Press Release

Monday, March 28, 2016 - 1:22pm
OMCA Presents Exhibition Exploring Dynamic Changes in West Oakland

Interactive Exhibition Invites Public Input About How Long-Time and New Residents Can Play Active Roles in Shaping Community Identity

OAKLAND: I WANT YOU TO KNOW… ON VIEW JULY 23 TO OCT. 30, 2016

(Oakland, CA) March 28, 2016—In July 2016, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will present a new exhibition that explores current and accelerating social, economic, and demographic changes in West Oakland as seen through the eyes of the community. Entitled Oakland: I want you to know…, the exhibition will feature artworks co-created by artists and members of the West Oakland community, and will invite Museum visitors to share their thoughts about what’s happening in Oakland right now. On view in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art, the exhibition asks the question “How can new and longtime residents of Oakland play an active role in shaping the changing identity of our city while preserving the aspects of what make West Oakland unique?”

West Oakland, a neighborhood that has dramatically changed in recent years, is the point of departure for this conversation that delves into significant issues that affect all of Oakland and other communities in California and the US. Exhibition visitors will encounter video installations, images, and community projects contained in environments inspired by some of the iconic structures found in West Oakland such as a Victorian home, a contemporary loft, and the now-shuttered Ester’s Orbit Room bar and blues hall. Within each space, visitors will be introduced to different key conversations from the neighborhoods through the voices of the people, organizations, and businesses that call West Oakland home.
 
The exhibition is curated by OMCA Curator of Public Practice Evelyn Orantes, in collaboration with artist and social justice practitioner Chris Treggiari, and runs July 23 through October 30  2016.

Oakland: I want you to know… is part of a multi-year artist/community-driven series designed to respond to important community needs and inspire residents of the Oakland Museum of California’s surrounding neighborhoods—Chinatown, Fruitvale, San Antonio, Uptown, and West Oakland—and the broader Bay Area community to connect to their personal creativity and express their cultural identities. Other projects in the series have included the successful exhibitions Who is Oakland? and Tell Me Where the Mirrors Go, all of which have been supported, in part, by the James Irvine Foundation.

Curator Evelyn Orantes says, “Like many communities, at the heart of West Oakland is a sense of belonging and caring about your neighbors. Oakland: I want you to know… explores how we all can play active roles in shaping community in times of rapid change. We invite visitors to participate in this forum to converse about the opportunities and concerns these changes provide and about how we can preserve what makes the West Oakland community vibrant and unique.”
 
Community and individual exhibition collaborators include the East Side Arts Alliance, Visual Element with lead artist Allison Santiago, Acta Non Verba with lead Kelly Carslile, Youth Radio with lead Maeven McGovern, Town Park with lead artist Keith “K Dub” Williams, and contributions by Alex Frantz Ghassan, Ada Chan and Taller Tercer Mundo, Fantastic Negrito, and Julie Placensia.

About Chris Treggiari
Chris Treggiari's artistic practice strives to investigate how art can penetrate the public realm in a way that can connect wide ranges of people and neighborhoods in a variety of communities.  Chris focuses on highlighting diverse community identities, shared histories, and personal stories through participatory, mobile platforms that encourage exploration from the viewer. Often these participatory platforms entail creative methods, which aim to turn the passive viewer into an active art maker who can participate in sharing their personal voice in a community dialogue.  
 
Chris has worked and exhibited internationally including the Venice Biennale 2012 American Pavilion as well as nationally at Torrance Art Museum, the Getty Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Jose Museum of Art, The Oakland Art Museum and the ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose to name a few. Chris has received grants from the Puffin Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Creative Work Fund, the Arts Commission of San Jose, The Seattle Center Foundation, and the Oakland Arts Commission, U.S Bank, and the Zellerbach Foundation to name a few.  His work has been reviewed in such publications as Art Ltd, The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle to name a few.  Chris is currently a teaching artist in-residence at the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts for the fall and spring semester 2013-15.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS
 
Altered State: Marijuana in California
April 16–September 25, 2016
In Spring 2016, OMCA presents the first-ever museum exhibition to focus on marijuana in California today. Designed as a catalyst for conversation and reflection around the marijuana plant, its uses, evolving public attitudes, and the complex policy and social issues surrounding it, the exhibition explores the many ways that people consider cannabis, presented through the perspectives, knowledge, and opinions of a diverse range of community members and groups. With marijuana increasingly in the news, and California on the verge of making important decisions around marijuana that will impact people living in this state, the exhibition provides a community space where people can come together to learn, question, discuss, and add their voice to the different points of views surrounding this complex and evolving topic.
 
Open Engagement—POWER
April 29–May 1, 2016
Open Engagement 2016—POWER will take at the Oakland Museum of California and additional sites throughout the Bay Area. An annual, three-day artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around socially engaged art, the conference will explore the centralized theme of POWER, guided by the curatorial vision of OMCA’s Senior Curator of Art René de Guzman, and will feature keynote speakers Angela Davis and Suzanne Lacy. Founded in 2007, Open Engagement has evolved into an unparalleled hub for practitioners and audiences of socially engaged art to assemble. It is the only conference on this subject of this scale that operates on an inclusive open call model that supports emerging and established artists and collaborates closely with national institutions to further the networks of support for socially engaged art. Open Engagement—POWER (2016) in partnership with the Oakland Museum of California and the California College of Arts (CCA) marks the first year of a three-year cycle, followed by Chicago (2017—JUSTICE) in partnership with University of Illinois Chicago, and New York (2018—SUSTAINABILITY) in partnership with the Queens Museum.
 
Oakland, I want you to know…
July 27, 2016–January 1, 2017
Opening in July 2016 in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art, Oakland, I want you to know… is a new exhibition that explores current and accelerating social, economic, and demographic changes in West Oakland as seen through the eyes of the community. The exhibition will feature artworks co-created by artists and West Oakland residents, and will invite Museum visitors to share their thoughts about what’s happening in Oakland right now. The exhibition asks people to answer the question “How can new and longtime residents of Oakland play an active role in shaping the changing identity of our city while preserving the aspects of what make West Oakland unique?” In this artist and community-driven exhibition co-created with artist Chris Treggiari and OMCA Curator of Public Practice Evelyn Orantes, visitors will encounter video installations, images, and community projects contained in environments inspired by some of the iconic structures found in West Oakland like a Victorian home, a contemporary loft, and the now-shuttered Ester’s Orbit Room bar and blues hall. Within each space, visitors will be introduced to different key conversations from the neighborhood through the voices of the people, institutions, and businesses that call West Oakland home.
 
All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50
October 8, 2016–February 12, 2017
In Fall 2016, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will present a major exhibition to coincide with the 50th anniversary the Black Panther Party’s founding on October 15, 1966, in Oakland. Presenting a contemporary view of the Black Panther Party’s legacy from multiple perspectives, All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 will show how the Party continues to inspire culture, social activism, and community empowerment efforts locally, nationally, and internationally. Designed to create empathy and emotional resonance, the exhibition explores the Black Panther Party as a necessary, heroic, and human response to societal needs. Informed by insights from former Black Panthers, artists, scholars, and community members, the exhibition will feature art installations, historical photographs and media presentations, artifacts, and contemporary works of art.
 
Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
November 12, 2016–April 23, 2017
Through the lens of her camera, Dorothea Lange documented 20th century life with riveting, intimate photographs that showed the major issues of the times. The emotional impact of her works continues to resonate with millions and illustrates the power of photography as a form of social activism. From documenting the plight of Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression to magnifying the grim conditions of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II, Lange’s photographs demonstrate how empathy and compassion, focused through art, can trigger political action. Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing presents approximately 100 photographs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the artist’s gift of her personal archive to the Oakland Museum of California. Drawing upon vintage prints, unedited proof sheets, personal memorabilia, and historic objects, this exhibition takes a unique approach to a beloved American photographer by examining how her artistry and advocacy swayed minds and prompted significant change in this nation’s history.
 
ON VIEW
 
UNEARTHED: Found + Made
Through April 24, 2016
In a unique mash-up, UNEARTHED: Found + Made intermixes work by a contemporary artist with the creative practice of amateur local clubs. Oakland-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jedediah Caesar imitates geological processes in making his sculptures, sometimes encasing found objects from the urban environment in clear or colored resin. The California Suiseki Society and the San Francisco Suiseki Kai practice a Japanese tradition of carefully collecting,
appreciating, and displaying stones on carved wooden platforms. Placing Caesar’s sculpture alongside suiseki by members of these clubs highlights a similarity in process they share: each collects loose material from the landscape, reworking and presenting it for shared appreciation. Highlighting the mashing-up of two distinct types of activity and the literal act of taking things from the earth, UNEARTHED: Found + Made features the comparisons between these two practices to generate conversation and mutual understanding across communities and creative ways of working.

Bees: Tiny Insect: Big Impact
Through January 15, 2017
This exhibition in OMCA’s Gallery of California Natural Sciences takes a look at the wildly diverse and intricate world of one of the most important creatures to human agriculture and the natural environment. Through family-friendly experiences, hands-on activities, and media, Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact touches on topics of honeybees and Bay Area beekeeping, the diversity of California native bee species, citizen science projects, and the similarities between bees and humans. Visitors will discover real bee specimens under a microscope, crawl through a human-sized beehive, and try on a beekeeper suit. In an immersive gallery environment, visitors can explore the causes of bee population decline, learn about the significance of bees to California's economy and ecosystems, and discover how simple but powerful actions by Californians can help bees to survive in a changing world.
 
ABOUT THE OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history, and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA's groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California's cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.
 
VISITOR INFORMATION
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum. museumca.org
 
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