The Beliefs That Lead OAM’s Mission
- A vibrant arts community directly contributes to Oakland’s economic and cultural vitality.
- Artists and arts workers are better heard when supported by an advocacy organization,
- Increasing the exposure of an artist’s work translates into greater resources for that artist.
- Supporting ethnic diversity in the arts directly supports the overall visual arts community.
Since our beginnings in 2006, Oakland Art Murmur (OAM) has connected thousands of artists in thousands of exhibitions to over 1,000,000 visitors. OAM supports its community by generating not only local, but also regional, national, and international attention to Oakland, providing good-news stories about the city’s thriving art scenes and cultural renaissance.
Oakland Art Murmur began as a cooperative effort by eight arts spaces (21 Grand, 33 Grand, Auto 3321, Boontling Gallery, Buzz Gallery, Ego Park, Front Gallery, Rock Paper Scissors Collective) located in Oakland’s Northgate and Temescal neighborhoods to garner attention and to promote the visual arts in the city.
This led to the first First Friday Art Walk in January 2006, when all participating spaces held concurrent receptions. The gallery walk grew over the years, and Oakland Art Murmur now includes over fifty visual arts venues and mixed-use art spaces throughout the City of Oakland.
Alongside Oakland Art Murmur’s First Friday Art Walk, a popular street festival now known as Oakland First Fridays evolved. In 2012, Oakland Art Murmur and Oakland First Fridays formalized into separate entities so each could better serve its community.
Oakland First Fridays focuses on the growing popularity of its monthly festival, while OAM has since expanded its influence across Oakland. Together, Oakland First Fridays and Oakland Art Murmur attract up to 20,000 pedestrians, bicyclists, BART riders and car-poolers from across the Bay Area one evening each month.