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

Photo courtesy of Adreinne Waheed. All rights reserved.

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.

In February 2019 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 we will continue to build The Fire Next Time: A Call & Response model and commission 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 and Brown people today.. The creative responses will be activated via artists residencies and experienced in dialogue with the community through exhibitions, public programs, and direct actions. 

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!