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Official Press Release: Rotten City Cultural District

ABG Art Group & District  Works to Jointly Implement the City of Emeryville’s

Emeryville, CA – (1/29/2024) - The City of Emeryville, California, in partnership with Oakland-based arts and creative placemaking organizations ABG Art Group and District Works, announces the launch of the Rotten City Cultural District (RCCD) Program, a two year initiative set to run from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2025.

The California Cultural District program was developed by the California Arts Council in partnership with Visit California and Caltrans. The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts, fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations, serving as thought leader and champion for the arts, and providing effective and relevant programs and services. Through experienced and community-centered leadership of ABG Art Group and District Works, this program is poised to amplify and transform the cultural landscape of Emeryville over the next 24 months further developing its reputation as a city of arts and innovation.

The RCCD will distinguish itself from other Bay Area cultural districts through its growing reputation as the central hub for dedicated makers and innovators passionately committed to creative and artistic expression, economic development, and community building through the arts. The program aims to build public engagement and resources for the arts, fostering an environment where creativity flourishes and the local arts community is recognized, promoted and celebrated. "We are excited to join this program and collaborate with the City of Emeryville to enhance both the marketing and artistic vibrancy of the city," says Trent Thompson, Co-Director of ABG Art Group. Sorell Raino-Tsui, the company's founder and a born-and-raised Emeryville native, expresses excitement about forging meaningful ties in the vibrant local art scene. "It's an exciting opportunity to create connections between artists, local businesses, and community partners," says Raino-Tsui.

Community partners include

District Works, a key collaborator of ABG Art Group, brings its expertise in event management and urban place management to the table as well as a deep commitment to promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity in the arts. Together, ABG Art Group and District Works will implement the Rotten City Cultural District (RCCD) Program, leveraging their collective experience doing similar work in Oakland, California and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We are grateful for the partnership with ABG Art Group and District Works and are confident that their breadth and depth of talents will bring about a transformative experience for both artists and the community at large,” says Amber Evans, Community and Economic Coordinator and RCCD Project Manager with the City of Emeryville. Further she notes “For too long Emeryville was known as the Rottenest City west of Mississippi, (Steve Snider of District Works mentioned), and now we are excited to be recognized for the fertile ground found in Emeryville for makers and artists. We hope to do for art what “farm to table” did for food.”

The California Arts Council's support for the RCCD Program underscores the organization’s dedication to fostering artistic expression and innovation in communities across the state. The program's current funding is a testament to the belief in its potential to make a lasting impact on the cultural fabric of Emeryville and the greater east Bay community. The Rotten City Cultural District Program promises to be a beacon for artists, creators, and enthusiasts alike, inviting them to participate in a dynamic cultural exchange. Stay tuned for upcoming events, exhibitions, and initiatives that will celebrate the rich artistic tapestry of the Rotten City Cultural District.

For more information, please contact:

Chadrick Smalley

Community Development Director

City of Emeryville


Erica Enriquez

Director of Business Management

ABG Art Group

Steve Snider


District Works

Kimberly Brown

Public Affairs Specialist

California Arts Council

About ABG Art Group:

ABG Art Group, or "Artistic. Business. Guild.," is a dynamic team specializing in large-scale art installations. They empower artists by blending artistry with logistical expertise, fostering connections and trust among diverse artists. Beyond installations, ABG distinguishes itself through artist professional development, curation, and creative direction. This multifaceted approach ensures that ABG is not only a facilitator of art but also a partner in the growth and success of artists from idea to execution.

About District Works:

District Works is leading transformative change in the urban place management industry and is committed to fostering cultural diversity and inclusivity through impactful community-driven creative placemaking initiatives. By collaborating with local communities, District Works aims to create spaces that reflect the vibrant cultural and artistic expression of the community while enhancing the economic vitality of the communities it serves.

About the City of Emeryville, California:

Emeryville has been a city in progress for one hundred and twenty-five years. Located on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay between Oakland and Berkeley directly opposite the Golden Gate, since incorporating in 1896, the town has grown into Emeryville, the City of Art and Innovation. A vibrant, urban community of approximately 12,000 residents and home to over 20,000 jobs, Emeryville is a complete community that offers opportunities to live, work and play. The City is home to an array of innovative companies, including Pixar Animation Studios, Upside Foods, Gritstone Bio, Amyris, 4D Molecular Therapeutics and many others. The City is a recognized leader in sustainability, alternative transportation, affordable housing and support of cultural arts.

About the California Arts Council:

The California Arts Council is a state agency dedicated to advancing California through the arts and creativity. With a focus on accessibility and inclusivity, the Council supports diverse artistic expressions to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.

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