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June 3, 2014 > FUSE Ð FremontÕs Effort to Bring the Underground Arts Scene Above Ground

FUSE Ð FremontÕs Effort to Bring the Underground Arts Scene Above Ground

By Jessica von Borck, Deputy City Manager

The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg declared that ÒCities must be Cool, Creative, and In ControlÓ(1). In BloombergÕs article he states that in an increasingly competitive landscape, in order to keep and attract talent, being ÒcoolÓ counts. This further echoes the research conducted by Richard Florida in his book, ÒThe Rise of the Creative Class,Ó(2) highlighting how economic development and creativity are intertwined.

Fremont, which has been declared one of the most diverse Cities in America(3), is entering into its first stage of downtown development to create a central place for the community to gather, and for its arts and cultural scene to thrive. The CityÕs approach to place-making goes beyond bricks and mortar. There is an understanding that it takes more than a few buildings to define a place Ð it takes people.

By injecting soul into the suburban landscape, Fremont is tapping its underground arts and cultural scene and bringing it above ground. On May 17, two vacant storefronts and the parking lot of the Town Fair Shopping Center in downtown Fremont were transformed into a hotbed of creativity by FUSE Ð the Fremont Underground Social Experience. FUSE is a collection of artists, performers, and indie retailers showcasing and exhibiting their artwork and creative products.

Highlights from the FUSE event included the ÒBefore I DieÓ art wall, a community art project by Fremont native Kriti Gupta; displays from Gooseneck Bicycles, a Fremont-based local custom bicycle shop; a live painting of Òsocial vermynÓ by John Hageman, and lifelike, yet cartoonish portraits by Jett PeeMonster, both Fremont-based artists. There were also intricate, impressionist-with-a-twist paintings by Michael Borja; and leap-from-the-page works by artist Michael Foley. Adding to the creative vibe was the South Bay Circus Collective who wowed the crowd with their graceful Cirque Du Soleil-esque performances and impromptu juggling lessons.

FUSE will be held every third Saturday of the month, June through October (June 21, July 19, September 20, October 18), except the month of August. FUSE can be found on Facebook and Twitter at and on Twitter at @fremontundrgrnd. If you have any questions about participating in the event, e-mail

1) Bloomberg, Mike. "Cities Must Be Cool, Creative, and In Control." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2014. Originally in the Financial Times March 27, 2012.
2) Florida, Richard. "What Critics Get Wrong About the Creative Class and Economic Development." CityLab. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2014.
3) Youngdahl , Jay. "A Round of Applause for Fremont, USA." . East Bay Express, n.d. Web. 23 May 2014.
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