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Kristi Holohan was born in 1979 in a small rural town in Massachusetts. She received her BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in an independent major titled Cross Cultural Studies of Dress & Gender in which she was sponsored by Artist and African American studies professor Nelson Stevens (who participated in Africobra-Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists). Stevens proved to positively influence her art in the direction of a message of social importance. By designing formal gowns for a small clientele Kristi was able to put herself through the University. While at UMASS, Kristi worked to initiate an artist collective called the Mothership and volunteered her free time at the Survival Shelter and with the City of Amherst’s Department of Mental Health teaching visual art classes to institutionalized individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

            Kristi has lived in Oakland for the past 6 years; the arts, progressive mindset and incredible diversity are the primary reasons for her residence in Oakland. The incredible city has captured her and she has laid her roots. In the recent year she has started Arts and Creative Expression (ACE Arts), fiscally sponsored by Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation (FOPR). ACE Arts is an artist organization created to sustainably address social issues through the arts by teaching foundation techniques and providing materials to those who do not have access to art programs. As a central member and educator of ACE Arts, she is currently collaborating with numerous organizations in Oakland, which include the following: Peralta Neighborhood Community Group, various programs in Oakland Parks and Recreation, Rock Paper Scissors, Youth Uprising, and Intersection for the Arts, Oakland Unified School District (Ralph Bunche High School, Oakland High School, Fremont Federation) and College Park at Castlemont, Her work with the community can be seen in Nicol Park, Dimond Park, Brookdale Recreation Center, Allendale Park, Irvington High School (in Fremont, CA), other mobile pieces have been seen at Oakland Art Murmur, Picnic in the Park, Art and Soul, and Sin Golden Gate Park.

            Kristi’s personal work includes illustrations in a recently published book Arlington’s Dream (a children’s book addressing homelessness, the book is first in a series), hand-bound books, formal evening and wedding dresses (created on commission for a small clientele-textile and do it yourself pieces can be found at various boutiques in the Bay Area), stuffed animals, graphic design, public and private murals and canvass painting commissions. Her works are seen in California and around the United States. The work is primarily with recovered, recycled, and donated materials so as to create art from the found and with little capital.

            Kristi’s community work through ACE Arts has proved to have a deep impact on Oakland. She has curated Challenges of Champions, a community collaborative art exhibit, which addresses the continuous plague of homicide and it’s effects on the community and individuals in city of Oakland. Her positive community work with a diverse population has inspired thought and action. She consistently works to harness the power of Oakland’s vast community and create a knowledgeable, expressive, strong, safe and vibrant future for our city. Contact Kristi Holohan by phone at 415 420 8028 or by email at kristi.holohan@gmail.com.

Art is a reflection of our world and our world is forever inspired by what it sees in our art.

Art can symultaneously shine a mirror to enlighten and have the power to transform, to positively develop our community.

Art is a power of expression, a language, a learning and healing force.

It is by these principals that I work to create pieces of art. Through the utilization and re-fabrication of various materials such as found donated and locally supplied wood, donated paints-often from construction companies-fabric scraps and any other inspiring pieces, creation flows to produce works. My art is inspired by the environment to reflect and introduce knowledge and solutions to our social issues.

I am often inspired by community and because much of my work is in public view I find it essential to work directly in the community. I see myself more as a spark, an organizer or facilitator of artistic projects.

As far as the work: the process is the growth, skill and resourcefulness, the piece is everlasting and the message is an ignition for thought.

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