with pitched roof originally was part of a complex operated by the Ladies Relief Society, founded in 1871 by the wives and relations of Oakland business leaders, in response to the catastrophic Chicago fire.
The ladies knew a cold Midwestern winter would soon be setting in, the files say, and "scores of busy hands cut, basted, finished, folded and packed warm garments, which soon found their way to the needy on the bleak shores of Lake Michigan."
Once mobilized, the group decided to look closer to home for its assistance efforts, turning its attention to indigent elderly women and orphaned youngsters. The society acquired 10 acres of property in the Temescal district, then well outside Oakland city limits.
The property was described as beautiful land, comprised of "fruitful fields, dimpled pastures and tasteful gardens situated halfway between Oakland and Berkeley. In a large house which came with the estate, a staff saw to the needs of 20 elderly women and a number of children." Relief Society members periodically canvassed the city for donations (in this era predating public welfare assistance), going door-to-door for solicitations of 10 cents to a dollar.
A separate dormitory to house the boys and girls was constructed in 1907. Historical photos show a covered walkway once connected the buildings.
The society still maintains the neighboring facility for elderly women now known as the Matilda Brown Home (named for a longtime president of the organization), which backs up to the Studio One property. The Matilda Brown facility dates from the 1920s and is surrounded by well-tended pathways and gardens.
For more information on "Splash for Cash," visit http://www.friendsofstudioone.org, or contact Karen Hester at 654-6346.
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