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Tech company launches community space in downtown Oakland landmark

Seating areas in community space created by Block for non-profit organizations, ground floor of Uptown Station, 1955 Broadway in downtown Oakland. (Cayce Clifford)

OAKLAND — A tech company has launched a nonprofit community space where hundreds of people could congregate at an iconic office building in downtown Oakland.

Block, formerly known as Square, furnished the ground floor community space of the iconic Uptown Station office building that the financial services technology company currently leases.

The financial services technology company has launched what it calls Square Community Space in downtown Oakland, inside the Uptown Station complex at 1955 Broadway.

Designed to be a community resource, the space is available free of charge to 501c3 nonprofits who wish to reserve the facilities for their gatherings and activities.

Artwork and seating areas in community space created by Block for non-profits, Uptown Station Ground Level, 1955 Broadway in downtown Oakland.  (Cayce Clifford)
Artwork and seating areas in community space created by Block for non-profits, Uptown Station Ground Level, 1955 Broadway in downtown Oakland. (Cayce Clifford)

The first such gathering took place on Saturday with a meeting to prepare for an Art Clash scheduled for August 20 hosted by Bay Area Mural Project.

The annual Art Clash is a five-hour event in which artists compete in front of a live audience who vote to choose a winner.

The triumphant artist wins $1,000, with smaller prizes awarded to those who finish second and third in the competition.

Saturday’s Art Clash mixer was a way for artists to get a feel for what it takes to enter and win the annual competition.

“Taste the Clash with three 20-minute battles where two artists go head-to-head and you get to pick the winners,” said a post on the Bay Area Mural Project’s website.

Gathering areas in community space created by Block for non-profit organizations, ground floor of Uptown Station, 1955 Broadway in downtown Oakland.  (Cayce Clifford)
Gathering areas in community space created by Block for non-profit organizations, ground floor of Uptown Station, 1955 Broadway in downtown Oakland. (Cayce Clifford) (Cayce Clifford)

The mixer will also feature community art roundtables and a fundraising auction.

Bay Area Mural Project also hopes the mixer can help people learn more about the organization’s work in the regional community.

“Our vision is to transform bare, crumbling walls into artistic gateways to the surrounding community environment,” Bay Area Mural Project said in its web post.