Celebration of the Arts

Emeryville’s Annual Celebration of the Arts Returning In-Person to Bay Street

4 mins read

After being an exclusively virtual event in 2020, the Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition is slated to return in-person on October 1.

In addition, the rotating event will return to Bay Street for the first time since 2013. The event will occupy the former The Gap space at the foot of Bay Street near the Hyatt Place hotel.


Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, Inc. is proud to announce the 35th Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition, a live month-long juried exhibition featuring over 200 pieces of artwork created by 85 Emeryville artists.

“For our 35th anniversary, we feel it is important to be able to celebrate this milestone year with a live exhibition. Our artists and our community are so ready for this October tradition to resume, masks and all, ” said Sharon Wilchar, exhibition coordinator. “Not only are we celebrating our 35th year, but also the 30th anniversary of the city’s Art in Public Places Program and the city of Emeryville’s 125th year. Emeryville has become well known for its creative community and we are proud acknowledge this with our annual celebration.”

For more than three decades the Annual Exhibition has been installed at a different location, each year donated by a local Emeryville business. Last year during the challenges of 2020, the Exhibition was presented online only. This year, for the 35th Annual Exhibition, CenterCal Properties has generously offered the use of a 14,000 square foot space, conveniently located at the north end of the Bay Street Emeryville shopping district.

“We are hopeful that, with this large space, we will be able to adhere to the current protocols and challenges of social distancing,” continued Wilchar. “We are cautiously moving forward with plans for the live exhibition and opening night reception, yet understand we may need to be flexible. We encourage the public to check our website for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID restrictions and guidelines.”

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First held in 1987, this exhibition was initially conceived as an event to recognize the city of Emeryville’s active and visionary partnership with the 45th Street Artists’ Cooperative. The Cooperative was able to purchase its warehouse with the aid of a Redevelopment Agency loan and the City played a major role in stabilizing the live/work environment so vital to its creative community. While the concept of the Exhibition began as a celebration of this partnership (and some of the original artists from the Co-op will show new work this year) it quickly expanded to embrace the entire artist population of Emeryville. Now any artist who either lives or works in Emeryville can submit their artwork for consideration for the Annual Exhibition.

The art and artists of Emeryville continue to reflect the city’s great creativity and diversity. Each year a panel of Bay Area art professionals selects the pieces for the annual exhibition though a jury process. The result is a carefully curated group show featuring the works of artists and craftspeople that live or work in Emeryville. The exhibition is open to artists of all media and includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, ceramics, textiles, video, glass works, and literary arts.

“We are happy to be back in the ‘real’ world with a huge exhibition of work – the largest number of works in our 35-year history – all by Emeryville artists,” said Kathleen Hanna, exhibition curator and juror. “Some bright new artists will be showing this year as well as exciting new works from some of the artists who have exhibited in the past.”

The other 2021 jurors are Jan Watten, founder and curator of Gray Loft Gallery in Oakland., and Rory Padeken, curator at San Jose Museum of Art.

The exhibition jurors have continued to discover emerging talent, along with new work by established artists. Contributing artists this year include painters M. Louise Stanley, Foad Satterfield, Rachel Kalman, T Tanchelev, and Linda Lee Boyd; clay artists James Morris, Cuong Ta, and Bill Schwob; photographers Susan Scott, Michael Teresko, Ronald Davis, and Jeannie O’Connor; printmaker Kazuko Watanabe; Ann Holsberry, Laura Rifkin, and Erin Fong working in mixed media; sculptors Ken Kalman, Courtney Sennish, and Cheryl Coon; textile artist Susan Avila. Most works in this large 35th Annual Art Exhibition are for sale.

“Emeryville is synonymous with art – as this city is home to many extraordinary artists,” said juror Jan Watten. “This is evident in the great depth and astonishing array of art that was submitted this year. I was very impressed with the caliber of work entered and was delighted to be involved in the selection process.”

Along with the impressive collection of visual art, the 35th Annual Exhibition continues to include a celebration of the literary arts. Emeryville’s former Poet Laureate Sarah Kobrinsky will lead a poetry writing workshop and reading, with poems inspired by the collection of works on display. The poetry workshop (limited number) and reading are open to the public.

“I am delighted to have been part of the jury for this year’s art exhibition and to see the incredible range of artworks submitted,” commented juror Rory Padeken. “The selected artworks represent a tiny sliver of the immense artistic talent that is found in Emeryville. All the artists who put forth their work for consideration are to be commended for their steadfast pursuit of their art.”

The mission of the non-profit Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, Inc. is to foster an appreciation of the arts and artists of Emeryville, and to promote the city as a culturally vital and progressive center for living and working. The Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition continues to support this mission by providing a free public venue, open to all, to experience the rich diversity of artistic expression of those who live and work within the city of Emeryville.

Opening Night Reception: Friday, October 1 at 6 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: October 2 – 31, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Thursdays through Sundays)
Address: 5690 Bay Street, Emeryville, CA 94608

Admission to the reception and exhibition is free. For details regarding current COVID protocols, directions, and Emery-go-round stop, go to emeryarts.org or call 510/652-6122.

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