Oakland Hires its First Cultural Affairs Manager

Roberto Bedoya is the incoming Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Oakland

Roberto Bedoya is the incoming Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Oakland (Photo: Karen Boyd/City of Oakland)

The City of Oakland has appointed Roberto Bedoya as its first Cultural Affairs Manager, a job that will come with a host of challenges.

Bedoya was born in Union City, but he comes to Oakland after nine years as executive director of the Tucson Pima (Arizona) Arts Council (TPAC), where he developed a reputation as a leader in creative placemaking, the trendy term for the way a healthy and diverse arts community makes for a vibrant city.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says he’s well prepared for the job. “To have someone who recognizes that art is the most powerful force for holding hard conversations,” Schaaf said in a phone interview, “for envisioning the change that we want, because change is inevitable in cities.”

When he starts his job in early September, Bedoya will be have to complete a cultural plan, including how to keep artists and arts organizations from being priced out of Oakland, and deciding whether Oakland should restore its arts commission.

Bedoya will oversee $900,000 in annual grants to local arts organization and a $1 million-bond fund for public art.


Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley's School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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