Oakland’s First Friday and Art Murmur returned this past week after February’s street festival ended in tragedy when 18-year-old Kiante Campbell was shot and killed at 20th Street and Telegraph Avenue. That First Friday could have been the city’s last.
The monthly night gathering attracts thousands for its food, music and arts and crafts, and over time it has become an emblem of Oakland’s renaissance. Some feel, however, that the usual art scene in recent months has shifted toward a crowded party atmosphere, and in the wake of Campbell’s death, people question the appropriateness of having Art Murmur and First Friday coincide.
The citywide festival and art show experienced a reduced turnout last Friday and reflected a darker tone. Candlelight memorials along Broadway and Telegraph Avenue commemorated victims of violence, and the city scaled the event down as it increased its security. Still, a disoriented Oakland community managed to reconvene, and it organized First Friday along with Art Murmur once again.