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Omni Commons



What if one of the largest community centers and venue spaces in the Bay Area was run in a spirit of radical generosity, by a volunteer collective where everybody is a leader?

They’re trying to do just that, at the Omni Oakland Commons, a community resource center and venue space self-organized by thirteen Bay Area collectives that work towards social justice, radical pedagogy, arts production, citizen science and DIY practices.

“Prioritizing the needs of marginalized and oppressed communities, the Omni hosts educational programs, hands-on workshops, discussion groups, performances, art openings and other events in a manner that strives always to place human needs over private interests and corporate profit.”

While the specifics of Omni’s programs may not be directly translatable to Redding, their ideas are intriguing for broad-minded churches and other owners of local, semi-public, community spaces:

  • worker-owned cafe cooperative
  • design cooperative
  • free, public spaces in which to engage in the shared exploration, contemplation and generation of new ideas through group discourse, collaborative learning, and creative inquiry
  • community artists whose perspectives, experiences and artwork challenge the dominant culture
  • grassroots, all-volunteer, support committees
  • local DIYbio movement
  • cooking large-scale community meals and serve free food
  • networking for recognition & payment for all caring work
  • film makers in a spirit of collaboration, inclusivity and solidarity
  • food justice collective
  • local hackerspace
  • local small press that primarily publishes contemporary poetry
  • school academic and enrichment programs, youth development and leadership, violence prevention, and interventions nationwide

Other well-known organizations such as SFSOMA’s Open Space have used the space for two labs on ownership Part 1 and Part 2.

Omni Commons is located at 4799 Shattuck, Oakland, CA, two blocks from Dona Tomas, one of my favorite restaurants.