Art and Culture


Oakland Leaf continues to uphold the founders’ goal of art and youth-led productions that celebrate the beauty and talent that often gets marginalized when one thinks about, talks about, or represents Oakland. Art and culture are woven throughout all of Oakland Leaf’s programs and classes. We provide our youth with a number of opportunities to present and share their achievements in performing arts, digital arts, and music production. At the end of each semester or program’s duration, students participate in expositions (Expo) where they showcase what they have learned in front of families, friends, and the community. In addition, our annual All Oakland Youth Talent Showcase is a larger event that gives students from all over Oakland the chance to perform for a sold out audience.


It has been shown that lower income students who are highly involved in the arts narrow the academic achievement gap with higher income students. In fact, students with access to arts in high school are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than students without access to the arts. This is especially crucial to note since the educational achievement gap grew up to 40% between 1967 and 2007. By nurturing the community’s nascent artists and innovators, employing the finest art instructors, and establishing vibrant-urban communities, Oakland Leaf is proud to be playing a leadership role in Oakland’s renaissance. Our students learn to examine and convey their life struggles and dreams for a better society through art and music production.


We offer students an average of 9 hours per week of art and culture programming, 10 months per year. Below is a sample of the Art and Culture classes and activities we offer:


  • Arts in Action!
  • Baile Folklorico
  • Computer Generated Design & Animation
  • Creative Identity
  • Digital Poetry
  • Dream It – Do It!
  • Expressions Dance
  • Graffiti Art
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Murals
  • Music and Video Production
  • Ready, Set, Act
  • Sculpture Making
  • Three-Dimensional Arts

From 2010-2012, 91% of seniors in our Roots program were accepted to college.