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Community, Culture & Education
As individuals and as a community, we benefit from opportunities to receive a quality education and to live in a supportive, enjoyable community. A diverse and vibrant community, Oakland is home to a variety of cultural institutions and activities that benefit all members of the Oakland community, creating a more joyful and engaging environment supporting creative expression. Quality local education opportunities provide Oakland with a smart, capable workforce and enable our residents to pursue their chosen paths.
Sustainable City Highlights
Uptown Neighborhood Revitalization - With the Fox Theater opening in 2009, complementing the Paramount and other venues, Oakland's Uptown neighborhood has become a hub of nightlife activity and a model of community redevelopment. Once Oakland’s main shopping district, the Uptown neighborhood is once again drawing people to experience the entertainment venues, newly opened restaurants, and gallery scene. Popular condo and apartment complexes have been developed as part of the City’s 10K Downtown Housing Initiative. The free “B” shuttle connects residents and visitors to the city’s downtown core. The City of Oakland encouraged and facilitated much of this growth through public/private partnerships and development incentives.
The Coolest - Oakland was recently ranked the 5th coolest city in the U.S. by Forbes Magazine. It’s also block-by-block the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in America.
Culinary Delights - Oakland has burst onto the national culinary scene with 80 recent major restaurant openings citywide and impressive reviews in regional, national and industry press. These restaurants have brought new cultural vitality to many transit-oriented Oakland neighborhoods and jobs for Oakland residents.
Oakland Museum Renovations - The Oakland Museum of California reopened in May 2010 following major renovations designed to make the museum more welcoming, accessible and relevant to the diverse population of Oakland, the East Bay and California. The Museum revamped presentation of its collections, inviting visitors to discover the many stories of California and to explore their own contributions to the state’s social, artistic, and environmental heritage.
Art Murmur - On the first Friday of every month, The Oakland Art Murmur draws hundreds of people to enjoy the walkable Uptown arts scene. The Art Murmur’s mission is to support art and cultural venues dedicated to increasing popular awareness of and participation in the arts in Oakland. Member galleries are open to the public, a portion of 23rd Street is closed to auto traffic, and live music, art and food vendors are abundant.
Nationally Recognized Arts Scene - Ranked the 11th best U.S. city for artists and designers by Art Bistro in 2010, Oakland boasts more than 300 arts organizations and several hundred arts-related businesses employing more than 10,000 people. Oakland has more working artists per capita than any American city outside of Manhattan.
Community Events - Oakland is home to many community events. Oakland's annual Art & Soul festival has alone drawn nearly 500,000 people from all over northern California to downtown Oakland.
Public Art Installations - Public art installations enhancing public spaces completed in 2010 included artwork at the new East Oakland Sports Center pool complex and 81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library, renovations at the Fremont Pool and Fire Station 18, and along the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt.
Arts Support - The City of Oakland has provided support to more than 150 Oakland arts organizations and individual artists in recent years through $3.5 million in cultural arts grants. These grants generated nearly $55 million in private-sector spending on the arts.
East Oakland Community Library Opened - A new state-of-the-art, 21,000 square-foot public library opened on 81st Street in January 2011, sharing its site with two new public elementary schools.
Library Improvements - Oakland libraries have installed Wi-Fi technology and now offer public computer access.
Distinguished Schools - Four Oakland elementary schools were recognized as 2010 Distinguished Schools by the California School Recognition Program, including: Chabot, Montclair, Peralta and Thornhill Elementary.
Education Programs - With $8.3 million from the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth and additional leveraged funding, the City helped to expand after-school, summer enrichment, college and career prep programs providing tutoring, homework help and a variety of recreation activities at 73 school sites and 32 community sites. These programs reach more than 12,000 Oakland students.
Local Food - The number of farmers markets in Oakland has doubled in recent years. Community gardens are growing and Oakland's Real Food festival draws thousands of visitors.