City of Oakland Announces Launch of Comprehensive Citywide Cultural Planning Process

Oakland, CA — The City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Division invites the public to engage in the creation of Belonging in Oakland: A Cultural Development Plan, Oakland’s first comprehensive citywide plan focused on arts and culture. The plan will serve as a blueprint of goals and strategies to advance Oakland as a dynamic hub for creative practices that benefit the city’s residents, businesses and visitors.

“Culture is what defines Oakland. It is our heart and soul,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “The launch of this comprehensive citywide planning process will provide a unique opportunity for the public to play a direct role in how we enliven, support and preserve our city’s diverse creative communities.”

The Cultural Development Plan will create a snapshot of Oakland’s unique cultural assets, define cultural priorities for the city, foster opportunities for economic benefit and community engagement, and enhance the quality of life for Oakland residents, businesses and visitors.

“We want this plan to be a living blueprint of how to empower Oakland talent and support the numerous ways Oaklanders express their cultures and celebrate life,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya. “We invite everyone to participate in this important undertaking as we collectively craft the plan that will inform the future of arts and culture in our city.”

The planning process is launching with a series of activities that give community members across the city various opportunities to engage and envision how the cultural and creative life of Oakland can be supported and strengthened. Public engagement is essential, and the comments and recommendations gathered through this process will help shape the cultural plan.

There will be facilitated “Make It Yours” Community Dialogues in each Council District this Fall, as well as informal “Cultural Conversations” with the Cultural Affairs Manager at smaller venues throughout the city. To discuss the cultural life of Oakland and share what culture means to Oaklanders, join one or more of these community dialogues:

“Make It Yours” Community Dialogues are scheduled on:

Friday, Sept. 15, 6-8 p.m.

Rockridge Branch Library, 5366 College Ave. (Council District 1)

Sunday, Sept. 17, 7-9 p.m.

Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd. (Council District 5)

Monday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. – noon

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St., Suite 290 (Council District 2)

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 4-6 p.m.

Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway (Council District 3)

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2-4 p.m.

Dimond Branch Library, 3565 Fruitvale Ave. (Council District 4)

Thursday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. – noon

Heartlands Merchant Association, 5856 Foothill Blvd. (Council District 6)

Saturday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m. – noon

East Oakland Boxing Association, 816 98th Ave. (Council District 7)

These community meeting locations are wheelchair accessible. To request disability-related accommodations or to request an ASL, Cantonese, Mandarin or Spanish interpreter, please email, call (510) 238-2136 or call TDD/TTY (510) 238-2007 at least five working days before the meeting. Please refrain from wearing scented products to this meeting as a courtesy to attendees with chemical sensitivities.

Ongoing, informal “Cultural Conversations” with Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya will take place on:

Thursday, Aug. 24, 4-6 p.m.

Peralta Hacienda Historical Park’s Center for History & Community, 2488 Coolidge Ave.

Saturday, Aug. 26, 10 a.m. – noon

Farley’s East, 33 Grand Ave.

Saturday, Sept. 9, 4-6 p.m.

RBA Creative, 3718 MacArthur Blvd.

Thursday, Sept. 14, 6-8 p.m.

E. M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore, 410 13th St.

For those unable to join one of these scheduled meetings or conversations, other engagement opportunities are available, including:

• Emailing suggestions and comments to

• Leaving a voice message on the Cultural Plan hotline at (510) 833-6725

Through a robust RFP process, the Cultural Affairs Division has formed a team of local planning experts to use an equity lens in engaging the community and researching best practices to create a cultural development plan that recognizes and embraces the diversity of Oakland. The team is led by Vanessa Whang, an independent consultant with over 30 years of non-profit arts/culture/philanthropy experience at the local, state and national levels; Communities in Collaboration, a community engagement consultancy led by Susana Morales, with over 15 years of

experience in community participatory planning and research and workforce development locally and nationally; with data research provided by Alex Werth, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley focusing on the regulation of expressive culture.

For more information on the cultural planning process and event updates, visit

About the Cultural Affairs Division
The Cultural Affairs Division is housed in the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department. The division includes the City’s cultural funding program, which provides approximately $1 million in grants to support the arts in Oakland; the public art program, which has more than $1 million in funds currently dedicated for public art installations across Oakland and staff working on special events, film production permitting and a walking tours program.

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