In recent years, Oakland has seen a rise in art galleries that have found creative ways to pay the bills. But no local shop better epitomizes this creative business model better than the shoe-store-slash-art-venue SoleSpace, which sells shoes and apparel by day and hosts a wide range of arts and community events by night. Co-founders Jeff Perlstein and Favianna Rodriguez set up their downtown Oakland shop so that the shoe displays and shirt racks are on wheels and can efficiently be rolled aside to make space for all kinds of art shows and live events. Since its launch in November of 2012, SoleSpace has featured new shows by local artists every month or so while also hosting an array of unique workshops, such as women's drumming classes and music and movement sessions for young children. That's in addition to poetry events, live music shows, film series, and more. SoleSpace places an emphasis on social justice and frequently donates its space to local nonprofit and advocacy groups. All the while, shoe sales keep the wheels turning.
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