Betti Ono launches multi-year initiative The Fire Next Time: A Call & Response

Photo courtesy of Adreinne Waheed. All rights reserved.

Welcome to Betti Ono!

Betti Ono is an active cultural arts venue, gallery and community meeting space located in downtown Oakland, California. Our vision and creative practice embody the bold, curious and unapologetic spirit of our name-sakes: Betti Mabry Davis and Yoko Ono. We value art-making as a form and function of activism, self-determination, community transformation, and cultural resilience. We celebrate the culture of everyday people and focus our core work on participation, accessibility, and inclusivity. We are 100% Black women led and operated, dedicated to amplifying the work and voices of under-represented communities of color with a specific focus on serving women of color artists, and black and brown artists and youth. 

So what are we up to? 

As the cultural, economic, racial, social, and political landscape of Oakland has radically shifted, Betti Ono has filled a critical need as one of only a handful of anchor cultural spaces committed to addressing and responding to local and national issues disproportionately impacting communities of color.

Our project The Fire Next Time: A Call & Response is a multi-year,  Oakland led international arts and culture initiative. TFNT: A Call and Response takes its name and inspiration from the life and legacy of James Baldwin and the band of artists, actors, instigators and agitators who worked together to advance freedom, human rights, racial and social justice.

This year we kicked the initiative off with the exhibition Black Joy and Resistance by Adreinne Waheed and partnered with a number of community-based organizations like Matatu Nomadic Cinema and the Black Joy Parade.  Black Joy and Resistance featured photographs of joy and resistance from all over the African Diaspora and offered an opportunity to lift up the various forms of Black sacred space and fellowship as a form of cultural power!

Now with the groundwork laid for a generative conversation, The Fire Next Time: A Call & Response invites 5 commissioned artists and artists collectives to contemplate the call to action issued by Baldwin and others and to design creative responses addressing the most critical issues impacting Black people today. We will engage the public in this project through a series of Cultural Think Tanks. The creative responses will be designed and produced during 3-4 month Artists Residencies and experienced in dialogue with the community through exhibitions, public programs, and direct actions beginning in Summer 2019.

The Fire Next Time: A Call and Response (#TFNTOakland) objectives:

  • Design and activate a collective vision to advance a sustainable future for Black, Brown and Indigenous people in Oakland
  • To strengthen networks + build the leadership capacity of Oakland’s arts and activism ecosystem
  • Create a transformative model of engagement where artists, cultural workers, and creatives play a critical role in movement building efforts

We invite you to partner with us to bring this collective vision to life by making a contribution.  We seek individual, organizational and corporate partnerships, cash and in-kind donations are welcome! 

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MANY THANKS  TO INDIVIDUAL DONORS AND  THE FOLLOWING GENEROUS PARTNERS