music in the park san jose

.Gallery Bopping at ‘Thursday After Hours’

OMCA’s latest nighttime event is an arty party

music in the park san jose

Thursday nights at the Oakland Museum of California can be a bit sketchy. Literally.

Drawing on the success of its “Friday Nights at OMCA” series, the museum has added “Thursday After Hours.” Not only can visitors take advantage of a 2-for-1 admission deal, but they can nosh, sip, enjoy the galleries and perhaps some music and, on some nights, sketch.

The museum’s popular “Friday Night” series, held mostly outdoors, is on hiatus until April and better weather, said Triana Patel, OMCA’s learning, experience and programs manager. “We wanted to make [the ‘After Hours’ experience] a year-round destination,” she said, “activating the galleries and the [Town Fare] cafe.” OMCA also wanted to tie directly into the talented Oakland arts and music community, while making connections with what’s on view in the galleries.

One of the first connections was proposed by Sketchboard Co., an organization that presents live figure-drawing opportunities at Bay Area locations. “We are the first museum they have partnered with,” Patel said. Accomplished and budding artists can use supplies provided by OMCA to draw live models posed in various spaces in the museum. (Note: Because this is live nude figure drawing, participation is limited to those 18 and older.) “People have told us, ‘I haven’t sketched in years!’” Patel said.

For the next Sketchbook opportunity check OMCA’s “events” page on its website.

On Feb. 29, TAH will offer “Total Response!: The Continued Conversation w/ Jacobdeloakland, Nimsins, and Bag o’Tricks,” a rap “performance and conversation” tribute to Horace Silver’s 1972 album of that name. Pop-up performances by local groups will also emphasize the connection to Black History Month.

“They’ll be presented in our ‘Gallery of California History/California To Be Continued’ space,” Patel said. “One of our staff members, Jacob Adams, is involved in the Bay Area music scene, and he’ll be performing [as Jacobdeoakland] with Nimsins and Bag o’Tricks.”

Between performances, Town Fare will offer cooking demonstrations and sampling. “These will focus on foods celebrating Black History Month,” Patel said, noting Town Fare head chef Michele McQueen’s Southern roots and her love of the food and drink originating there.

The Feb. 29 schedule includes:

  • 5-8pm Cooking Demonstrations | Town Fare Café
  • 5-8pm Core Galleries and Special Exhibitions
  • 5:45-6:15pm Pop-up Performance | Gallery of California History, Mid Level
  • 6:45-7:15pm Pop-up Performance | Gallery of California History, Mid Level

Other upcoming TAH events will feature Oakland-originated turf dancing, including Afrobeats music and—separately—opera, Patel said.

Another aspect of TAH are the informal “gallery chats,” during which a facilitator ties in what’s happening that evening with what’s on view in the galleries.

The whole idea, Patel said, is to create events that offer a “relaxing, easy space to be a part of.” While in no way discounting more formal presentations designed to enhance scholarship, TAH events “keep it light, energetic, interactive and reflective of Alameda County’s population,” she said.

Patel and OMCA staff devote time to considering which spaces in the museum offer the right mixture of space and intimacy, and what is the ideal capacity for a planned event, developing the opportunity for attendees to get to know each other as they move through the event. OMCA, like virtually all major museums, is making big efforts not only to increase its appeal to a diverse demographic, but to help shed the standard concept of a “museum” as a stuffy, hands-off place.

To a large degree, TAH events also reflect OMCA’s own internal discussions. As materials state, “In 2020, more than 50 staff members from the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) actively participated in examining the Museum’s culture and structure and put forth recommendations to move the organization toward becoming a more anti-racist institution.”

Response to the TAH events so far has been extremely positive, Patel said. The series will continue at least until the “Friday Night” series resumes in April.

‘Thursday After Hours’ at OMCA, 5-8pm Thursday evenings, Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510.318.8400. 2-for 1 tickets available online using code “Thursdate,” or at the door while supplies last: https://museumca.org/events/.

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