Oakland Cultural Arts

Whether it's the people, the dynamic food scene or the natural beauty, Oakland is definitely the place everyone is talking about. And historically, it has been the rich legacy in the arts that stands alone as our greatest natural asset, making Oakland a true global destination. But even with this concentration of arts activity, Oakland does not have a world class cultural and performing arts facility. One Lake Merritt will serve as an epicenter for performing and visual arts, providing a venue for local community arts, professional arts groups and headline acts.

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company-  photo: Wanda Sabir

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company- photo: Wanda Sabir

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

1LM will include the state-of-the-art renovation of the Oakland Auditorium Arena and Calvin Simmons Theater, enabling the presentation of the widest range of cultural activities.  A highly configurable design will accommodate varying audience sizes in the arena creating an infinite number of uses.

1LM will work to ensure the future stability of some of our most important arts institutions as resident organizations and provide access to emerging arts groups through a facility access and inclusion program.  

1LM will work to ensure the future stability of some of our most important arts institutions as resident organizations and provide access to emerging arts groups through a facility access and inclusion program.  

1LM has been endorsed by many of Oakland's seminal arts organizations for its embrace of local and traditional arts, making this development, including the addition of an arts-integrated hotel, the best and highest use for Oakland, the arts community and visitors to our great city- Oakland Made for Oakland!

Community Arts Supporters (partial list)

Oakland East Bay Symphony

American Steel Studios

Oakland Makers

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

Diamano Coura

Savage Dance

Destiny Arts Center

Top Ten Social

World Arts West

Oakland Film Society

Oakland International Film Festival

Lorraine Hansberry Theater


Balance Edutainment

Thelma Harris Gallery

West Coast Blues Society

Eastside Arts Alliance

Friends of the Exposition Organ

Dimensions Dance Theater

Destiny- Harpist from the Hood

West Wind Artists

Axis Dance Theater

Museum of the African Diaspora

African American Shakespeare Company

Museum of Children's Arts

Eastlake Music Festival

San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music

Makers Community Engagement

CDP Principal Randolph Belle has long been a leader in the Oakland and Bay Area Arts community and in in recent years worked closely with leaders in the Maker community to advance the impact of arts, science and application through strategic partnerships, promotion, arts education and application.  The Maker community is cohesive, yet diverse.  The One Lake Merritt strategy for inclusion of the Maker community includes four components- Education, Exhibition, Retail and Infrastructure.  The Education component includes K-14 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) activities featuring temporary installations, interactive exhibitions and a proposed outdoor Makers playspace at Peralta Park.  Additional permanent Maker co-working activities may be housed in the Kaiser basement.  These activities will primarily include technology based Makers. 

Exhibitions will showcase the wealth of industrial and monumental arts being produced in Oakland- throughout the hotel and convention center and on the surrounding grounds. Of all the large scale art being produced in Oakland.  Very little is actually on exhibit here.  One Lake Merritt, the surrounding grounds, and select locations around Lake Merritt, will provide a high profile venue for residents and visitors alike around the bustling jewel of Oakland.  

As part of this exhibition strategy, CDP will be working with an existing coalition of artists and Makers who have developed a proposal to create a new, public sculptural play landscape at the Peralta Park that supports rich narrative play for children of all ages and engages adults with their public spaces in new ways. The group has plans to create five such artist-shaped playground projects within the greater San Francisco Bay Area and their goal is to launch the initiative in Oakland, the epicenter of the Maker movement where much of the industrial and monumental arts is produced and shipped for display around the country. The Artists’ Playground Project will help create a new kind of public art project, a community space combining sculpture and social practice. The project will provide a way for art to be accessible and endemic to children and at the same time, provide important opportunities for artists to connect with, influence, and to be influenced by their own communities. 

Retail opportunities for artists and craftspeople will be integrated into fixed locations in the hotel, transient pop-up opportunities at events and artisan marketplaces around the facility. With the renovation of Lake Merritt, we have developed a strategy to generate revenue to build upon activities around the lake including supporting local artisans. New concessions around the lake will attract visitors from around the region and further energize the renaissance currently being experienced. Oakland Makers is a nonprofit working group comprised of makers, manufacturers, educators, and economic developers working to sustain and build making and manufacturing in Oakland. Oakland Makers will play a lead role in facilitating local artisan producers, industrial fabricators, entrepreneurial manufacturers and food and beverage micro-enterprises at One Lake Merritt. The City of Oakland has provided seed money to support the growth of the Maker and creative economy in a diverse and sustainable manner.

The local Maker community will be built in to the infrastructure of One Lake Merritt wherever feasible. Possible applications include interior designs, outdoor hardscaping, fixtures and other items that can be crafted by the Laney College Machine Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Departments, and other Oakland-based Makers.

Our partnership with Laney College also includes programmatic activities that highlight the college as a National Science Foundation Center and home of the only Oakland FabLab, a technology tinkerers workshop on the Laney campus, which is affiliated with a growing number of similar operations at Oakland Unified school sites.  Laney College is also affiliated through shared faculty and students with the major industrial arts and Maker centers throughout Oakland, making it a central hub of the Maker community. Part of the 1LM Works programming will coordinate with an exciting new approach to education, the Laney College MBA (Makers, Builders, Artisans), which is an entrepreneurship workshop in a contextualized business and entrepreneurship education format. Contextualized learning means that instead of hearing lectures and reading about the fundamentals of business, participants in the program start their own ‘prototype’ business. Participants also become versed in the four disciplines of manufacturing-Carpentry, Wood Tech, Machining and Welding.


Media production and broadcast are a major component of the strategy for success at the Oakland Auditorium and provide an opportunity to showcase local talent and cast an authentic light on Oakland and the range of artistic, musical, athletic and cultural talents here. CDP has assembled an incredible team of accomplished local artists and producers to provide a full range of content production and broadcast services and our goal is to build upon the renaissance and change the narrative of Oakland, but to also represent the diversity of Oakland and pay tribute to the tradition and legacy of Oakland. Our strategy includes a full range of broadcast offerings including web, mobile, film and television.  Web strategies include the creation of a Multi Channel Network featuring four primary categories- Arts, Science, Sports and Entertainment. 1LM will be the greatest marketing vehicle that Oakland has ever known- built on the strength and contributions of the people.

Additional media production and broadcast services will be provided by the Laney College Media Communications Department, KDOL/Oakland Unified School District Media Enterprise Alliance (MEA) and Peralta TV. The Laney College Media Communications students receive career technical education with industry standard instruction, including graphic design and media production for sound and video broadcast. KDOL and the MEA are are the lead agency for the five OUSD Media Arts Academies and prepare students for the industry in the state of the art KDOL studios, one block from the HJK Center.

Peralta TV and KDOL will broadcast non-commercial content produced in the facility including cultural arts, general interest, amateur sports and other student productions.

Visual ARTS

One Lake Merritt will offer an arts integrated experience. Visual arts created by local artists will be featured throughout the combined hotel and event center complex including public and private galleries, in the hallways and guestrooms, as well as in festivals and artisan marketplaces. Our deep connections to the local fine arts and maker community will provide rich partnerships with local galleries, curators and organizations, to provide enhanced opportunities and inclusion for the broader creative economy.