Alameda

Tour Guide: Glen Helfand
February 16, 2008

Alameda is an island adjacent to Oakland, along the San Francisco Bay. It’s modest in scale— just under 11 square miles of land mass and a population of 72,259—making it a surprisingly manageable city to survey, or cruise through, in an afternoon. The goal of this field trip is to combine the pleasures of sightseeing and academic observation of place. We’ll explore Alameda to get a sense of its culture, history, and current state of shift. Founded as a shipping and ferry terminal in the mid-19th century—on a site, like many in the area, inhabited by Ohlone Indians—Alameda has gone through various waves of development in the ensuing decades, and evidence of this is visible in areas with distinctly different architecture styles and use. There’s a quaint main street business district, and neighborhoods with grand Victorian mansions, stucco single family dwellings, 1960s waterfront apartments, and brand new, $700 K + homes. The Alameda Naval Air Station, founded in World War II and closed in 1997, is a crux of economic shift, with large former hangars being transformed into new businesses.

The itinerary will include a visit to the redeveloped movie palace, model homes, residential neighborhoods, an aircraft carrier, and military buildings converted to leisure businesses.

See more trip photos in our Flickr group.

Glen Helfand writes about contemporary art for Artforum, ArtInfo, Bay Guardian, and numerous other periodicals and exhibition catalogs. He teaches in the graduate fine arts program at CCA, and Mills College, and organizes the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has curated exhibitions for venues including the de Young Museum, San Jose Museum of Art, Pasadena Museumof California Art, Mills College Art Museum, and Rena Bransten Gallery, and is currently organizing an election-themed exhibition for Dust Gallery in Las Vegas, opening in October 2008.