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Friday Nights Programs Expand onto Oak Street Plaza, More Off-The-Grid Food Trucks, Special Summer of Joy Marketplace, and More!

(Oakland, CA) June 8, 2023 – As summer goes into full swing, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) hits its stride with a variety of just-announced public programs. The month of July will feature popular Friday Nights with expanded programming onto the Museum’s front porch—Oak Street Plaza—plus more Off-the-Grid Food Trucks. A special Summer of Joy Marketplace will offer works by artists featured in the current exhibition, Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD on view in the Great Hall. A complete schedule of events may be found below, with more details at

Oakland Museum of California July 2023 Public Programs and Events

Friday Nights at OMCA

Reconnect with family, friends, and community every week during Friday Nights at OMCA. These free events provide a gathering place each week, including live music, hands-on activities, and late-night access to our galleries and special exhibitions with a Museum ticket. This month OMCA expands its Friday Nights programming to include Oak Street Plaza, with a chill, acoustic and up-close vibe. Also expanding due to popular demand, Off the Grid Food Trucks will be featured on both 10th Street and Oak Street, adding more trucks and cuisines to tempt and satisfy.

Friday, July 7, 5—9 pm

John Paul, Indigenous folk singer/songwriter

DJ Ron Reeser

Hands-On Watershed Model Making

Trout Unlimited – John Muir Chapter and Local Watershed Organizations

Enjoy the multi-layered songs and stories of musician and story keeper John Paul, dive into making a hands-on watershed model. Learn about the intricate nature and history of East Bay creeks and waterways with a team of guest experts then move to the music of DJ Don Reeser. Participating  organizations will share information about East Bay creeks and watershed: Friends of Five Creeks, Friends of Sausal Creek, Walnut Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed, Trout Unlimited – John Muir Chapter, The Watershed Project/SPAWNERS. 

Friday, July 14, 5—9 pm

Jake Zimma, singer and guitarist

Debajo Sound System, hip-hop and world music collective

DJ Mai Girl

Hip-hop, reggae, R&B and more come together with indie musical artist Jake Zimma. Debajo Sound System is a Hip-Hop and World Music collective who plays energetic and danceable songs written in multiple languages. With Hip-Hop as its back bone, Debajo Sound System draws inspiration from a wide assortment of genres including Musica Andina, Afrobeat, Rumba, Dance Hall, Reggaetón, and Cumbia.  DJ Mai Girl electrifies the dancefloor with a hand-picked blend of eclectic music that will keep you moving all night!

Friday, July 21, 5—9 pm

Let’s Lab! With Mayx/Maya, music-maker, guitarist

JUJU, Dj Jerry Ross, and Lorenzo on Keys and DJ Durt

Come dance and sing along while simply enjoying another beautiful day of life. There will be songs for OMCA’s multigenerational community to enjoy. And if you have little ones, we’ll have some tunes they will enjoy as well. Meet you soon! Musical Performers include JUJU, Dj Jerry Ross, and Lorenzo on Keys on the Garden Stage, Let’s Lab with mayx/maya in Oak Street Plaza and DJ Durt spinning tunes in the Amphitheater.

Friday, July 28, 5—9 pm

Afrobeats Oakland Friday Night Takeover featuring emcee Christina Alexandria, live music by Seyi Sax and Matias, dance lessons with  Danaite, DJs  Juan G, Koko and TieDye Trippin.

Afrobeats Oakland is taking over the OMCA for one evening and showcasing various elements of African pop culture. Each corner of the Museum will be activated, highlighting live street music performances, a two–hour dance class focused on the most popular dance moves trending across the continent, and a live performance by Afrobeats Oakland’s DJs in the garden. People of all ages are invited to participate and enjoy this taste of  the biggest musical movement in the world.

Summer of Joy Marketplace

Sunday, July 16, 1-3 pm, Oak Street Plaza

Inaugurating OMCA’s New Spotlight Sundays Series


Celebrate the summer season and join us for a festive marketplace featuring artwork produced by artists from the three collaborating studios of Into the Brightness: Artists from  Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD.  Support the studios and shop for dazzling prints, ceramics, zines, textiles, buttons, trinkets, jewelry, etc for yourself or as gifts. Artists will showcase existing work and may also create new pieces for sale inspired by the theme of summer and the joy of being together. Artist vendors include Donald Gruneisen, Donzell Lewis, Jean McElvane, Larry Randolph, Lulu Sotelo, and more. Come say hello!

This event is the  joyful launch of OMCA’s new Spotlight Sundays series. Every third Sunday OMCA invites you to explore a deep dive into topics, experiences, and practices generated by California culture makers. From performances, to provocative discussions, to films, workshops and more, Spotlight Sundays offers opportunities to engage with the people and ideas that drive and shape California and beyond.

Gallery Activation Hour

Saturdays, 1-2 pm  | OMCA Great Hall

Gallery Activation Hour puts a twist on the traditional museum tour. Using an informal approach, OMCA facilitators combine content knowledge with lived experience. Centering community voices and encouraging dialogue in our galleries provides meaningful and fresh interpretations of our special exhibitions.

Visitors can spend time with OMCA’s  enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer Gallery Activation facilitators who will generate conversations and engagement throughout the hour, reimagining how OMCA activates its galleries. Occasionally Gallery Activation Hour will be hosted by a  special guest facilitator. Current Great Hall exhibition:  Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD. Special exhibition ticket is required.  No reservations necessary.

Summer Group Visits Self-Guided Tours

Come explore the many stories of California and its people, learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that affect the state, and investigate your own role in both its history and its future. Bring your summer school or summer camp group to visit OMCA’s Galleries of California Art, History, or Natural Sciences, or one of our special exhibitions. We’re currently scheduling through August 11, 2023. Registration open at


Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD

Great Hall

On View through January 21, 2024

In collaboration with three profound Bay Area institutions, Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD celebrates myriad works from contemporary artists with developmental disabilities. From painting to sculpture to multimedia, these world-renowned artists are producing work of incredible power, exuberance, humor, complexity, and joy.

Into the Brightness presents a variety of dynamic perspectives from the artists’ personal experiences of the world. This original, collaborative exhibition is the largest museum exhibition in over a decade featuring artists from the three local organizations –Creativity Explored in San Francisco, Creative Growth in Oakland, and NIAD (Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development) Art Center in Richmond. 

Featured artists include: Saul Alegria, Peter Cordova, Tranesha Smith-Kilgore, Marlon Mullen, Dorian Reid, William Scott, Dinah Shapiro, Nicole Storm, and Marilyn Wong.

OMCA Kids: Nature Playspace

Gallery of California Natural Sciences


For Children Ages 2 to 5

Little learners can unleash their curiosity and imagination in the newly-created OMCA Kids: Nature Playspace. Located in the Gallery of California Natural Sciences, the playroom is focused on the unique needs of children ages 2 to 5, along with their families and caregivers. Play is critical to every child’s healthy development and the playroom offers something for everyone, from building materials and nature-themed puzzles to hands-on activities that spark creativity, wonder, and joy. Our youngest museum visitors can also discover the animals that make their homes in Oakland’s streams, hills, and backyards. The playroom gives families a fun, safe place to play and to build community with other families. Admission to OMCA is free for kids 12 and under.