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2021 Reflection and Looking Ahead

A Dreaming Spaces ideation session bringing together CAST, former Cultural Space Ambassadors and Cultural Strategists, artists, architects, city planners, and engineers.

Dear Friend,

December is both such a joyous and introspective time, a time of reflection and looking ahead. It’s in this spirit that we’d like to share our gratitude for your belief, trust, and support. As we continue to address the complex dream of creating permanently affordable space for artists and arts and cultural organizations, what sustains our path forward is you.

You are at the heart of our work.

Our work begins with listening. Listening to you and our stakeholder communities in the neighborhoods in which we work. Listening and taking measure of your critical needs and priorities through our Cultural Space Ambassadors and Dreaming Spaces in Oakland (and soon to be San Francisco).

Oakland artists and advocates who organized “Artists in Action”, an event mobilizing support to increase Oakland’s arts budget co-presented by CAST, The Center for Cultural Power, and Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission.

In collaboration with other Oakland cultural leaders, our Cultural Space Ambassadors led successful efforts that resulted in an increased Oakland arts commission budget and lifted CAST’s role as a trusted forum for documentation, policy, and collaborative real estate projects.

Dreaming Spaces began in response to the closure of arts venues in 2020. CAST brought together artists, public health professionals, architects, engineers, and others to reimagine what space use could look like in this new pandemic-led climate. Now, the resulting design charrettes created with and for EastSide Arts Alliance, Betti Ono, and Piano Fight Oakland will come to life over the next year with real resources in place to continue answering arts groups’ questions. We look forward to expanding this initiative for artists in San Francisco in 2022.

The ground floor at CAST’s new headquarters at 447 Minna will offer a 50-seat black box theater for performances/rehearsals and a large conference room, available to tenants as well as arts groups for event rentals.

Eight years in the making, we are excited to gradually open a newly renovated building for culture in the South of Market neighborhood at 447 Minna. It is our deepest hope that, with our collective commitment and efforts, it will become a cultural hub as vibrant as the neighborhood in which it is located. We are also in the process of developing three real estate projects in Oakland with BIPOC-led creative and community organizations, one of which is an affordable housing and creative commercial space project.

New CAST Board Member Imaan Taghavi leads a dance class for his group, The Omni Movement.

Lastly, to accomplish this with heart and rigor requires expanded capacity. We welcomed three new staff members in 2021, two of whom returned to CAST in new roles and all of whom bring a wealth of experience in real estate, community engagement, and communications. Engineer and choreographer/social dancer Imaan Taghavi joined our board, and we expanded our volunteer leadership with the creation of real estate and fundraising committees.

On the financial side, we have been fortunate to attract $8.5mm in support of capital projects and community engagement. To those individuals and institutions, thank you for your incredible support.

More than anyone, you know what extraordinary resources it takes to make a dream live. I hope, with all the tugs on you at this time of year, that you will make a contribution to CAST. Most importantly, thank you again for your trust and belief in us to work with and for you. We hope that your 2021 has been a year spent returning to community, and we thank you for being a valuable part of ours.

With appreciation and gratitude,

Moy Eng, CEO

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