The murals and artworks in downtown Oakland and in other locations throughout the city have been created as a form of protest and activism directed toward systemic police brutality and racism and the outright murders of Black men and women. These artworks are artifacts of a social justice movement and carry with them important stories and context. The work to document, preserve, and present this protest art is not simply an art initiative; it is part of the movement and represents an effort to seek solutions to injustice and racism.
The East Oakland Black Cultural Zone Collaborative and the Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation (collectively the Black Cultural Zone or the BCZ), along with other Black-led organizations and Black artists, are leading this effort to hold the conversation and frame a path forward, which will include working with artists to re-mount ongoing exhibitions. The Oakland Museum of California, Oakland Art Murmur, and a host of allies have committed to support the Black Cultural Zone’s goal of lifting Black voices in the pursuit of justice and equality.
This group shares the belief that we are not owners or arbiters of these artworks. The artworks are part of a moment that is integrally intertwined with the loss of Black of lives and the movement for the preservation and upliftment of Black lives. As symbols of the movement and part of a larger story, every effort will be made to identify and contact the artist in order to secure their support for the preservation, documentation, and presentation effort. Finally, we concur that, whenever possible, this effort will incorporate employment and training opportunities for Black people and particularly Black youth.
This effort provides an opportunity to create a sustained, multi-dimensional collaboration across the city and a platform for conversation and dialogue in a safe space. Our goal for documenting this art and these seminal times is to elevate the work as the backdrop of a movement toward truth, justice, equity, and transformation, as this moment calls for.
Actions will take the form of near-term logistical planning for the preservation and safe stewardship of the artworks to longer-term visioning to sustain the movement with art and culture as critical components. All of these actions will be coordinated by Black-led organizations and Black artists.
The documentation and preservation of the artwork include uplifting the work of the artists and a compilation of protest stories which are critical to helping document this movement, its meaning, and the historical pain suffered by Black people. The collaboration coming together to support this effort respects the work of the artists and invites them to join this coalition. While recognition is critical for any potential future presentations of the work, we understand that some artists may prefer anonymity. We will honor the wishes of the artists.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Q) I am an artist and want my artwork preserved for this movement. How do I do that? A) For a limited time, transportation of mural art is being provided by Turner Construction. Please fill out the form at this link and one of our volunteers will be in touch. https://forms.gle/x84udCcoLbqCPk8t9
Q) I am an artist who would like to be involved in the conversation and planning. How can I get involved? A) Send an email expressing your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q) I am an artist and my artwork was removed. Where is my artwork being stored? A) Much of the artwork has been carefully removed, transported, and stored at warehouse space generously provided by local non-profit Endeavors Oakland. Please contact email@example.com
Q) Will my artwork be sold or utilized for profit? A) This collaborative group advocates that these works not be sold or monetized. However, the final decision should be made by the artist.
Q) I am a business owner/leasing agent/landlord that has mural art to preserve. Can you help with transportation and storage? A) Yes. For a limited time, the transportation effort is being provided by Turner Construction. Please fill out the form at this link and one of our volunteers will be in touch to schedule pick-up and transport to our storage facility. https://forms.gle/x84udCcoLbqCPk8t9