We had the good fortune of connecting with Viviana Rodriguez-Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Viviana, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The concept of our business was sparked through an opportunity presented to us. We didn’t have a lot of time to think about it but it was a great opportunity not only for us but for those who we would be able to hold space for. We had lots of ideas and a great location but no starting capital. So we started to think about the resources that we did have and put a call out to our community for the things that we needed.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am very proud of E14 Gallery and all the artists and community we’ve been able to host for the past 5 years.

E14 Gallery is a gallery for the people. Having this space has allowed me to express my creativity in many different ways. We have been able to hold space for other artist, creatives and community. We have created a BIPOC space were everyone feels welcome and represented. Where they feel seen and their experiences are acknowledged and celebrated through the artistic expressions of the artists we represent. We are proud to upholding the values of Oakland, those of history, culture, resistance and resilience. What has gotten us to where we are today is the love and respect we have for our community and the relationships we’ve fostered throughout our lifetimes. We are and will continue to be more than just a business, a gallery, and a giftshop we are a place where you can come and get inspired, connect to artists, build relationships, and find opportunities. We are here to support artists weather they are 6 years old or 80, emerging or legendary. We are here for the love of art and the voice that art gives to the voiceless.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would start off with:

Breakfast at Doyle Street Café in Emeryville, then a nice stroll around Lake Merritt stopping at Fairyland and the botanical garden, a movie at the historical Grand lake theater and ending at Lake Chalet for a little happy hour drink and maybe even a gondola ride.

After breakfast grab sandwiches, snacks maybe some wine at Ratto’s International Market, a 125 year-old family owned deli. Take a hike threw the redwoods in the Oakland hills, finding a nice spot to enjoy all the goodies you got at Ratto’s while enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature before heading back to the hustle and bustle of the city below. Ending the evening at Oeste with dinner, drinks and music on their roof top.

Enjoy a day at the Oakland Zoo. Dinner at Zachary’s Pizza a worker owned restaurant and grab a drink at a bar along telegraph

Lunch and shopping in Old Oakland, walking the farmer’s market, enjoying the food of Xingones and La Guerrera’s Kitchen visiting all the galleries in the area but especially E14 Gallery then enjoy a drive mural tour throughout Oakland. Checking out a performance at Yoshi’s and the new perish

A ferry ride from Jack London

A visit to the Akoma Market at the Eastmont Town Center for local shopping and lunch at Las Palmas in the Fruitvale district. Watch the sunset from the lookout point in Joaquin Miller park or Grizzly peak and Dinner at Bomberas and desert at Fenton’s or Flavor Brigade

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout goes to my community for having our backs and showing us their love and support through cheering us on, helping us out with items, time and energy. But we could not have done it without the help of Tommy Wong, Adam Goldenberg, Edwin and Yadira Rodriguez, Emory Douglas, and Rafael Davila.

Website: www.e14gallery.com

Instagram: @e14gallery

Facebook: E14 Gallery

Image Credits
Photo Credit: Shomari Smith

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