The Oakland Center for the Arts (hereafter OCA) exists as a catalyst for creative expression. As such, we present and foster diverse artistic vision. We are dedicated to the premise that the visual and performing arts will find both a voice and an audience at the OCA. The Oakland Center for the Arts is organized to provide a resource facility where diverse expressions of creativity by and for the community can occur. The Oakland is dedicated to the premise that theater, film, music, literature and the visual arts will find both a voice and an audience at the Center. Our purpose is to create a dialogue within our community about pertinent issues through a progressive theatre and gallery program; to provide outreach into underserved communities; and to provide area and regional artists with an alternative space to grow artistically.
The Oakland has evolved over the years: from our first donated space, an Oakland car dealership on Mahoning Ave., to its next home in the Community Center on Fifth Ave. to a 'lil theater" in Girard (very temporary digs while we set up shop in our permanent home) then, The Morley Arts Building at 220. W. Boardman St. in Downtown Youngstown. It was our founding members' hope that the Oakland find a permanent space downtown, and we've held tight to our lovely nook for the past 10 years with no plans to go anywhere else.
We shared our beautiful building (a converted Elks Lodge) with Ballet Western Reserve. Then the Oakland hit a bump in the road, under new leadership the Oakland lost its space in downtown Youngstown, and took a break for a year, under a new board of directors, the Oakland began Kids First Theatre Initiative to put the Oakland on firm financial footing, and are reviving the Magic Carpet theatre a professional company that takes shows with professional actors into schools into NE Ohio and W PA. We are currently presenting shows at a beautiful space at Trinity Fellowship Church 4749 South Ave. Coming in 2018 Grey Matters a program for older adults.
Over the past 23 years, we've staged over 150 full-length productions, countless workshops and one-acts, dozens of community partnerships, lots of indie film screenings, rock shows, rentals, and gallery shows in the Star Gallery.
The Oakland is a non-profit organization so we run entirely on donations and revenue from shows. we really rely on our amazing volunteers and Board members to get things done. The Board and their happy band of volunteers do everything from scrub the toilets to select the season to wash the windows to sell concessions.
If you've ever attended a show, written a letter of support, donated a few bucks, or volunteered at the O -- we are indebted to you,and GRATEFUL to you! Please keep coming back, and always let us know what you think!