The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is one of the Building Blocks Collaborative’s (BBC) newest members. On Thursday, I spoke with Community Partnerships Manager Mona Shah about OMCA, her role at the Museum, and BBC.
Like Oakland, the Oakland Museum of California is experiencing a revitalization. In addition, OMCA has a new strategic plan, which has an intentional dedication to community engagement. “OMCA has always been a resource to the community and has a rich history of partnering with community organizations and initiatives,” said Mona, “but now OMCA is really focusing on engaging with communities outside its walls that are not traditionally served by the Museum.” OMCA’s new community engagement strategy includes outreach in Oakland Chinatown, Uptown/ Downtown, Fruitvale/ San Antonio, and West Oakland. OMCA has three strategic partnerships in these areas: The YMCA of the East Bay, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and the East Side Arts Alliance. Mona has served as OMCA’s Community Partnerships Manager since January 2013, and she comes to the role with a background in social work, social justice, and the arts. OMCA “acknowledges that the arts are happening everywhere and is seeking to give people in communities traditionally underserved by the Museum the opportunity to engage through art making!”
Anybody can witness the changes as you walk down Oak Street where there is a new vibrant mural created in partnership with OMCA’s strategic partners and neighbors. In addition, every Friday night OMCA partners with Off the Grid to present Friday Nights @ OMCA, which in addition to food trucks features local music, art, and half-price admission to the Museum galleries. Check it out online.
Mona feels that there is a distinct link to BBC. OMCA wants to be “part of the dialogue, a team member, and get to know what’s going on in Oakland so it can be a better resource for the community.” That’s what BBC is all about!