Community Center Radiance Hopes to Reopen in Oakland’s Waterfront Warehouse District This Fall

After being closed for the past two and a half years, Radiance (278 4th St.), a nonprofit community center located in Oakland’s waterfront warehouse district, plans to reopen this fall with a revitalized spirit.

Formerly a live/work space that hosted art, music, and dance events, Radiance was forced to shut down to meet Oakland’s zoning codes. While the building is being seismically retrofitted, its zoning classification has changed from “live/work” to “mixed use: residential/group assembly,” allowing Radiance to host more community events such as poetry readings, parties, self-defense classes, and karaoke nights.

Rebecca Holtzman, a founding member and former resident of Radiance, said that, when it reopens, the space will fill a void created after the Ghost Ship fire, which took 36 lives in Oakland in December 2016. “Many warehouse spaces have had to go deeper underground or evaporate entirely,” she said. “We’re getting everything up to code so Ghost Ship never could have happened here.”

Holtzman said Radiance provided a warm, familial space nearly 3,000 miles away from her home in New York. She moved to Oakland not knowing anybody, but found a community among other artistic types living and working at Radiance. She described the common denominator between Radiance members as a passion for raver culture, Burning Man, and “ecstatic dance.”

“The key ingredient is that we try to make it as sweet and welcoming and inclusive as possible,” she said.

Radiance is housed in a historic building that used to be a French fry factory, and will bring an opportunity for engagement and community interaction to a neighborhood primarily composed of condos and warehouses. An art gallery on the first floor will showcase both the artist-in-residence and other local artists.

The venue hopes to reopen this fall and recently held an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for a portion of the construction for seismic retrofitting, which will cost over $450,000. Although organizers were far from meeting their goal, they’re in the process of acquiring loans in order to open in a timely manner — and begin to cultivate community and creativity once again.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to make sure people feel really well cared-for as well as entertained,” said Holtzman.

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