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New Innovative Exhibition at Oakland Museum of California Explores Changing Dynamics of Oakland

(Oakland, CA)—The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents a new exhibition in the spring of 2015 exploring what’s happening in Oakland today through the work of artists who live and work here, and love the city. Organized by artist and visionary Chris Johnson in partnership with OMCA Curator of Public Practice Evelyn Orantes, Who is Oakland?, will be on view from April 11 through July 12, 2015, in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art. 

Featuring work by Chris Johnson and nine Oakland-based artists, the exhibition reflects on the complex dynamics alive in Oakland today. Addressing challenging issues such as gentrification and social change, while also celebrating Oakland’s diversity of culture and natural environment, Who is Oakland?, delves into questions relevant to the determining the City’s future. Presented as an evolving and participatory experience, visitors will be invited to add their own stories both to the artists’ installations and online throughout the run of the exhibition, contributing personal perspectives to the evolving story of the City.

“At OMCA, our ultimate goal is be a place where people from multiple perspectives can have a dialogue. This feels like a pivotal moment in Oakland’s history, and we want to be part of shaping it,” says Evelyn Orantes, curator of public practice.

Chris Johnson’s previous collaboration with OMCA was 2012’s Question Bridge: Black Males, an ICP Infinity award-winning trans-media project using video to facilitate conversations between black men and boys across the country. An Oakland-based artist, his practice is rooted in community and his work has created ripples of influence internationally.

“Oakland is a city filled with metaphors and contrasting harmonies; a perfect setting for artists to create works that express the complexities of this place that we love,” says Chris Johnson.

Johnson and Orantes invited a diverse group of talented, Oakland-based artists to reflect their experiences of this place and time in the exhibition. The nine artists, in addition to Johnson, represent the diversity of Oakland communities and a range of socially-minded art practices, from multimedia installations to painting, sculpture, video, and photography. Works include:

Who is Oakland? is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

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.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. OMCA is situated between downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt.  Museum admission is $15 general; $10 seniors and students with valid ID, $6 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 new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. For more information, visit

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