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Visit Oakland, the city’s official destination marketing organization, celebrates Oakland’s arts community with the second annual Oakland Art Month in May 2019. The entire month of May is dedicated to promoting artists and events that highlight the diversity of Oakland’s creative community.

Oakland has long been home to innovators, creatives and artists that collectively form the soul of Oakland. As a happening arts and music hub for Northern California, year-round entertainment can be found throughout the city. Visit Oakland hopes to introduce visitors and locals alike to new art forms and also encourage them to revisit old favorites, through promoting art events in May and establishing Oakland as a top-of-mind arts destination in California and the country.

Our vibrant city reflects the mosaic of cultures and people who live and work here,which contributes to an abundance of art forms and experiences here in Oakland,” says Mark Everton, CEO of Visit Oakland. “We’re excited to highlight Oakland’s diverse art scene and the city’s creative community to visitors and locals alike.”

Oakland Art Month celebrates the creation of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Development Plan, with the idea of BELONGING for May 2019. This is the city’s first Cultural Development Plan in 30 years. As it was written in the plan, “People’s sense of belonging is tied to their ability to lead meaningful lives, to be connected to the place they live in and the people they live among, and to feel a part of something larger than themselves.” 

“Belonging invokes a sense of home,” says Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Oakland-based Spoken Word Artist. “I’m not originally from this city but I have found myself here because Oakland welcomes outcasts, transplants, forward thinking, the little off, the little weird and also the middle of the road. It’s a place that invites us all to come together in pursuit of something greater. Art belongs in Oakland because people have made it so.”

This year’s Art Month calendar will bring cultural arts events including Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the Armenian Food Festival, the Oakland Greek Festival and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Film Festival. Visitors can experience these events and see why National Geographic Traveler named Oakland a 2019 Best Trip for the city’s unique culture.

On May 1, Oakland Central will debut AMP (Arts, Music, Performance) Oakland, a curated street performance series throughout Downtown Oakland from May until October. Over 300 local performers will take to the streets to perform over the next six months, with all performances being free for the communityto enjoy in various public plazas. All performances will take place weekly between 12PM and 1PM every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Running through the end of May, The-Beat-Generation-Exhibition features the Oakland artist, Arthur Monroe’s portfolio for Smithsonian Archives of American Art. The works in The-Beat-Generation-Exhibition depict the life journey of Arthur Monroe as a lifetime achievement celebration in preparation for his induction to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, throughsculptures, photography, drawings and paintings.

During the first two weekends of Art Month, Oakland Art Murmur is offering an Art Route” map and contest. This gives visitors and locals the chance to explore art venues throughout Oakland and for the people who visit the most galleries on the route, they will be entered to win a shopping spree towards Oakland artwork, a hotel stay, fine dining and more.

See featured events happening during Oakland Art Month below. For the full calendar of events and more information about Oakland artists and art forms, visit oaklandartmonth.com. Follow @visitoakland and #oaklandartmonth on social media for the latest updates.

Oakland Art Month Featured Events




May 1


AMP Oakland Press Conference

Latham Square, 11:30AM

A press conference will be held to kick off Oakland Central’s AMP initiative. Two-time Grammy Award Winner, singer/songwriter and Oakland’s own, Fantastic Negrito will be making remarks.

Through May 31



Jack London Square, Wed. – Sun. 11AM-6PM

Features Arthur Monroe’s portfolio for Smithsonian Archives of American Art through sculptures, photography, drawings and paintings.

April 26-May 5


Bay Area Dance Week

A week of FREE dance classes and performances across the Bay Area, visit bayareadance.org for a list events and look for special classes at Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts.

May 3-4


May 10-11

Friday & Saturday

Art Route Oakland by Art Murmur

Oakland Art Murmur is offering an “Art Route” passport style contest. To view the art gallery passport, visit artrouteoakland.com.

May 3


Oakland First Fridays

Kono District, 5PM-9PM

Family-friendly event that celebrates all the things that make Oakland special. Experience art, be inspired, eat great food and enjoy live music.

May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31


Queer California Film Series 

Oakland Museum of California, 5PM

Offering late-night screenings of rare films exploring untold stories of California’s LGBTQ+ communities, in conjunction with the Queer California: Untold Stories exhibition.

May 4


Cinco De Mayo

Jack London Square, 12PM-7PM

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a festival in Jack London square. Including over 40 vendors, live music and entertainment and a low rider car show.

May 5


Indigenous Red Market

Oakland Native American Health Center, 11AM-3PM

Celebrating Native American culture and traditions with the market and a large-scale mural unveiling at the CEDAR Center Building.

May 10


Oakland Symphony’s “West Side Story” 

Paramount Theatre, 8PM

Enjoy a show featuring Leonard Bernstein’s beloved revision of the Romeo and Juliet story.

May 11


Art & Wine Festival 

Jack London Square, 12PM-5PM

Featuring over 40 Northern California wineries, craft beer, cider, live music, eclectic vendors and more.

May 11


Future Culture Summit

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 12:30PM-4:30PM

Using the frame of Method Sampling, this event will identify and present people who are leaders in their fields.

May 11- June 1


Brian Enright “Neither Created. Nor Destroyed” Art Show

Opening Night at The Lost and Foundry on May 11, 7PM-10PM

Brian Enright, sculptor and designer based in West Oakland, hosts his first-ever solo art show.Enright’s show will feature five one-of-a-kind sculptures. See video here: https://vimeo.com/323517565

May 16


Third Thursdays 

Latham Square, 5PM-8PM

Offering a free, family-friendly event with live entertainment, food, drinks and shopping in Downtown Oakland.

May 15-18

Wednesday – Saturday


Piedmont Theatre, May 15-16

7th West, May 16

Oakland Museum of California, May 17

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, May 18

Visit https://caamedia.org for more information.

May 17-18

Friday & Saturday

Armenian Food Festival

St. Vartan, Fri. at 5:30PM & Sat. at 12PM

Enjoy Armenian food and desserts, love music and dancing.

May 17-19

Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Oakland Greek Festival

Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Fri. 10AM-11PM, Sat. 11AM-11PM & Sun. 11AM-9PM

Enjoy best of Greek culture with food, drinks, music, dance and more.

May 18


Temescal Neighborhood Art Walk

38th and Telegraph to 66thand Telegraph, 11AM-1PM

Join the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District on a guided tour of Temescal’s public art led by local artists.

May 30 – June 1

Thursday, Friday & Saturday

Oakland Ballet Company presents Jangala

Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center Theater

Thurs. 7:30PM, Fri. 7:30PM, Sat. 3:00PM, Sat.  7:30PM

A fun, fast-paced, and family-friendly performance that brings tales from Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” to life.

June 1


East Bay Open Studios

Oakland Scottish Rite Center, 6PM-9PM

Opening celebration and preview exhibition where you can meet with over 100 participating artists and their work

June 1


Beats & Minds Hip-Hop Conference

Impact Hub Oakland, 10AM-5PM

A conference focusing on Hip-Hop through the theme of “Locally Rooted, Globally Connected.”