Ashkenaz: Appraisal

Plaque given to David by the City of Berkeley.Ashkenaz has stayed true to its mission since 1973; it has long held values that focus on community enrichment and has continuously promoted these core beliefs through shared cultural heritage. They have maintained their code of acceptance and peace through welcoming traditional music and dance from across the globe, welcoming all genres, from American roots to West African Kora ensembles and Persian ballet.

The management staff at Ashkenaz includes members of the local community who have been involved in the music venue since it first opened. Larry Chin – managing director and manager of Ashkenaz – has been working at the site since it first opened in the early 1970s and has witnessed the growth and changes that have occurred since. The years of experience and multiple talents of the staff means they are passionate about and understand the mission of the venue, often taking on many roles to keep the place running smoothly.

Many "Gilman District"of the threats to Ashkenaz include issues that arise with gentrification – or, commercial urbanization and subsequent demographic displacement – of the surrounding community, and an increasingly technologically driven world. Predictably, along with this increase in online interaction comes a less physically interactive community. So, inadvertently, Ashkenaz also faces the threat of missing out on new return customers whom discover music online or engage in online forums for the betterment of the community.

To attain these repeat customers who let the values live on, the management holds a policy that the space be rented out to local dance teachers during the daytime for a low affordable rate. They also offer free dance lessons before some of the live music – a policy that, coupled with low ticket prices, gives back to the community while maintaining their loyal patronage.

Moreover, Ashkenaz does not have its own parking lot though there is street parking nearby, but also actively discourages patrons from parking on the residential streets to avoid disturbing neighbors late at night. This lack of free and secure parking could serve to encourage bicycle commuting, but suffers from a lack of secure bicycle storage.

We propose the addition of more programming aimed at children, web-based resources for patrons, and an audio tour of Ashkenaz. We do not foresee the need to upgrade any of the existing infrastructure in the building except for the retrofitting that is already planned, and routine maintenance and small installations, like a community pin board for visitors to inscribe with memories.



Interpretive Projects 
Project Media 
Ashkenaz Cultural Heritage Interpretation & Site Management Plan (.pdf)

Posted on December 10, 2015, in Anthro136kF2015, Ashkenaz. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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