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The City of Oakland's Public Art Program commissions original works of art for public spaces throughout Oakland. The program enriches the city’s visual environment, integrates the creative thinking of artists into public construction projects, and provides a means for citizens and visitors to enjoy and experience cultural diversity. Public Art projects are funded through a 1.5% allocation from all eligible City of Oakland capital improvement projects and eligible grant revenue.
The Uptown ArtPark was launched with a grand opening on April 5, 2013. The inaugural exhibition, Repurposed, is currently on display. Learn more about the exhibition and the participating artists:
Many other exciting Public Art projects are underway throughout Oakland. These include:
- Uptown BART 17th Street Gateway
- Measure DD: 12th Street Bridge
- Measure DD: Lake Merritt - Estuary Channel
- Measure DD: Lake Merritt Garden Gates
- Proposition 84: West Oakland Youth Center
To learn about these current projects and recently completed Public Art Projects, visit our Public Art Projects page.
Public Art Calls for Artists
To learn more about current City of Oakland Calls for Artists and other artist opportunities, visit our Public Art Calls For Artists page.
The Great Wall of Oakland
On the first Friday of every month, during Oakland Art Murmur, a free screening of contemporary media artworks is held on the side of a building that overlooks Grand Avenue just west of Broadway, behind Luka’s Taproom & Lounge. Now operated by a nonprofit organization, the Great Wall of Oakland was launched as a collaborative project of Metrovation Development, Signature Properties, and the City of Oakland Public Art Program. Learn more by visiting the Great Wall of Oakland website.
In 1989, the City of Oakland adopted a Public Art Ordinance authorizing the allocation of 1.5% of municipal capital improvement project costs to commission and acquire public art.
Public Art staff, with guidance from the Public Art Advisory Committee, administers these funds and provides vision, planning and project management for Oakland’s public art collection. Gifts of art offered for placement on City property are reviewed through a public process managed by staff for approval by the Advisory Committee and City Council.
The Public Art Advisory Committee is an advisory body to the Office of the Mayor, Oakland City Council, and the City Administrator's Office on all matters related to public art in Oakland. Its members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council. The Advisory Committee supports City staff in the development and operation of the City of Oakland's public art program. For more information, visit the Public Art Advisory Committee page.
Public Art Program Goals
- Develop and implement plans and budgets for all public art projects annually.
- Develop and maintain a list of potential jurors and panelists and develop a maintenance survey/work plan.
- Coordinate the selection of artists or artworks for the Public Art Program, with a majority of public art commissions awarded to Oakland-based artists (i.e., those with residence, studio or primary professional employment in Oakland).
- Serve as liaison between the Public Art Advisory Committee, City Administrator's Office, Mayor's Office, City Council and other City departments.
- Solicit funds from foundations, corporations and public agencies for public art projects in Oakland.
Public Art Ordinance and Documents
In 1989 the City of Oakland adopted a Public Art Ordinance (11086 C.M.S.) for a "Percent for Art Ordinance" plan which authorizes the allocation of 1.5% of municipal capital improvement project costs for commissioning of public artwork. These monies are set aside in the Public Art Program Fund for administration by Public Art Program staff.
The Public Art Advisory Committee must review all community generated public art projects funded by the City, as well as those projects proposed for placement on City or Caltrans property. The proposal requirements are detailed in the policy documents listed below.
Effective July 1, 2014, the City will charge an hourly fee for review facilitation and approval of these projects, as stipulated in the City's Master Fee Schedule, on pages N1-N2, Economic and Workforce Development/Public Art Program, Cultural Arts and Marketing, posted here.
Please contact Public Art Program staff for further direction and with any questions.
Oakland Specific Documents
- Public Art Program Policies and Procedures
- Oakland Gifts Policy
- Public Art Policy Guidelines For Artist-Community Initiated Projects and Cultural Funding Program Recipients
State and Federal Documents