The Oakland Projects (1991-2000)

Overview / TEAM

A ten-year series of installations, performances and political activism with youth in Oakland, California (Oakland/San Francisco, 1991-2000)

Oakland, California—with its history of political activism, diversity and culture— is the site of a developing public voice for youth. With a public school population of 55% African American, 20% Latino/a, 20% Asian American, and 5% European American students, the city is nationally recognized for its urban youth culture.

Between 1991-2000, Suzanne Lacy worked with youth and adult collaborators under the acronym TEAM (Teens + Educators + Artists + Media Makers) to produce lengthy and large-scale projects that included workshops and classes for youth, media intervention, and institutional program and policy development. Funded in part by the Surdna Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Oakland’s Kids First Initiative, The Oakland Projects offer an example of one of the most developed explorations of community, youth leadership, and public policy in current visual arts practice.

TEAM produced socially oriented public performance and multimedia installation art that engaged inner-city youth with public policy and institutions that effect their well-being, had a direct impact on regional media images of urban young people, and promoted theory and practice on how art affects social change in the justice, health, and education systems. This work is distributed on television, through lectures, in galleries, on documentary videos, and in articles and books.

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