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Third Thursday art walk

(Courtesy of John Wood) For artist John Wood, the act of painting is a performance art.
(Courtesy of John Wood)
For artist John Wood, the act of painting is a performance art.

If you tend to spend your Thursday nights recovering from the week, you may like a relaxed and friendly art event in Oakland.

On the third Thursday of every month, various art galleries on 25th street in Oakland host a small and intimate “Artwalk,” where eight galleries stay open late and invite visitors in. The white-walled galleries host local artists, both well known and on the rise. There is food, wine and pleasant conversation.

“For me, Third Thursdays are special because the people who come are genuinely interested in art,” Susan Aulik, director of the Fourth Wall Gallery, said in an email. “Art Murmur events are popular because they have a reputation for being friendly and professional with a wide variety of quality art in a convenient and interesting location.”

The Fourth Wall Gallery is on 25th Street. The galleries along the street are small and intimate, and the artists or gallery owners are present at each one.

“This isn’t really a professional gallery,” said owner of Roscoe Ceramic Gallery and neighbor to The Fourth Wall Gallery, Derik Van Beers. “We’ve got more galleries in this three-block area than any other part of Oakland.”

Van Beers’s gallery space also hosts a small working studio, which is open for guests to look at. This way, visitors can see not only the finished works, but also can catch a glimpse of the process.

In recent years, the rising cost of space in the Bay Area has caused many galleries to struggle. However, the galleries on 25th street are working with the city of Oakland to have the neighborhood re-zoned as an art district.

“This would mean that galleries would be protected from the rising costs of renting commercial properties,” Van Beers said.

Third Thursday inspires not only visitors, but artists. John W. Wood, an artist who was exhibiting his abstract oil pastel on paper works at Oakopolis Creativity Center, describes the experience of working with an audience present.

“My work is really kind of a performance,” Wood said. “You just sort of do it. So having people watch me do it is a sort of elevation of that. And it’s actually quite focusing [to have an audience].”

Oakland residents can enjoy many things about the event, including the opportunity to speak directly to artists and gallery owners.

“This is actually my first Third Thursday,” Catherine Walker, a new Oakland resident, said. “My favorite part so far is that most of the artists are here. It’s nice to look at the art and be able to speak to the artist at the same time.”

The next Third Thursday will be April 21st, from 6-8 p.m.. Walk down 25th and you’ll be invited inside the many galleries, each one more wonderful than the last.