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East Bay Talking Points

Pop-up museums take off; a new learning center debuts in Concord; viral hits launched in the region.


Wild Child features interactive exhibits, made by local and national artists, for children to play with.

Photo courtesy of Wild Child

Pop (Up) Goes the Art Scene

The temporary museum trend expands to the East Bay.


Since the 2017 launches of San Francisco’s Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream, pop-up art spaces have been trending. But they’ve been slow to cross the Bay—until now. Last summer, the ’90s Experience in Jack London Square transported visitors to the nostalgia of Mr. Sketch, Lisa Frank, and Friends, and the current Oakland pop-up Wild Child is delivering a multisensory art experience to toddlers through March 1. At the Lake Merritt–adjacent space, kids can make bright lines wiggle and roll with motion-responsive projections, don goggles to smash pottery, and create colorful paint spirals with salad spinners. Meanwhile, on the east side of the Caldecott, Jennifer Perlmutter has extended the run of her JPG@TheBank pop-up—a gallery housed in a vacant Lafayette bank building—and she’s looking to bring art to more empty storefronts across Contra Costa County, starting with a yet-to-be-announced project in Walnut Creek. “The potential of pop-ups is limited only by our imagination,” Perlmutter says. “If downtowns have the usual anchor stores but allow for creative, short-term licenses, then we can have these dynamic and engaging ‘Internet-resistant’ experiences.” wildchildplay.com, jenniferperlmuttergallery.com. —LeeAnne Jones



Innovation Station

A new Concord learning center brings science and technology to students—and the community.


The Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation. Photo by Cali Godley/Carondelet High School.

According to the National Science Foundation, as of 2015, only 15 percent of engineers were women. Carondelet High School is aiming to change that. In January, the Concord institution debuted its 18,000-square-foot Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation, featuring learning studios, high-tech educational tools, and a student-run café that fosters entrepreneurial skills for the school’s 800-strong all-female student body.

The facility will also welcome the larger community at special events, including educator workshops, college fairs, STEM summer camps for third through eighth graders, and an evening speaker series. (Esther Wojcicki, the author of How to Raise Successful People, is slated to kick off the series on January 30.) And on February 7, the innovation center will present a start-up hackathon centered on the theme of “teen stress,” allowing students to test prototypes of digital projects and pitch concepts to judges.

“There really isn’t another facility of this type in the East Bay,” says Chris Walsh, the center’s director. “So we’re excited to share it with the community.” —Emilie White



Web of Influence


(L to R) VSCO girl: Shutterstock; The Lonely Island: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Richard Harbaugh; Los Medanos Elementary School: Courtesy of Pittsburg Unified School District.


Last year, VSCO girls took the Internet by storm. The trend—embodied by young white women and teens wearing “basic,” ’90s-style garb, such as scrunchies, Birkenstocks, and oversize tops—is named for the Oakland-based VSCO app, which VSCO girls use to edit their throngs of social media photos. That isn’t the only online phenomenon born in the East Bay. In 2005, the Berkeley-formed comedy group The Lonely Island created the first-ever video to go viral on YouTube: their debut Saturday Night Live digital short, “Lazy Sunday.” And in November, Dorothy Mallari’s second-grade students at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg performed an uplifting rendition of singer Lizzo’s song “Truth Hurts” and garnered 1.3 million views on YouTube. The class even appeared on Good Morning America and met Lizzo backstage at a San Jose concert. See the cute video below. —Virginia Shannon




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