City Re-establishes the Cultural Affairs Commission

Date Posted: July 24th, 2019 @ 12:36 PM
Last Updated: July 24th, 2019 @ 12:48 PM

Oakland, CA – Following the final passage of an ordinance by Oakland City Council on July 16, the Cultural Affairs Division of the Economic & Workforce Development Department is seeking volunteer applicants to serve on the re-animated Cultural Affairs Commission. The legislation that paved the way for the body’s return after an eight-year hiatus included amendments that redefined duties, modified the membership and quorum requirements and clarified the appointment process of the Cultural Affairs Commission.

“The re-animated Cultural Affairs Commission will inform additional implementation steps of our Cultural Plan and advise on all matters pertaining to cultural and artistic development in Oakland,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Arts and culture make up the foundation of Oakland’s unique history and identity. This commission will play a key role in honoring that history and supporting Oakland’s future cultural and artistic health.”

The Cultural Affairs Commission will serve as an advisory body to the Mayor, City Council and City Administrator on all matters affecting cultural development in Oakland. The Commission Members’ primary role and responsibility will be to act as ambassadors and advocates for arts and culture in Oakland. This body will work to meet the objectives of Belonging in Oakland: A Cultural Development Plan, which seeks to lift up the role of culture in building a just and equitable city, and positions diversity at the heart of the work of City government.

The Cultural Affairs Commission will be comprised of 11 commissioners: 10 regular appointments and 1 appointment selected from the Public Art Advisory Committee.

Appointments to the Commission will be made by the Mayor and confirmed by the Oakland City Council. For the initial appointment only, four members shall be appointed for a three-year term, four members shall be appointed for a two-year term and three members shall be appointed for a one-year term. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for three years, except that an appointment made to fill a vacancy created by the premature departure of a Commission Member shall only be for the unexpired portion of the departed Commission Member’s term.

To ensure the representatives of Oakland’s diverse communities have the opportunity to serve, the ordinance includes a limit of two consecutive terms for Commission Members. Additionally, staff hope to draw candidates who represent the breadth of the arts community, including artists, arts administrators, educators, grant writers, architects, civic leaders, marketers, designers, urban planners, tech innovators, nonprofit workers, curators and more.

Commission Members, who are unpaid volunteers, should anticipate a significant time commitment for both meeting preparation and attendance. Regular meetings will be held quarterly on the fourth Monday of January, April, July and October at 6 p.m. at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. Given that the Mayor’s appointments will have be confirmed by City Council this fall, staff anticipates that the first meeting of the re-animated Commission will occur in January 2020.

Interested applicants should apply online at

Prospective applicants with questions should email Neha Balram, Program Analyst in the Cultural Affairs Division, at

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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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