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Oakland Arts and Culture Community Lead Effort to Uplift Black Voices Via the Preservation and Presentation of Oakland Murals

(OAKLAND, CA) September 30, 2020Leaders of the Oakland arts and culture community officially announce details of “Art For the Movement,” a collaborative initiative to document, preserve, and present recent artworks created in support of Black lives. The cohort, led Black Cultural Zone (BCZ) and Black-led artists and organizations, with support from Oakland Art Murmur and Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), recently assembled to uplift the powerful local art displayed throughout downtown Oakland.

The murals and artworks being created in Oakland are a form of protest and activism directed toward systemic police brutality and racism, representing the nationwide conversation sparked by the murders of Black people. These artworks are part of a moment that is integrally intertwined with the loss of Black lives. More than an art initiative, the intention of “Art For the Movement” is to hold the conversation and frame a path forward, centered around Oakland’s Black voices and Black artists.

This group of Oakland arts and culture leaders is committed to preserving these works as symbols of a larger movement and significant moment in history. In order to do so, the cohort is making every effort to identify and contact artists to secure their support for the preservation, documentation, and presentation of their work. Artists may also fill out the following form to provide information about themselves and their work.

Near-term actions on behalf of the cohort include logistical planning for the preservation and safe stewardship of the artworks, including work to properly store and track the art. The group will work to continue the conversation around the movement through moderated virtual conversations and ongoing free exhibitions throughout Oakland, all coordinated with the support of the artists whose work is involved.

The series of free, live virtual conversations will be led by Spearitwurx, an Oakland-based organization that leads intergenerational wellness and is a member of the Black Cultural Zone. The facilitated conversations will include artist interviews, moderated discussions, images and other documentation of the murals, and opportunities for participants to engage in this historic moment and time of transformation. A list of programs is included below.

“This grassroots, multi-dimensional collaboration amongst art and culture leaders is crucial in order to elevate the conversation in support of Black lives, and the historical pain suffered by Black people in our community and nationwide,” said Black Cultural Zone CEO Carolyn Johnson. “This artwork is the backdrop of a movement toward truth, justice, equity, and transformation.”

“Oakland Art Murmur is humbled to be a part of the collaborative effort of Oakland artists, creative workers, culture bearers, and nonprofits to document and preserve the art created during the May 2020 protests. By working together, we can ensure that the documentation, preservation, and exhibition plans stay focused on authentically elevating the issues brought to the public consciousness by the Black Lives Matter movement. We believe that the efforts of this work will be to continue the momentum of the movement and create long-term opportunities for dialogue and learning,” said Jean Marie Durant, President of Oakland Art Murmur.

“Oakland is deeply rooted in protest and activism, often expressed creatively through art. During these seminal times, members of our community have responded through the creation of these profound and timely murals on storefronts and businesses throughout downtown and in other neighborhoods in our city,” said Oakland Museum of California Director & CEO Lori Fogarty. “We’re honored to play a part in supporting the preservation and documentation efforts of these important works, and look forward to continuing to explore ways to engage in conversations with our community at this moment.”

For more information, the cohort’s guiding principles and FAQ can be found here.

In addition to the murals that remain installed throughout downtown Oakland, visitors can also explore murals that were created on street fronts in the Fruitvale District, facilitated by The Unity Council and Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. The murals will be on view at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, located at 2465 34th Avenue in Oakland, through October 26. Visit for more information.

Art For the Movement: Conversations for Change Programs

Three free virtual programs, hosted on Black Cultural Zone’s YouTube channel, will be centered around the beautiful and poignant protest murals and artworks that have appeared throughout Oakland.

Please join us for the following programs. No registration required. All are free and open to the public. More details to follow.

“Honoring the Artists”
Wednesday, October 7, 6 pm
The following artists have been invited to participate in a conversation on “Honoring the Artists.”

“Art as Racial Healing”
Wednesday, November 4, 6 pm

“Forwarding the Movement”
Wednesday, December 2, 6 pm


Since 2014, The East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative has been working with a coalition of residents, government agencies, churches, and grassroots organizing groups to help keep Black folks in East Oakland. Through a strategy of building power, securing land, and directing more dollars to community driven projects we can secure a foothold in East Oakland that finally allows our neighborhoods to thrive.​ For more information see  

Oakland Art Murmur (OAM) seeks to be a voice for all Oakland artists and art spaces and seeks to connect all members of the public to the eclectic and incredible art of Oakland. We are motivated by a genuine desire to expand social justice in the arts and empower artists of all backgrounds and experiences. To that end, OAM seeks to promote historically underserved artists and art spaces and educate the public as to the rich and vibrant history of the arts in Oakland.

Since our beginnings in 2006, Oakland Art Murmur (OAM) has connected thousands of artists in thousands of exhibitions to over 1,000,000 visitors. OAM supports its community by generating not only local, but also regional, national, and international attention to Oakland, providing good-news stories about the city’s thriving art scenes and cultural renaissance. For more information see

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year as a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world. For more information, see  

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