The Visit Oakland team stands in front of the destination’s first “selfie wall” at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Downtown. Photo Credit: Visit Oakland

Inaugural 2017 – 18 Program to Encourage Public Art in Oakland 

Oakland, CA Visit Oakland, the city’s official destination marketing organization, is proud to announce the creation of the Visit OaklandPublic Mural Grant Program(PMGP) that will offer anywhere between $500 to $5K per project. Visit Oakland has allocated a total of $25K in the first year of PMGP.   

The creation of the grant program recognizes the importance of the arts community within Oakland to visitor interest and establishes a strong sense of place for residents. In launching this program, Visit Oakland hopes to increase the number of public murals for display in the city while supporting the talented artist community within Oakland. Visit Oakland will identify and fund the projects that highlight positive images of Oakland’s history and culture. 

Eligible participants include:

  1. Artists and private business owners who submit a joint application.
  2. 501(c)(3) arts organizations with an annual operating income of $300 or under
  3. Art programs of 510(c)(3) non-arts programs

Other requirements include submitting a grant request between $500 to $5K with a guaranteed 25% match from the grantee. Applicants residing in Oakland or a history of supporting the Oakland arts community will be given priority. The entire PMCP guidelines can be viewed on the online

Last year, Visit Oakland debuted the official visitor “selfie wall” for tourists and proud Oakland natives on the front of the Oakland Marriott City Center. Since then, Visit Oakland has encouraged other mural projects in the city, including a collaborative dragon mural for national volunteer project, Tourism Cares, at Independent Brewing Company and supporting the A’s recent 100ft mural to celebrate A’s Spirit Week. 

“When we decided on commissioning our own mural at the Marriott, we envisioned the destination for future endeavors in mural tours and more arts collaboration between Oakland and the local creative community,” says Mark Everton, President and CEO of Visit Oakland. “The arts scene in Oakland has long been one of the city’s greatest assets and we’re proud to be taking the next step to support public appreciation for such works.” 

“Murals add flavor to the city,” says Steve Ha, artist with muralists the Illuminaries, who created the murals for Visit Oakland and the Oakland Athletics. “Sometimes building owners don’t have the funds, but their wall needs some love. Artists need money for materials and time. A grant program will be able to solve all these problems and help street art continue to flourish heavily. It’s all about beautifying the streets and a grant program is a good start for that.”

Local businesses see the benefits of public murals as a visitor attraction to bring attention and foot traffic to otherwise overlooked areas.

“I could not be happier about the mural created by the Illuminaries, located prominently in front of the Oakland Marriott on the corner of Broadway and 10th,” says Lisa Kershner, GM of the Oakland Marriott City Center. “It has brought the neighborhood together to celebrate the vibrant art of local Oakland artists. It continues to be a sought after ‘selfie’ site and continues to be Facebook and Instagram worthy to all visiting downtown Oakland.”

“Independent Brewing Company was proud to allow Tourism Cares to paint a mural at the brewery as a neighborhood beautification effort and to attract more people to discover a previously unvisited area of the Jack London Warehouse district,” says Steve McDaniel, Brewer and Owner of the Oakland brewery. Public arts and art installations at previously vacant locations add a sense of wonder and connection to areas previously cut-off from the flow of citizen involvement and attract new people to neighborhoods and business districts.”

The Visit Oakland Public Mural Grant Program officially begins accepting applications this month. 

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