By Lupita Peimbert
(Art & Culture) – A few dozen paintings and multimedia work like the one above, adorn the large white walls inside Sanchez Contemporary, a gallery adjacent to Tertulia Coffee on Telegraph Street. The coffee shop and art gallery opened not long ago in Oakland’s trendy Uptown neighborhood. Tertulia is two business in one place, with a similar purpose, owned by Maria and Tim Sanchez.
Simply said and looking at it from 20th Street, it is coffee to the left and art to the right. Entering on Telegraph, it is like saying Have a cup of coffee and before you leave, go further down to see some art.
“We have created a large, open space for people to come in, sit down, enjoy a warm drink, and be able to enjoy the work done by local artists,” says Maria Sanchez, owner and an artist as well.
“There is a growing community of local artists. Their work is amazing. We want to be that friendly place for them to feel supported and promoted,” Sanchez added.
Since the ‘Day of the Dead’ or Día de Muertos is around the corner on November 2nd, the gallery found it appropriate to create a special exhibit about the elements of this Mexican and Latino tradition, including altars paying homage to friends and family who have passed away, and of course, paintings depicting dead as seen by tradition: La Catrina, La Muerte, La Calaca, and mixing those symbols with American culture.
Rosie the Riveter, for instance, was painted with La Calaca face. Oil, Acrylic on canvas, framed. It was named “We Can Do It,” (Podemos Hacerlo) by Tatiana Ortiz, its creator. Two long hair ladies taking a selfie, but with skeletons (calacas) as face and body, were colorfully painted by Valerie Medina, and named “Selfie.” Both are for sale at $500 (Podemos…) and $475 (Selfie). Legendary Prince also has a portrait a la Día de Muertos, and the painting is excellent.
The opening reception took place on Saturday, October 15, and it was a huge success. Local band The Alta Trio led by Rafael Ramirez, as usual gave a lovely performance with all kinds of Salsa, Boleros, Bachata and other Latin American songs of the past and present. An expert gave an interesting talk, conveying the meaning of the Day of the Dead tradition, and clarifying some misconceptions. The exhibit ends on November
What is very attractive about Tertulia is the way it is decorated: ample space, large windows, white walls. One can be on one’s own or part of a group and nobody gets to hear your conversations.
Brought from Portland, the coffee is delicious. The staff is extremely nice and welcoming. It’s location makes it a trendy place to easily stop by or walk to. The place is elegant yet unpretentious.
Tertulia, by the way, is a Spanish word that means “gathering.” The Sanchez say, it is “a gathering of confidants, who share poetic musings, discuss current affairs, share art and songs while enjoying savory treats.”
And get this: No WiFi. In other words, lets be social for real, please. ;-)!
Tertulia Coffee & Gallery is located on 1951 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612.
Get there by Bart off 19th Street station, and walk about one block.
About the writer:
Lupita Peimbert is a San Francisco Bay Area digital journalist, English-Spanish bilingual, and the publisher of Lupitanews.com