June 25, 2018

A Shared Space

Members Alicia and Larry Van Riggs share why they support Friday Nights @ OMCA

By OMCA Staff

OMCA is all about making connections for Alicia Van Riggs—to her family, her spirituality, and to Oakland as a whole.

“The Museum is one of the few places I’ve found that actively builds the kind of community that I want to be a part of,” says Alicia, who along with her husband, Larry, has been a Member and steadfast supporter since 2011.

Alicia, who works for the City of Berkeley’s Public Works Department, regularly brings her two young daughters to the Museum, and Friday Nights.

“Friday Nights @ OMCA has been very important to my family,” she says. “They are a way for us to continue to be close to the Museum.  We enjoy it immensely because we meet others with shared values.”

“The Museum is so welcoming,” adds Larry, a stay-at-home dad. “I feel very connected to it.” 

While the Van Riggs’ daughters, ages 3 and 5, love playing in the Museum’s gardens, and Larry cites the Gallery of California Natural Sciences as his favorite area, Alicia has an affinity for artist Linda Yamane’s Ohlone basket, which was specially commissioned for OMCA’s Native American collection.

“I kneel at that basket every time I visit,” says Alicia, who has a master of divinity degree. “I key into the sense of the sacred, and I give thanks for the Museum and for the gift of that basket.”

Alicia also cites the Días de los Muertos and All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 exhibitions as personal highlights, ones that reflect Oakland’s diversity—both past and present.

“We are a multiracial family,” she says, “and the Museum offers a place where people can come together to tell their own stories. It offers a true mirror to the community.”

Want to share your OMCA story? Contact the Membership Office.

A version of this article oginigally appeared in OMCA's magazine Inside Out.