Take BART to Oakland Museum of California before it closes Aug. 23 for renovations


Take BART to Oakland Museum of California before it closes Aug. 23 for renovations

Oakland Museum is getting a makeover and won’t open again until spring 2010

By Hong Ho, BART Marketing Intern

The Oakland Museum of California has a packed schedule of exhibits and special events in the next few weeks – giving visitors plenty of reasons to check out the museum before it closes Aug. 23 for a major renovation through May 2010.

Oakland voters passed a $26.3 million bond measure in 2002 that is helping to fund the ambitious makeover of the 40-year-old museum. When the museum reopens next spring, there will be reconfigured History and Art Galleries with new digital and interactive features, and also multilingual displays in English, Spanish and Chinese along with many exhibits.

"We want to renovate the OMCA and try to respect, reflect, and represent the communities to everybody," said Adam Reed Rozan, marketing manager. The renovation won’t change the key focus areas of the museum, however, which will continue to be arts, history and natural science.

Museum employees will work during the temporary closure on duties such as planning the new exhibits and preparing for a website makeover to go along with the building renovation. Also during the closure, the museum will continue to present public programs at various other venues around Oakland. Visit www.museumca.org for updates.

If you’d like to check out the museum before the closure, here’s a summary of exhibits and special events that will be featured in the next few weeks. You can also find out about discounts to the museum at www.mybart.org. The museum is located in downtown Oakland just one block from the Lake Merritt BART Station; plan your trip using the BART QuickPlanner.

Current Exhibits at Oakland Museum of California

The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present
This exhibit examines the overlooked history of African contributions to Mexican culture over the past 500 years, in areas such as art, cuisine, music and dance. Step into a room full of colorful arts that includes paintings, sculptures, artifacts, photographs and music. Displays represent each era and phase of Afro-Mexican history in Mexico. A video plays in one corner of the exhibit, and just a few feet away you can sample Afro-Mexican museum through a headset.

Future of Sequoias: Sustaining Parklands in the 21st Century
This exhibit features many beautiful photographs of sequoias, from different seasons and times. It includes panoramic photographs by Jeff Jones and commentary by retired National Park interpretative ranger William C. Tweed celebrating the spectacular beauty of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It also raises the issue of damage to these giant trees done by humans, and the need to save and protect them.

Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object
Squeak Carnwath is an Oakland-based artist. The exhibit of her work is in a plain gallery with white walls, which serves to make the paintings more amazing and immense. Carnwath’s paintings evoke powerful emotions, with repetition that connects the paintings with one another. They are simple and complex at the same time; for example, at first glance they may seem childlike but if you look closely you will notice the great detail in certain parts. 

Culture Chronicles: Student Collages
"Student Collages" is located downstairs in the first floor near the gift shop. The collage works are on the green walls. Walk down the hallway and look at the artwork and you’ll notice similar themes in each one: themes of family, culture and individual identity. There is also a video running in which the students talk about their works and why they chose what they did. The exhibit is presented through a partnership with Oakland High School’s Visual Arts Academy.

Upcoming events (For hours, admission fees and more information, go to the museum website – www.musuemca.org)

Saturday, August 1st, 7 p.m.
The African Presence in México Through Music. Son de la Tierra and invited guests from Mexico bring alive the African presence in Mexico through music. Concert produced with the East Bay Center for Performing Arts and the Mexican Consulate. Tickets are $10.

Sunday, August 2nd, 12-4 p.m.
Yanga Celebration. In Yanga, Mexico, the first "free town of the Americas," Carnaval is dedicated to black African culture. Celebrate this tradition at the museum. Presented by the East Bay Center for Performing Arts and the Mexican Consulate.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2 p.m.:
Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object; Docent Tour. Join a museum docent in the exhibition and learn more about the artist and her work Included with museum admission.

Friday, August 7th:
East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Party; 5 p.m.–midnight. Celebrate East Bay talent and creativity with twelve bands on eight stages, art, film, Kids Party Zone, food and vendor villages, Style Lounge featuring local designers, and more. Fun for all ages. http://eastbayexpress.wordpress.com Free. Want a museum experience too? Timed tickets to the special exhibitions The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present and Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object will be on sale for $5 (free for members, children under 6, and City of Oakland employees).

Sunday, August 9th:
Family Explorations! Be Creative! – August 9th from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; free with museum admission. Celebrate the end of Summer Reading with Oakland Public Library. There will be music, arts, cartooning, dancing on outdoor stage, scavenger hunt, interactive story times, frozen treats and an honor ceremony for kids who finished the summer reading program

Tour of the Building and Gardens – August 9th at 1PM; free. Member of the Museum’s Council lead a tour through the building and gardens. Meet at
the Admission desk on the second floor.

Sunday, August 16th:
Squeak Carnwath: Painting Is No Ordinary Object; Docent Tour. Join a museum docent in the exhibition and learn more about the artist and her work. Included with the museum admission.

Oakland on Two Wheels – 10 a.m. Explore Oakland with biking docents. Bike through downtown, Port of Oakland, Fruitvale, West Oakland, Brooklyn, or Lake Merritt. Reserve first by emailing docentcenter@museumca.org or call 510-238-3514. Bring your own bike, helmet and repair kit. Meet at 10th St entrance at 10 a.m.