NST Faculty Helps Local Artists

August 29, 2018

A former grocery store in South Berkeley opened its doors to creative mischief earlier this year, trading in a stockroom, shelves and liquor bottles for papier-mâché puppets and an industrious group of local children.

The artist residency program and summer camp that popped up in February at 2727 California Street, on the corner of Ward Street, is the brainchild of Marc Hellerstein, a Cal and UCSF professor who bought the building soon after the Ghost Ship fire killed 36 people at an artists’ collective party in Oakland on Dec. 2, 2016.

Hellerstein moved from Boston to Berkeley 30 years ago to begin working as a medical researcher in the Bay Area. He knew a young person who died in the fire, and one who didn’t attend the party but had planned to.

Appalled by the events of that night, and a lack of support for young artists in the Bay Area, he decided to step in and fill the gap with the creation of 2727 California Street. The creative hub includes a residency — one of the few programs in the area that pays artists and provides them room and board while they produce work for the community.

“The Bay Area is losing a lot of its vibrancy … the idea of this becoming just a techie place is really sad.” — Marc Hellerstein

Read more at Berkeleyside.com,  https://www.berkeleyside.com/2018/08/28/after-ghost-ship-fire-an-artist-...