Press Release

Oakland Museum of California Awarded Competitive ‘New California Arts Fund’ Grant

New Grant from James Irvine Foundation Extends OMCA’s Commitment to Revitalization of Local Community

(Oakland, CA)The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is one of ten recipients of the James Irvine Foundation’s New California Arts Fund grant. The grant will enhance the Museum’s current efforts to connect with the Oakland community, support community revitalization, and establish the Museum as a thriving community center for Oakland.

“This new fund will allow the Oakland Museum of California to address urgent needs in our community, while bringing community participation into the very core functions of the Museum,” said Director and CEO Lori Fogarty. “We aim to inspire residents of the OMCA’s surrounding neighborhoods and the broader Oakland community to connect to their personal creativity and express their cultural identity, as well as respond to important community needs with resources, cultural leaders, and partner organizations.”

As a centerpiece of its Arts strategy, the James Irvine Foundation launched the New California Arts Fund to strengthen the capacity of arts organizations to adapt to change and expand engagement. The Fund seeks both to increase participating organizations’ capacity to serve a "New California" as well as to enable organizations to pioneer approaches that demonstrate what a "New California Arts" field will look like. The New California Arts Fund grants support capacity building to encourage organizational change and strengthen an organization’s ability to provide arts engagement opportunities in an expanded and sustainable way over time. For OMCA, the New California Arts Find grant will build upon the Museum’s long-standing commitment to community engagement practices; incorporate community engagement into OMCA Board responsibilities; and create new revenue streams to support community engagement efforts

“This initiative is an outgrowth of the Oakland Museum of California’s strategic plan as we strive to fulfill our vision to inspire a brighter future for California, support a more vibrant Oakland, and create experiences that have real meaning in the lives of our visitors,” said Fogarty.

This grant is OMCA’ fourth major grant from the James Irvine Foundation in the last eight years, and Irvine has been a key partner in the Museum's reinvention, including support for the reinstallation of the Gallery of California Art, the creation of the Oakland Standard programming, and the Museum’s current approach to community engagement. Other bay area organizations awarded grants through the New California Arts Fund include: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, California Shakespeare Theater, and MACLA.

"These leading arts nonprofits were selected for their enterprising approach to expanding engagement, not only in their programming, but as a driver for rethinking their operations from the inside out,” said Josephine Ramirez, Irvine’s Arts Program Director. “We look forward to learning with and from these organizations, and hope this initiative will act as an incubator for new ideas and models that will accelerate change across the arts field."

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