Over 70 Artworks by Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD Art Center from Into the Brightness Exhibition Added to Permanent Collection

(OAKLAND, CA) January 23, 2024— The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) announced today its acquisition of over 70 individual artworks — including paintings, sculptures, video, works on paper, textiles and more —featured in its current major exhibition, Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth & NIAD, marking the largest acquisition drawn from a single exhibition in OMCA’s history.

On the eve of the closing of Into the Brightness, these additions to the Museum’s permanent collection represent years of partnership building, community engagement, and institutional collaboration with the three Bay Area studios: Creativity Explored in San Francisco, Creative Growth in Oakland, and NIAD Art Center in Richmond. Through this acquisition, OMCA will integrate these works into its regular rotation schedule within the Gallery of California Art, as well as featuring them in future multidisciplinary projects and exhibitions.

“Into the Brightness captured the overflowing gifts of the artists of Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, and NIAD,” said Linda Johnson, Executive Director of Creativity Explored. “Now, OMCA’s milestone investment in artwork from the three Katz-founded centers means that the influence of disabled artists will continue to ripple through the Bay Area art world — and beyond. I can’t wait to see our artists’ works in conversation with others in future exhibitions.”

“We are honored by the Oakland Museum of California’s significant acquisition from the Into the Brightness exhibition. This remarkable gesture not only celebrates the extraordinary talents of artists from Creative Growth, but also underscores the importance of collaboration and community in the arts,” said Tom di Maria, Director Emeritus. “The inclusion of these works in OMCA’s permanent collection and their future display is a testament to the diverse and dynamic spirit of artistic expression in the Bay Area. It marks a milestone in our ongoing mission to foster inclusivity and accessibility in the art world.”

“This historic acquisition of works by NIAD artists holds so much meaning. It is significant that the Oakland Museum of California is an East Bay institution and a bastion of social and environmental justice within the museum world. It matters that OMCA houses collections—not only of contemporary art but also of history and science—that are in a unique dialogue with each other,” said Amanda Eicher, Executive Director of NIAD Art Center. “As these works join OMCA’s collection, we celebrate the more than three years of collaborative commitment on the part of OMCA’s curatorial team. The inclusion of NIAD artists in this acquisition expands the scope of OMCA’s entire collection, and that is exactly what NIAD artists aim to do in the art world at large: make an impact.”

Core to OMCA’s collection stewardship and curation practice is a relationship-first approach with artists. Into the Brightness serves as a monumental example of this: the OMCA exhibition team worked directly with artists and studio staff at Creativity Explored, Creative Growth and NIAD Art Center over regular community convenings and many studio visits to determine how they would all collaborate together on this project and organize the exhibition. These efforts resulted in the largest museum exhibition in over a decade featuring more than 200 artists from the three Bay Area institutions.

Rooted in the idea that making art is a fundamental human practice and form of communication that all people are entitled to, Into the Brightness invites visitors to consider these artists’ perspectives on the world through their powerful work across multiple artistic disciplines including painting, sculpture, film, multimedia, textiles, and more.

OMCA’s relationship with the three organizations dates back many years. Past collaborations include multiple years hosting Creative Growth’s annual fundraiser and fashion show, Beyond Trend, and acquisitions of single artworks for OMCA’s permanent collection including Deena Jones , 1996, by William Scott in 2016, and Untitled, 1996, a sculpture by the late artist Judith Scott in 2004. A major acquisition of works from the three studios was identified as an institutional priority in OMCA’s collection plans as early as 2014.

Nineteen artists are represented in the acquisition including Jeremy Burleson‘s mixed media lamp sculptures; Karen May’s drawings on found Artforum pages; John Patrick McKenzie’s monumental scroll – a text-based drawing referencing pop culture and his Filipino identity; Dan Miller’s abstractions of layered numbers and words; Dorian Reid’s ceramic self-portrait as a cat and portrait of her mother, Betty Reid Soskin, as a cat; Lance Rivers’ multi-layered urban skyline; Monica Valentine’s sculptures densely beaded with pins and sequins; Marilyn Wong’s exuberant abstract painting; Ying Ge Zhou’s enigmatic watercolor portraits.

“The history of the Bay Area art scene is incomplete without recognition of the work and stories of the artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, and NIAD Art Center,” said Carin Adams, curator of the exhibition and senior curator of art at OMCA. “Through this acquisition, OMCA will be better equipped to tell a more reflective and nuanced story of California through OMCA’s interdisciplinary approach and the rich perspectives of these existing and emerging artists in our community. It has been a deeply meaningful experience for me and for our team at OMCA to work with these studios and the artists over many years, to get to know their work and their working processes, and then to culminate this project by bringing these exceptional objects into our collection to steward and present long into the future.”

This acquisition is announced during the final weeks of the Into the Brightness exhibition. Visitors are invited to view the show before it closes. Due to popular demand, the exhibition’s run was extended to Sunday, January 28, 2024. The OMCA Garden will be aglow in lights starting Wednesday, January 24 to Sunday, January 28 in celebration of the exhibition’s closing.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multidisciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.