Establish a committee that regularly brings together Oakland's cultural institutions, non-profit organizations, resident leaders, and institutions to collaborate on arts and cultural initiatives as well as the review of various types of projects including development and public art.

  • Establish an organization or committee of organizations to create spaces, programming, and opportunities for art and cultural activities in Oakland.
  • This organization should have structural connections to different components of the Oakland community, particularly residents.
  • The group can help to identify and generate funding (grants, ongoing initiatives) to support artistic interventions that help to make Oakland more of an innovative, inclusive, and resident-serving urban experience.
  • The museums, library, and other cultural institutions should collaborate with business, student, and resident organizations through this committee on programs that engage people of color in Oakland. Neighborhood children should be engaged through outdoor arts and culture activities.
  • Create programming and installations that explore and honor the heritage of the many and varied groups of immigrants and cultures that have and continue to contribute to Oakland (residents, business owners, researchers, etc.). This programming should communicate that Oakland is a welcoming place to live, work, learn, worship, and play.
  • The Arts, Culture, and Design Technical Advisory Group was convened for four meetings in August and September 2021 to work from the public input received over the course of the planning process and establish the recommendations below.
  • The group should identify goals of the committee.
  • In Oakland, you have many arts and culture organizations. This strategy would create a forum for all of them to be welcome, collaborating, and informing each other. The model here needs to establish a collaborative and working group format.
  • In general, there is a strong need to reduce barriers through organizational efforts and in partnership with the City and property owners. City supports a one-page form and more simplified process for certain types of artwork. There is a network of existing public and private open spaces that each have different rules for how to add public art and activities to them. Creates barriers to individuals looking to add art to the neighborhood. OBID is mapping this out right now and could be the organizational partner that knows this landscape and can help connect artists with opportunities. Want residents to feel a part of these activities.
  • Establish a curated kiosk program that could move around to different locations in the neighborhood. Example is transplant tower. Bring things out into the community that wouldn’t otherwise be seen. Could embrace mobility, enhances access to art. Could drive foot traffic to areas they don’t necessarily travel to. OBID very interested in moving this forward. Where it’s located and why, design and engagement role are important. Commitment to ongoing programing is important for this. Where is power held? Are we empowering artists? The community? Those who hold wealth.
  • Important to tap the activities taking place within the universities. CMU has Community Engagement Committee working on how art and design programs serve communities currently. Programs like Masters of Arts Management and Studio Arts at both universities could be part of the programming. Very appealing to have these programs have a location that is on Fifth and Forbes Avenues in the stream of activity instead of hidden away.
  • Copied from Design Guidelines: One component should be universities providing live-work opportunity for studio arts students and staff who are already working and perhaps living in Oakland, but not necessarily visible to public.
  • Outside of the university opportunities, established partnerships with OPDC’s CLT and other workforce housing initiatives to establish more live-work spaces for artists. These may make sense in the Melwood area and Boulevard of the Allies or integrated into the residential parts of the neighborhood. Likely all spaces will need some level of subsidy (land or direct) given the high cost of housing in Oakland.
  • When spaces are created, a budgeted curator, arts administrator, or creative director needs to be part of the proposal to keep the space functioning and changing. The selection of the curator can help to signal the kind of art and expression that is desired. Where students are involved, curation is crucial given their schedules and changing course offerings.
  • Examples: Mural Arts in Philadelphia, which has commissioned 4,000 murals. Torpedo Factory in Maryland has transformed the region around it.
  • Wherever furniture, fixtures, and equipment is part of projects, particularly those that are open to the public, on public space, or using public dollars, the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) should create opportunities for local artists as well. Creating these connections with local crafts community could have many benefits.

When to start: 0-2 years

Duration: Ongoing

Estimated costs: $ (out of $$$$)

Project lead(s): DCP

Project partner(s): CMOA, OBID, OPDC, neighborhood leaders, DCP, Carnegie Library, OPA, Pitt Art Committee representation, art and design faculty at CMU, CMU Masters of Arts Management program faculty/students, local artists and designers

Potential funding source(s): Grants