Tuesday, October 08, 2002

New Exhibit at Carnegie to Showcase Oakland Dedevelopment

A new exhibit focusing on the decline of the Oakland area is set to open on November 2. “How Oakland Declined” is being touted as a sister exhibit of the popular “Designing Oakland” that ran from June 22 to September 29.

The exhibit features scenes from Oakland’s past and present, displayed to highlight how great Oakland fixtures such as the Duquesne Gardens, are now parking lots. A whole section of the exhibit is devoted to how once tree-lined beautiful streets are now overrun with trash and empty beer bottles.

Exhibit curator Jack Shopfler is enthusiastic about this new, ground-breaking exhibit on the Carnegie's neighborhood.

“Oakland used to be so cool,” explains Shopfler. “Places like The Decade had great bands, such as an early ‘80s appearance by U2. The Beehive was a bustling coffeehouse in a time before the coffeehouse was fashionable. Forbes Field hosted a historic World Series. A game at Pitt Stadium would fill Oakland almost every Saturday in the Fall. Now, look at this place.”

The idea for the new exhibit came from watching museum patrons, especially Pitt students, talk about how all the plans on display for Designing Oakland would probably never come to pass.

“I saw all that stuff on how they want to beautify Oakland,” said Pitt student Amy Rotello, “But, c’mon, we all know nothing’s going to happen. They had some great ideas for this dump, too.”

“Calling Oakland a “dump"” isn’t too far off,” Shopfler quipped. “The streets are always lined with trash – there are beer bottles and empty cans all over the place. Often on Saturday or Sunday morning, you can see vomit on the sidewalks. Oakland is really falling apart. This new exhibit will hopefully show everyone that Oakland wasn’t always a shithole.”

Support for “How Oakland Declined” is provided by the Henry Hillman Foundation and the Heinz Architectural Center.

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