Black Space Matters

As part of our commitment to holding space for important, intergenerational conversations for the Black Community, Alena Museum hosted Black Space Matters, a panel discussion, on Sunday, August 19. The event was aimed at starting a dialogue on the dynamics of opening space and holding space for the Black Community in the midst of gentrification encroaching on environments that Black people have traditionally held. The panel consisted of Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee, Anyka Barber of Betti Ono, Joshua “Bicasso” Whitaker of Spirithaus Gallery, and Hager ”Seven” Asefaha of Alena Museum, each providing insights into their journey engaging with the questions of how black spaceholders play a critical role in salvaging, preserving, and reimagining how our cultural identity can continue to flourish and reinvent itself in this new era.

The panelists spoke on many rich aspects of this topic, but focused primarily on what led them to want to become a spaceholder, the process they went through to obtain their space, what is needed to make these spaces more sustainable, and their current trials and triumphs.

This was an initial conversation to help people become acquainted with some of the black space holders in Oakland and to provide a foundation for our upcoming events this fall. Alena will hold workshops that will leverage knowledge and resource sharing to facilitate looking into models of a “new black world” that would address some of the key points of the panel. These points included synergizing environments of intentional black spaces that would hold our culture instead of scattered geographies of our work, as well as the importance of recognizing the knowledge and resources we have amongst each other.

Alena views ownership as the vehicle through which these challenges are met. After a 5-year lease of our building ended the landlords used the excuse of Ghost Ship and blatant discriminatory actions to evict us. We have until March 31, 2019 to find another location and we are committed to own the next building that we activate.

Afrofuturism blends past, present, and future. This has been our land, we are still present on this land, and we must consider what our present actions mean for generations moving forward in this changing landscape. Alena Museum wants to collectively envision a Afrofuturistic environment in which urban black communities can exist in healthier and more sustainable ways that mitigate gentrification and thrive from our cultural depth and wealth.


Interested in talking to Alena Museum’s real estate team about any opportunity or resources purchase land? Email