Sculptor Dana King creates safe haven for artists in downtown Oakland with SBA 504 loan

Starting over is easy, just ask Dana King. Six years ago, King left her job as a local news anchor at San Francisco CBS Affiliate KPIX to focus on her art. Today she is an accomplished sculptor with a series of public works of art depicting the Montgomery Bus Boycott on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and she was recently recognized as one of “10 Emerging Black Female Artists to Collect” by Black Art in America magazine. King is also an entrepreneur and the owner of a thriving artists’ enclave located in Oakland, California.

In 2012, Dana King made a life-changing decision when she applied for an SBA 504 loan to fund an artists’ studio with a mix of structures in Oakland. King was ready to set aside her career in journalism to create a “place that could accommodate myself, my art and other artists,” she said.

“I’d been in broadcasting for 25 years, and I’d put my art on the back burner for a long time,” said King. “My daughter had graduated from college and I didn’t have financial obligations that kept me handcuffed to my job, so I decided it was time to pursue my art and to do something that felt more aligned with where I was in life spiritually and emotionally.”

King scoured the web until discovering a suitable property. The central location in downtown Oakland fit perfectly into King’s plans to create a haven for artists to work without fear of safety, security and rising rents.

“My vision was simple,” said King. “I wanted to create an opportunity for artists to be more economically sound so that they could create their work. We’re Black and Asian and Brown and White and young and old. We’re Oakland. We do all kinds of different art in here, and it’s a place with a great vibe.“

Artists need all the support they can muster. King’s relationship with her banker Kim Kaselionis, then president of Circle Bank, was a catalyst to fulfilling her dreams. She pitched her vision and business plan, and Kaselionis suggested pursuing the SBA loan and then introduced King to Capital Access Group.

“The team at Capital Access took the time to see me as an individual, assessing my dream and really listening to what I had to say,” said King. “You could tell they believed in me.”

“For Capital Access to sign on in support of my dream was significant,” said King. “There was a level of personal attention and commitment — and risk-taking — on the part of Capital Access that doesn’t happen every day.”

And with their partnership, King’s dream became a reality.

After that, “everything fell into place and I don’t even know how, other than this was just supposed to happen,” said King. “I still pinch myself, even today. I feel so fortunate, so blessed, to be able to carry on the mission of the people that I bought the compound from and to extend that vision out into the art community.”

“We are so proud of Dana’s success, both with her art and her thriving business,” said Jacklyn Jordan, president and CEO, Capital Access Group. “Dana is not only creating a safe, affordable place for artists to work, she is also creating jobs for artists and makers contributing to Oakland’s revitalization.”

Click here to read the press release online.