Pro Arts

Oakland, CA

Pro Arts is a non-profit art institution working in the visual arts, performance, music, social practice, public art, and education. Founded in 1973, Pro Arts is one of the few remaining institutions in Oakland that is artist-centered and that continues to function as a platform for experimentation, supporting the freedom to create challenging, non-commercial work in critical art context.

Our mission is to champion new art practices and emerging forms of cultural production through an institutional platform which fosters collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas. We practice radical openesses and inclusivity in our daily insitutional activities as well as in our curatorial vision and strategy.

We work closely and collaboratively with artist, curators, and cultural producers to develop and realize contemporary work in all media, ranging from installation and performance to experimental music and temporary public art work. We balance our exhibition schedule with ancillary activities, such as public programs, community engagement projects, workshops, and interdisciplinary art series. Our gallery location in downtown Oakland serves as a vibrant meeting spot for artists and the local community, and a catalyst that sparks dialogue and opens up new perspectives. We support close to 100 visual artists annually and attract a gallery audience of over 10,000. The gallery program includes exhibitions, commissions, interdisciplinary arts series, Studio Lab residency, slow tech MAKER SPACE workshop series, and publications. We believe strongly in supporting artists financially and in compensating them fairly for their artistic labor. 

In addition to our gallery program, each year, we commission and realize over 30 site-specific, temporary public art projects, conceived and developed in a collaboration between Pro Arts and local, national and International artists. These projects take advantage of the immediate surroundings of the gallery – more specifically, its proximity to Oakland’s City Hall and Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

In Spring 2017, Pro Arts incorporated The Great Wall of Oakland project, continuing in their mission to present public projections onto the exterior facades of buildings in downtown Oakland.