Internationally known sculptor Bruce Beasley bequeaths his South Prescott studios and sculpture gardens to the Oakland Museum of California.

Beasley’s private compound sculpture garden.

Beasley’s private compound sculpture garden.

The South Prescott neighborhood is home to numerous artists, musicians, and other creative souls working in a variety of often surprising mediums. One of the best-known is Bruce Beasley, a world-renowned sculptor with numerous buildings and a sculpture garden sprinkled throughout confines of South Prescott. Mr. Beasley recently made an unprecedented bequest to the Oakland Museum that establishes South Prescott as an artistic anchor with a rosy future.

One buildings in the Bruce Beasley complex on Lewis Street—a former factory.

One buildings in the Bruce Beasley complex on Lewis Street—a former factory.

Here is an excerpt from an article published in The Mercury News:
Internationally known sculptor Bruce Beasley of West Oakland has made the unusual plan to bequeath his two-block cluster of studios and sculpture gardens — plus many of his own massive abstract works, personal archives of his illustrious career and an endowment for future sculpture-related events and programs — to the Oakland Museum of California.

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The gift; said to be unprecedented by a living artist; is valued at about $20 million, making it the largest single private gift in the museum’s 45-year history. Beasley and museum officials (revealed) details of the plan during a reception at the artist’s Lewis Street studios — someday to be called the Bruce Beasley Sculpture Center — situated in an off-the-radar neighborhood tucked in the shadow of Oakland’s main U.S. Post Office.

Beasley says the relationship with the Oakland museum is a “logical marriage,” considering his deep ties to Oakland where he’s lived, worked as a community activist, and created massive sculptures since bursting into the art world in 1962 at the height of the abstract sculpture movement.

“I wanted to do something to give back to the field and help young sculptors get started,” Beasley said. “Sculpture is the most difficult of all the visual arts for a variety of reasons.”

“Being a sculptor,” he says, “truly takes the strongest calling.”

His vision is specific in its intent — the bequest requires the center be strictly dedicated to sculpture, and Beasley hopes it will serve as a resource for local and international artists. But other details will be left up to museum officials for things like community programs, exhibition space, classes and talks by visiting scholars.

Bruce in his large studio building on Lewis at The Prescott Park.

Bruce in his large studio building on Lewis at The Prescott Park.

West Oakland’s (Coffee) Renaissance

West Oakland has experienced robust evolution over the past several decades. The historic jazz & blues district along 7th Street is now a commuter hub and a developing arts and café scene. Further afield, petite hot spots can be found sprinkled between warehouses, inside warehouses, and across from or next to other hot spots, making it a concentrated area for strong coffee and sandwich options.

Trouble Coffee

Trouble Coffee

 Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club

1545 Willow Street

A petite outpost of the famed coffee spot in San Francisco, Trouble in Oakland is known – and revered -- for their cinnamon toast, muscular espresso drinks (no decaf!) and stark white venue.

10th & Wood

945 Wood Street

10th and Wood

10th and Wood

Tucked into a snug storefront, 10th and Wood calls itself an “eclectic neighborhood cafe” that specializes in “Oakland cuisine.” Translation: An affordable, soul-inflected sandwich spot. They also ferment and bottle their own kombucha in house.

Zellas Soulful Kitchen in Mandela Foods Coop

1430 7th Street

A kitchen inside this jewel of a food coop, Zellas makes hand-crafted sandwiches, salads, grilled meat and fish, and seasonally inspired meals for take-out or to enjoy at the outdoor seating. The distinctly California cuisine uses local produce, so menu selections change with the seasons and include vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Mandela Foods Cooperative

1430 7th Street

Mandela produce market.

Mandela produce market.

When this little-engine-that-could first opened on Mandela Parkway, it was a breath of fresh air— a place that offered fresh produce to this corner of Oakland that did not have single a grocery store. Breathing strong after 8 years, the co-op grocery specializes in affordable, organic fare, as well as health-conscious prepared foods.

From Dennis - founding member:

“Worker cooperatives, along with other forms of economic, can be seen as the cornerstone of an alternative economy that can bring about social justice.”

 7th Street Café

1612 7th Street

Also known as Revolution Cafe or "Rev Cafe", 7th Street Cafe is “a socially responsible social enterprise of the One Fam (non-profit) organization serving West Oakland. In addition to “blazing fast "free" wi-fi, they serve good ol' fashion southern fried chicken & waffles or fresh-cut fries, as well as pour-over organic coffee & espresso.”

Brown Sugar Kitchen

Sweet potato pie at Brown Sugar Kitchen.

Sweet potato pie at Brown Sugar Kitchen.

2534 Mandela Parkway

New-school old-soul food famous for their fried chicken and ethereal waffles. Diner-style counter seats and tables fill up fast with lines out the door on weekends.

 

Tamales la Oaxaqueña

2608 Market Street

Banana-leaf wrapped tamales filled with rich, earthy, chile-filled moles, including vegetarian options. The chef is Rosa Oliva, and she runs a lean kitchen brimming with bitter, sweet, and smoky Oaxacan flavors.

Dripline

1940 Union Street, #21

A real baker in West Oakland, glory be! Chef Nora hails from Blue Bottle Coffee, so you know she knows what she’s doing. Outstanding pastry and breakfast/lunch bowl options in a cool, fresh space.

 

 

FuseBOX

2311A Magnolia St. 

FuseBOX, Korean-fusion in a funky converted warehouse.

FuseBOX, Korean-fusion in a funky converted warehouse.

Korean-fusion fare that defies pigeonholing. Wedged into an old warehouse next to artist studios, FuseBOX is an unlikely and undisputed success story. Sunhui Chang and his wife Ellen opened this hot-spot in May 2012 and have since grown only hotter, thanks in part to their take on KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) and kimchi pickles.

 

Milky Way Coffee

1724 Mandela Parkway

A brand-newcomer on the West Oakland scene, Milky Way is a bright, fresh spot offering “Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch”. There’s a long list of sandwiches and a friendly, smiling face to welcome you.

 

Kilivolt Coffee

Kilivolt Coffee

Kilivolt Coffee

1829 Mandela Parkway

Bagels, sandwiches, the ever-popular toast, and super-strength coffee in mid-industrial West Oakland. The electrician-owner renovated the space himself and offers a welcome-to-our-neighborhood spirit.

 

Pretty Lady Restaurant

1733 Peralta Street

A West Oakland staple since the 50s and under newer ownership since about 2004, Pretty Lady is a cute pit-stop in this industrial terrain. Much-loved for its history and its no-frills affordable breakfasts and lunches with a side of kimchi, if wanted.

Pretty Lady restaurant, a classic.

Pretty Lady restaurant, a classic.