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HEALING JUSTICE: Exploring Public Art Practices Symposium 

April 29 from 10:00 am 4:30 pm


Join us for a day of performances, presentations, and conversations that will explore public art practices that are pushing the boundaries of what it means to heal in the midst of challenging times.

Hosted at the Oakland Museum of California, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Exploring Public Art Practices Symposium is a biennial, one-day conference that brings together California artists from a range of practices to investigate the power of art in the public realm.

This year’s theme, HEALING JUSTICE, offers a poignant and timely topic to the Symposium. After three years of a global pandemic, ongoing racial unrest, climate disasters, and a divisive political landscape, these public artists are turning to practices that offer us opportunities to engage in communal healing.

Tickets for this day-long symposium are $25 for general public and $20 for OMCA Members.

Featured presenters

Dohee Lee, Keisha Turner, Alex Bledsoe, The Oakland Lowdown, Angela Hennessy, Cara Levine, Hector Dionicio Mendoza, Damien McDuffie, Andreína Maldonado, The Future IDs Project, and a curated community building food experience hosted by La Cocina and Wahpepah’s Kitchen.

View the event page in Spanish.

More on the offerings

This is Not a Gun with Cara Levine and Angela Hennessy 
This Is Not A Gun is a socially engaged artwork whose purpose is to utilize collective creative activism to open space for healing and cultivate an increased awareness of racial profiling, police brutality, and societal trauma in America. Through workshops participants recreate objects in clay that police have mistaken for guns. This Is Not A Gun is hosted by artists, activists, healers, and mindfulness collaborators.

Artistic Collaboration in Grassroots Performance with Andreína Maldonado (Workshop in Spanish only. English translation headsets will be available)
Participants will learn about different somatics and artistic methodologies that can be used when working and collaborating with grassroots immigrant communities. The group will  explore concepts such as Popular Education as it relates to space facilitation, leadership and collective knowledge; Body Somatics as it relates to wellness, sustainability and resilience; and collective Art-Making as it relates to storytelling, lyricism, and movement expression.

News as Justice: Sharing Community Stories of Healing with the Oakland Lowdown 
How might we reframe local news as a force for liberation and elevate narratives of healing from our communities? This two-part workshop will explore tools from journalism that can help us ask important questions and tell stories that build power and agency. Participants will practice interviewing techniques and hear firsthand from community health advocates in Oakland. The goal is to facilitate a continuous interview that the Oakland Lowdown will record to produce a video segment of the iterative conversation.

Future IDs Art & Justice Leadership Cohort with Dr. Luis Garcia, Rebecca Jackson, Kirn Kim, Phillip Lester, Emiliano Lopez, Sabrina Reid, Jessica Tully, and Gregory Sale 
This forum focuses on the most recent iteration of Future IDs, a social-impact initiative about justice reform and second chances after incarceration. It will include a conversation on how the Cohort cultivates system-impacted and allied changemakers, encouraging and enabling them to generate collaborative and individually-led advocacy programs as they strive to become more horizontal in their shared knowledge, decision making, and work together.

Creando Espacio/ Making Space, A Collaborative Community Based Project with Hector Dionicio Mendoza
Creando Espacio is a participatory art installation by Bay Area based artist, Hector Dionicio Mendoza in collaboration with Amalia Mesa-Bains, Viviana Paredes, and Steve White.  As a child, Mendoza grew up with a great appreciation for the importance of faith, ritual, and alternative healing traditions as practiced by his grandfather, a fifth-generation curandero (shaman).  In Mexico, as well as Central and South America, the curandera/o plays an important role to many people embarking on the long and challenging journey to El Norte/The North (the United States), providing blessings and protection before they depart in search of a better way of life. Creando Espacio draws on Mendoza’s childhood memories creating an outdoor dwelling that modernizes his grandfather’s healing space in Mexico.


Maroon is My Favorite Color (excerpt) by Keisha Turner
A movement-based exploration that asks, what alternatives are there to the disorienting, generational overexposure to extractive and exploitative labor? This embodied journey is an invitation to other Diasporic Africans to consider how we might “maroon” – that is, self-emancipate – in a contemporary context.   

칠성 새남굿- Chilseong SaenamGut (Duringut): Ritual for Sickness by Dohee Lee
In order to heal, Dohee Lee calls upon a ritual for sickness, illness, and destruction from Jeju Island, her hometown. This ritual is for facing and naming challenges, for purging destructive and monstrous spirits (Heomaengyee-허맹이 *), white supremacy, and patriarchal culture,and inviting back vital spirits (Chilseong-칠성신 **).

About the emcee

Alex Bledsoe will emcee the event and help us shape the day with her insight and vision. Alex is a filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist whose work is rooted in Black liberation, healing justice and health equity.

About The Symposium

This program is curated and produced by the Learning, Experience, and Programming Team at OMCA.

Launched in 2016, the Exploring Public Art Practices Symposium is supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and is part of its Open Spaces Program. This grantmaking program has awarded over $2.8 million to enable artists to create temporary, place-based public art projects that are responsive to issues relevant to communities in San Francisco and Oakland.

Kenneth Rainin Foundation is dedicated to enhancing quality of life by championing and sustaining the arts, promoting early childhood literacy and supporting research to cure chronic disease.

Supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

Kenneth Rainin Foundation logo


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is committed to providing programs that are accessible, welcoming, and inclusive of our community. Assistive listening devices and wheelchairs are available for checkout on a first come, first served basis at the Ticketing Desk. To request other accommodations, like American Sign Language (ASL), Cantonese, Spanish or another language interpreter, please email [email protected] at least three weeks before the event.