Reflections of Healing

Opens Friday, October 24!

Get the event lineup here

You may have noticed something different on the Museum's 12th Street wall. A series of painted portraits, a mural, is now installed facing Oakland's Lake Merritt. The mural creates a colorful and inspiring new focal point for the Oakland community. 

Reflections of Healing is the brain-child of artist and educator Brett Cook. Cook enlists the hands of the community in the art-making as part of his collaborative process to create each of the nine portraits. The work features prominent Oakland-based residents who, through their groundbreaking work, are considered healers in our community. The work captures the healers during their adolescents, focusing our thoughts to the collective potential of youth. Learn more about the artist and the healers below:


Brett Cook, artist


Brett Cook, artist

For over two decades, artist and educator Brett Cook has produced installations, exhibitions, curricula, and events across the United States, and internationally, using his creative practice for transformation. Recognized for a history of socially relevant, community engaged projects, Cook has been awarded the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Richard C. Diebenkorn Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute. He also was selected as a cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State's 2012 smARTpower Initiative and an inaugural A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art in 2014. In 2009, Cook published Who Am I In This Picture: Amherst College Portraits with Wendy Ewald and Amherst College Press. His work is in private and public collections including the Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Center, and Harvard University.



Kathy Ahoy

Kathy Ahoy, retired Public Health Nurse of Alameda County, co-founded Street Level Health Project in 2000 to serve the communities of Oakland. In her work caring for and responding to the health issues of Oakland’s growing immigrant population, Ahoy has built strong relationships and championed the sharing of knowledge, resources, and skills. Her passion to serve the most vulnerable people in Oakland derives from her background as a refugee/immigrant. Born in Kalimpong, India, she and her family were jailed and interned in India for three-and-a-half years, due to a border dispute between India and China. Currently, she acts as a mentor and preceptor for health care students. Ahoy’s history and memory of poverty, hunger and injustice equips her with a fierce determination to bring justice to others.


Traci Bartlow

Traci Bartlow is a multi-faceted artist, whose work as a creative director, dancer, choreographer, photographer, dance historian, producer, and director has allowed her to create and present unique art experiences. Bartlow has been teaching dance for more than 20 years, developing curriculum for youth programs through out the Bay Area. Bartlow is a founding and core member of Eastside Arts Alliance and Eastside Cultural Center in Oakland where she developed the Oakland Hip Hop Dance Institute, a program that documents and preserves the history and culture of hip hop dance and creates opportunities for dancers and choreographers to study, research, create, and perform. As the director and choreographer for StarChild Dance, Bartlow’s choreography has been presented at the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival, the Black Choreographers Festival, and The Sisyphus Syndrome-A Jazz Opera by Amiri Baraka.


Melanie Cervantez

Melanie Cervantes is a Xicana artist and activist based in the Bay Area. Cervantes currently works at the Akonadi Foundation, which supports movement-building organizations working to end structural racism in the United States. As an artist, Cervantes has exhibited at Galería de la Raza (San Francisco); Woman Made Gallery and National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago); Mexic-Arte and Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (Austin, TX); and Crewest (Los Angeles). Cervantes and printmaker Jesus Barraza co-founded Dignidad Rebelde, a collaborative graphic arts project that uses principles of Xicanisma and Zapatismo to translate stories of struggle and resistance into artwork that can be put back into the hands of the communities who inspire it. Cervantes is a member of Justseeds Collective, Taller Tupac Amaru, and the Consejo Gráfico.


Esteban Cuaya-Munoz

Born and raised in Oakland, the two-spirit identified Esteban Cuaya-Munoz works with same-gender-loving young men and young trans women of color in creating safe space throughout Oakland and the East Bay Area. Through his work, Esteban develops tools for healing for young gay, bisexual men and trans women of color in the East Bay Area, ages 17–29. His program addresses family and community rejection, hate crimes, and discrimination. He currently works at La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland, whose mission is to improve the quality of life of the diverse communities by providing culturally appropriate, high quality, and accessible health care for all.


Lillian Galedo

Lillian Galedo, executive director of Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ), has worked for the organization since 1980. At FAJ, Galedo works to build an institution for the Filipino community that provides services and is involved in social justice issues. FAJ is a leading organization in the California campaign for a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and the Dignity Campaign for Real Immigration Reform. Galedo helped to found the National Filipino Immigrant Rights Coalition, Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, and for the past 20 years, has been involved in the campaign to win recognition and equal benefits for Filipino veterans of World War II. Galedo was born and raised in Stockton where her immigrant parents were farm workers. She has been an activist since her days as a student at University of California at Davis where she helped found the first Asian American History classes.


Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is the Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and is a vital voice in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. Bamuthi graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America’s Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences in 2007. He is the artistic director of the seven-part HBO documentary Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s “greatest living artists.” Bamuthi has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, LeHigh University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. His proudest work has been with Youth Speaks where he mentors 13-to-19-year-old writers and curates the Living Word Festival and Left Coast Leaning. He is the co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip-hop arts and focused environmental action.


Tyler Norris

Tyler Norris, M.Div, is an entrepreneur and founder of over a dozen businesses and social ventures. His three decades of service in the public, private, and non-profit sectors have focused on population health improvement, community vitality, and equitable prosperity. As a leader in the movement for healthy and sustainable communities, he has worked in over 400 communities and with scores of organizations in the United States and around the world. A new resident of downtown Oakland, Tyler currently serves as vice president, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, where he leads initiatives working for the complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of its members, workforce, and communities. Tyler serves as founding chair of a non-profit technology venture that powers Community Commons; he is a trustee of Naropa University; and serves on advisory bodies for the Convergence Partnership, Transportation for America, and the YMCA of the USA. He is a parent of two young adults, an avid mountain biker, backcountry skier, and pilot.


Bill Wong

William Wong was born and grew up in Oakland, California's Chinatown, the youngest child and only son of seven children of immigrants from China. His parents ran the Great China restaurant in the heart of Chinatown from 1943 to 1961. He attended Oakland public schools, the University of California at Berkeley, and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and has worked in both mainstream and ethnic journalism for more than forty years. A pioneer among Asian American journalists, Wong has been a columnist, reporter, editorial writer, business editor, assistant managing editor, and ombudsman. Among his most significant achievements were in-depth news feature stories about a growing Asian American community for The Wall Street Journal's front page in the 1970s and his provocative columns about Asian America, race relations, multiculturalism, and a changing America.


Oscar Wright

Oscar Carl Wright, author and education supporter, has been an advocate for equal education in Oakland for over 47 years, with a particular focus on Latino and Black students. Wright attributes his dedication to his work to his parents and their determination to provide the best education for him and his siblings. One of eleven children born to sharecropper parents on a Mississippi plantation in the 1920s, Wright and his brothers were not permitted by the plantation owner to go to school. His parents moved the family to Clarksdale, Mississippi where all eleven of their children received their formal education. Although his parents were not permitted to obtain a formal education, Wright considers them the most brilliant people he has ever known and sees them as the inspiration for his life’s work.