Nine Oakland Public Art Displays You Can Explore While Social Distancing

By Cathy Niland | 3.25.2020

Oakland is a city known for its art—it’s often listed as one of the main attractions for visitors. And normally, we have the privilege of seeing art come to life in our studio on a daily basis. But since our own studio is shut down, we’re looking for new, creative ways to engage with Oakland while staying safe. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of nine public art displays you can explore while still practicing social distancing. All these pieces are outdoors in public spaces, so you can get some fresh air, take in some art, and still stay six feet away from other humans. Bring your whole family along for a creative adventure.

Feel free to follow along using the map above, and don’t forget to mark down other art you see along the way. What are your favorite pieces of public art in Oakland? Share with us by emailing

Explore Oakland Public Art


Artist: Bruce Beasley
Location: Across from Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Downtown Oakland

This towering 30′ tall bronze sculpture sits in Oakland’s downtown at the end of San Pablo Avenue. The piece was installed in the early 2000s after Beasley, a West Oakland-based sculptor, won a contest for a public art display following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Roselyn Mazzilli
Location: Oakland City Center near 12th Street BART, Downtown Oakland

This colorful sculpture will be familiar to anyone who commutes through Oakland’s City Center. Standing 20′ tall, this sculpture has been an unmissable fixture of Downtown since the late 80s when Mazzilli installed her tribute to Gertrude Stein.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Robert Winston
Location: Lake Merritt

Last year, the long ignored Mid-Century Monster, a fixture of Lakeside Park, received. a long overdue refurbishment. Now back and greener than ever, this decades old icon—half sculpture, half play structure—is ready and waiting for your arrival. What’s great about this piece is you don’t have to tell your kids not to touch the art!

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Shawn Lovell
Location: The Gardens at Lake Merritt

This functional public art is a brand-new addition to The Gardens, forged using ancient techniques by Alameda blacksmith, Shawn Lovell. No two leaves are alike and the details demand close study. Lovell had to create two of every element–once for the front gate, and once for the back gate.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Various Artists
Location: Various locations

When you hear the words public art in Oakland, you can’t help but think of the countless murals covering our city. There are so many incredible pieces of art we couldn’t begin to dive in deep enough, but as you explore, you are bound to cross paths with a few. Check out Visit Oakland’s page on Oakland murals for more information and keep an eye out for information on Oakland’s Mural Festival.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: James Allen King
Location: International Maritime Center, Port of Oakland

Sea Remembrance is a brand new addition to the Oakland waterfront, unveiled in February, 2020. This sculpture is meant to commemorate the sacrifices seafarers make and their relationship to Oakland’s history as a port city.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Katherine Keefer, April Philips, Steve Gillman
Location: Mandela Parkway, West Oakland

This collaborative project was created to commemorate the lives lost in the Cypress Freeway collapse during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The three ladders sculpture refers to the men and women of West Oakland who rushed to help the injured.

Oakland Public Art


Artist: Gina Dominguez
Location: Near the intersection of Fruitvale and MacArthur, Diamond District

These vibrant and colorful mosaics (five in total) were commissioned by the city council for the shopping area in the Diamond neighborhood of Oakland. Where some of the pieces on this list ask you to do a lot of looking up, these will help you stretch your neck in the other direction.

Oakland Public Art


Location: Outside The Hanover on 27th St., Uptown Oakland

HYBYCOZO duo, Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu, have installed sculptures around the world, but this recent Uptown installation is extra special as the pair calls Oakland their home. This piece is impressive any time of day, but worth a visit during evening hours when it lights up, revealing stunning shadow patterns on the ground.

Oakland Public Art

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