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Public Art Projects


Upcoming Projects

Many exciting Public Art projects funded through local bonds and state grants are commencing throughout Oakland. These include:

  • DeFremery Park Project
  • 14th Streetscape Project
  • Mosswood Recreation Center
  • Measure DD: Lake Merritt - Estuary Channel, Estuary Park
  • Fire Station 29


Completed Public Art Projects

For projects completed before 2005, view linked pdf.

Rainbow Recreation Center: Rainbow Power by Johanna Poethig and Light=Color=People by Peter Richards

Two artists' works were integrated into this recreation center renovation for East Oakland. Johanna Poethig created a glass tile mosaic to celebrate community youth within a rainbow landscape, in homage to local resident and famed cartoonist Morrie Turner, who coined the term "Rainbow Power". Peter Richards, in collaboration with the project designers Byrens Kim Design Works and Pete Stephens, designed a series of artist interventions within specific architecture elements, including holographic/multi-color clerestory windows, a welcoming arch with diffraction grating and a functional sundial.

Golden Gate Recreation Center: Joining Circles by Joaquin Alejandro Newman and Eduardo Pineda

Joining Circles celebrates the circles of friends, family and community that come together in this North Oakland recreation center. The artists incorporated images of community users and historical figures to introduce the cultural roots of the Golden Gate neighborhood to newcomers and frequent visitors alike, through permanent artwork included at the building entrance, in the lobby and the teen lounge.

MacArthur Gateway Arches Artist Eric Powell was commissioned to create two inviting gateway arches spanning MacArthur Avenue at 73rd and Durant Streets.

Uptown BART 17th Street Gateway: Shifting Topographies Commissioned as part of the Public Art Program's Luminous Oakland initiative, internationally recognized artist Dan Corson's dynamic color-shifting topographic wall sculpture and artist-designed lighting have transformed an underutilized shortcut from Broadway to Telegraph Avenue - an entrance to the BART 19th Street station - into a new gateway for the Uptown District.

Oakland’s topography, from its rolling hills to the San Francisco Bay, inspired the block-wide 3D undulating wall sculpture, art glass and image projections of Shifting Topographies. The palette derives from the shifting patterns and colors of the hills and the bay’s ever-changing ripples (gray to blue to green). A secondary, urban inspiration came from the flashy paint jobs of local car culture and the blue tile in the transit station below. The sculpture’s “chameleon” paint dramatically shifts color, depending on time of day, as one moves through the space. Blue glass with mirrored ribbons depicting local topography wraps two ventilation shafts, providing a sense of movement and visual expansion in a compressed space. Dusk activates a third dramatic element: specialty dynamic projections conjuring movement and the spectacle of nearby theaters and clubs. Corson was selected to work with local landscape designers Sasaki Associates on an integrated redesign of the 17th Street entrance to the 19th Street BART Station. The installation was completed in 2014.

Other Luminous Oakland projects include the temporary sculpture displays at Uptown ArtPark (19th & Telegraph) as well as the City's initial partnership in the media projection program on the Great Wall of Oakland (at W. Grand Avenue and Valley St.).

For more information about Luminous Oakland:

Uptown Projects Plan

Uptown Projects Site Map

Uptown ArtPark Uptown ArtPark was a temporary outdoor gallery and cultural space in the heart of Oakland's Uptown, developed by the Public Art Program and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Located at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street, Uptown ArtPark exhibits large-scale sculptures by Bay Area artists and hosts site-specific art projects and performances. The sculpture exhibition Repurposed featured sculptures crafted from recycled, reused and recombined materials.

Measure DD Public Art Program:

More than 80% of Oakland voters passed Measure DD in 2002. Measure DD is a $198.25 million bond measure for better parks and cleaner water, also generating funds for public art. View more information regarding the Measure DD Program.

Funded projects include parks, trails, bridges, a recreation center, historic building renovations, land acquisition and creek restoration. View the 2011 Measure DD Public Art Program Presentation presented to the Measure DD Coalition March 2012.

Ongoing Measure DD Projects:

Measure DD: Estuary Park Design for revitalization of the park is in process. A recruitment for the public art commission will commence once the project is fully funded.

Measure DD: Lake Merritt - Oakland Estuary Channel The local artist team of John Roloff (Oakland) and Lewis deSoto (Napa) were selected for the Lake Merritt - Oakland Estuary Design Team Artist Opportunity. This Oakland watershed improvement initiative presents an exciting opportunity for artists to be involved in shaping the redesign of the channel between the lake and the Oakland waterfront. The channel project area is limited to the section between 10th Street and the Interstate 880 overpass; intersecting Laney College and running through the 7th Street Flood Control Station. The intent is for the improved channel walkways to eventually become a part of Oakland's Waterfront Trail and the regional Bay Trail. View the DeSoto - Roloff Channel Design Team Artists' Concepts. Phase Three of the public art design process is ongoing, following completion of the 10th Street and 12th Street Bridge projects. 

Measure DD Completed Projects: 

Measure DD: Lake Merritt Garden Gates The botanical gardens are a popular attraction at Lakeside Park, but the fence and entry gates need replacement. Oakland artist Shawn Lovell was commissioned to design, fabricate and install two ornamental gates using traditional blacksmithing techniques. The gates were installed in 2019.

Measure DD: Lakeside Green Streets The artist team Wowhaus (Scott Constable and Ene Osteraas-Constable) was commissioned to create a site-specific sculpture as part of the City's latest initiative to enhance pedestrian and bicyclist access to Lake Merritt. The Lakeside Green Streets project scope included creating rain gardens to capture storm water runoff and a pedestrian promenade connecting Harrison Street to Lakeside Drive. For more information about the project visit the Measure DD 20th/Harrison/Lakeside project page.

Measure DD: Watershed Markers The artist team Wowhaus created a series of bronze markers for five locations scattered around the city, to draw attention to creeks carrying Oakland's water from the hills to the Bay. Embedded in sidewalks over underground culverts, the cast-bronze relief sculptures portray stepping stones surrounded by native fauna that inhabit the creeks. Text stamped into the concrete indicates the name of each watershed. The project was installed in Spring 2011. For more information about the project go to the Watershed Markers Project Site or www.oaklandcreeks.org.

Measure DD: Lake Merritt 12th Street Bridge The Oakland-based artist team of John Rogers, Todd Blair & Alex Ismerio was commissioned to develop artistic enhancements in collaboration with the project's landscape architects, Sasaki Associates, for the 12th Street Bridge Reconstruction Measure DD Project. The resulting project, entitled Undercurrent, was inspired by the ecology of Lake Merritt’s environmental landscape and includes lighting and metal sculptural forms for the bridge abutment walls. Construction on the project commenced Spring 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in Winter 2014.

Measure DD: East Oakland Sports Center Local artists Daniel Galvez (Oakland) and Jos Sances (Berkeley) were selected to design, fabricate and install an architecturally integrated mural on the exterior sunscreen for the new East Oakland Sports Center Pool complex, located on Edes Avenue adjacent to Ira Jinkins Park in East Oakland. The pool and recreation complex serves youth and families from the surrounding community. The facility with completed sunscreen mural opened in June 2011. 

Measure DD: Children's Fairyland One of the goals of the improvements at Children’s Fairyland was to renovate and revitalize the park’s infrastructure. Public art funds were directed toward renovation of a much-beloved children’s play area (formerly “Thumbelina’s Tunnel”). A multi-disciplinary team of local artists including Lynne-Rachel Altman, Richard Jennings, Biliana Stremska & Daniel Schmidt was recommended in 2006 to convert the existing structure into a new, unique, interactive art environment - "The Fairy Music Farm" - for children and their parents. The artwork was installed in the summer of 2008.

Measure DD: 66th Avenue Gateway The artist team of Fernanda D'Agostino and Valerie Otani (Portland, OR) was awarded the contract for the design, fabrication and installation of a major public art project for the observation platform on the Oakland Estuary. The 66th Avenue project site, located west of the Interstate 880 freeway, at the western terminus of Zhone Way, adjacent to Damon Slough, is an important gateway to Oakland's waterfront, making a key connection between nearby neighborhoods and waterfront marshlands. The public artwork, consisting of carved stone sculptures and a stainless steel shade canopy sculpture, was integrated into the planned bayfront observation platform in collaboration with the project landscape architects. The artwork was installed in the spring of 2008.

Other Completed Projects:

Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After Created by Oakland artist Scott Oliver, Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After… is a public art project centered at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. The project uses different forms of narrative to explore the complexity that comprises one of the city’s most significant centers of public life. There are three components to the project: an audio tour guides listeners around the perimeter of Lake Merritt exploring the forces that shape the lake and our perceptions of it; interpretive signs present a variety of information and data about Lake Merritt and its surroundings, with an emphasis on the watershed, architecture, and natural phenomena; and a series of Lake Merritt souvenirs developed in collaboration with local students and artists highlight different aspects of the lake from individual perspectives. For more information on the project, go to http://www.onceuponatime-happilyeverafter.com/. Completed in 2011, this Oakland Open Proposals project was funded through a grant from the Open Circle Foundation, administered by the City of Oakland Public Art Program.

10,000 Steps: Walking the Invisible City The Oakland-based artist team marksearch – Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas – has created a series of 36 permanent sandblasted sidewalk markers celebrating the history of Jefferson, Harrison, Lafayette, Lincoln and Madison squares, downtown Oakland’s five original parks. A mobile-phone audio tour component was launched with an opening event at the Oakland Museum of California. Other companion pieces to the markers include a guide map and a rich repository of historical and contemporary material on the five squares. For more information on the project, go to www.marksearch.org/10000-steps/walking-the-invisible-city/. Completed in 2011, this Oakland Open Proposals project was funded through a grant from the Open Circle Foundation, administered by the City of Oakland Public Art Program. High Resolution images of the sidewalk marker: English Chinese Spanish

Temescal Flows Artist Alan Leon created an immersive painted installation for the North Oakland corridor under the 580 freeway adjacent to Children's Hospital.

East Oakland Community Library / 81st Avenue Branch Oakland Public Library Local artist Rene Yung (San Francisco) was selected to design and fabricate architecturally integrated public art elements and a dedicated social media website for the Oakland Public Library 's new community library, sited at 81st Avenue and Rudsdale Street in East Oakland on a block adjacent to two elementary schools. The architectural art glass, interactive computer pod and community web archive, http://ouroakland.org, are all linked by the universal design of a water ripple. The library serves students from the two schools and the surrounding community. The library's interior design is based on a new philosophy of a 'community branch' library, serving both local and regional users, with enhanced spaces for adults, teens and children. The library opened January 2011.

Fremont Pool Artist Dakota Warren (Los Angeles and Novato) hand-formed and glazed undulating aquamarine tiles for the facade renovations of the pool, located on Foothill across Fremont High School. The artist also created a community tile project in the summer of 2010.

Fire Station 18 Local artist Laurel True (Oakland) was selected to design and fabricate architecturally integrated mosaic art elements as part of this replacement project for the fire station located at 50th and Bancroft in East Oakland. The artwork was installed Spring 2010.

Raimondi Park Oakland artist Eesuu Orundide was selected to design, fabricate and install public art elements as part of the phase-one renovations of the Raimondi Park & Sports Fields in West Oakland. The park includes fields for baseball, soccer and football, and will include new community park ammenities. The artist created a cast bronze-figurative sculpture entitled "Ase (Life Force)". The artwork was installed in summer 2009. 

Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt (Partially Funded by Measure DD) Oakland artist Mark Brest Van Kempen was selected to create a series of interpretive sculptures along the Greenbelt, stretching from Hardy Park to Redondo Park, off Claremont Avenue. The project is funded by the City's Percent for Art program, Friends of the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt (FROG) Park, and Measure DD dollars, which require an interpretive component pertaining to Oakland's watershed. The work was installed in phases, 2009 - 2010.

Willow Park Oakland artist Laurel True was selected to create a series of colorful mosaic insets for the seatwalls at newly renovated Willow Park, located at 14th and Wood Streets in West Oakland. The artist worked with youth in the West Oakland community and a fishing village Ghana to select a series of nine words of universal importance to the two communities, for incorporation into the designs. The artwork was installed in the summer of 2008. 

Carmen Flores Community Center and Josie D. de la Cruz Park This project consists of a series of skylight murals in the public lobby of this active community center located on Fruitvale Avenue. Oakland artist Joaquin Alejandro Newman was selected to create a series of interior murals and painted architectural enhancements which honor the Meso-American and Latino cultures as well as the spirit of the two women to whom the center and park have been dedicated. The murals were installed in the winter of 2007.

Union Point Park Bay Area-based artist Ned Kahn collaborated with landscape architect Mario Schjetnan and Oakland firm PGAdesign on the design of Union Point Park. Kahn was selected in the early stages of park planning, prior to hiring of the landscape architects, to develop a conceptual master plan for the site. He proposed basing park landforms on waves and water flow, to create the impression that the bay had sculpted the land. Later working with Mr. Schjetnan and PGAdesign to refine the landscape design and solve the practical issues of the park, Kahn’s focus became the design of a circular pier extending into the Oakland Estuary. Kahn’s environmental artwork, Wave Oculus, reflects the changing tidal movement of the Oakland Estuary. The artwork’s circular pier housing allows park users to walk out over the water, and kayakers to paddle up to and inside it. The pier is designed to visually merge with the bay. Its inner ring is lined with thousands of two-by-three-inch stainless steel mirrors that reflect snapshots of the water surface, creating the illusion that the bay has been ‘digitized’ and is flowing through the structure of the pier. The project was completed in 2005.

Studio One Art Center Artist Cork Marcheschi (San Francisco) created a series of light sculptures known as "Lightsticks" for the renovated arts facility. The project was installed in 2008.

Bella Vista Community Park Berkeley artist Eric Powell designed and fabricated whimsical steel gates incorporating found objects for this community park enhancement project situated adjacent to Bella Vista Elementary School. The project was a collaboration between the Trust for Public Land and the City of Oakland. The gates were installed in the fall of 2005.

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