DIA Community Grants Program Awardees – February 2020

DIA is pleased to announce the awardees of the first round of grants under our new Community Grants Program. We received many impressive applications and wish we could have awarded more. Here are the eight recipients who will receive a total of $10,750:

The Dimond Gateway: Landscape & Irrigation Repairs

The pocket park at MacArthur and Lincoln was designed and created 20 years ago by local landscape architect Tricia Christopher, with help from the city and community. The landmark serves as a beautiful entrance to the Dimond business district. Unfortunately, major damage was caused recently when a car ran over the irrigation system and landscaping, and a vandal destroyed some of the plantings. Tricia will work with the city and an irrigation professional to reestablish the watering system. She’ll also replace damaged plants and boulders, and refresh the gravel walkways and mulch.

The Dimond Gateway: Mural Restoration

In 2010, the mural at Lincoln near MacArthur was designed and created by artist Kristi Holohan, with community participation every step of the way—from ideas for imagery to brushing on the paint. The wall had been drab gray and a magnet for tagging, but has not received a tag since. The work has lasted well except for sun-fading and rust streaks. Kristi will apply a fresh coat of quality archival paint and a washable protective layer, restoring the mural’s vibrance and ensuring it continues to inspire and welcome everyone into the Dimond.

Dimond Park: Restoration of Picnic Tables & Benches

Friends of Dimond Park will begin tackling the huge challenge of repairing or replacing damaged picnic tables and benches in Dimond Park, starting with the popular Sequoia Grove area. Time has taken a toll on this sturdy park “furniture”—there are uneven surfaces with deep grooves and gouges, protruding nails, rot, and instable seating. A major priority of the project is to maintain the character and craftsmanship of the picnic area, using the same wood (Douglas fir) and same dimensions where replacements are needed. Salvageable sections will be expertly repaired and restored.

The Dirndl Diaspora

Local playwright Kristen Caven will present a staged reading during this year’s Oaktoberfest of her new comedy, “The Dirndl Diaspora,” set in an Oakland dress shop. The five multi-racial characters share German roots in their past, and through the play tease out their entwined cultural stories while making beautiful dirndls out of cloth from all over the world. The play creates empathy and emotion through multicultural storytelling, dispels cultural myths and stereotypes, and explores real, present-day issues of immigration, feminism, and anxiety about the return of fascism—all with optimism at its heart.

Enhancing Health: Qigong at Dimond Park

Certified teachers will co-lead a half-day event in June at Dimond Park, sharing and demonstrating the health-care benefits of Dayan Wild Goose Qigong, a beautiful mind-body-spirit practice that improves mental and physical health. Attendees will participate in a large group practice and rotate through several small-group workshops, including health benefits and testimonials; energy channel massages and gentle slapping exercises; and another form of qigong called Eight Brocades. At the conclusion, everyone will perform Wild Goose Qigong and be invited to join the free, daily practice group in the park.

Multicultural Art with Rachel-Anne Palacios

Rachel-Anne has been offering hands-on art education in the Bay Area for 15 years and will lead five workshops in the Dimond, each a learning experience and celebration of a traditional art technique from a different part of the world—including Africa, Latin America, and Asia. By including art forms of the numerous ethnicities that populate our Oakland and Dimond community, the workshops will promote cultural sensitivity, while challenging participants’ critical thinking, and communication and dexterity skills.

The Peripatetic Players: “A Lord of a Ring: The Extend-ish Edition”

Idiot String’s resident troupe of travelling thespians, the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players, will present a weekend-long, mini-festival of plays offered free to the public at Dimond Park. The Players’ Bay Area shows, often based on beloved stories, are appropriate for all ages, featuring lighthearted audience interaction and ridiculous comedy. This year’s production is a multi-part parody of The Lord of the Rings. Six performances (two performances each of three plays) will be staged over the course of one weekend in August.

Spring Fling: A Community Dance for Tall & Small

Greacian Goeke, a local music and dance teaching artist, will organize a free community dance for all ages on a Sunday afternoon this spring. The accessible, festive atmosphere will feature recorded music and instructions for engaging parents, grandparents, and children—and all who love to dance—in simple communal folk dances, singing games, and interactive movement with props. Greacian aims to bring together a broad diversity of people in the Dimond for the joyful experience of dancing.