Pro Arts is among the oldest and most significant institutions for contemporary art in Oakland. Founded in 1974 as the Alameda County Neighborhood Arts Program, it soon became a national model for utilizing CETA funds for artists and arts projects under the leadership of John Kreidler. By 1980, the organization was renamed, and an emphasis on visual arts and exhibitions became the cornerstone of programming.
For the past 44 years of operation, Pro Arts Gallery has provided numerous artists with the opportunity to experiment, take risks and develop work that wouldn’t be possible in other settings. Some of the most influential artists of the Bay Area have had landmark exhibitions at Pro Arts Gallery in the past.
During its four decades of existence, Pro Arts has been located in numerous Oakland neighborhoods: West Oakland, Old Oakland, Jack London Square, and currently in the Downtown Oakland area at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
In 2016, Pro Arts began hosting two new professional development programs: Studio Lab Curatorial and Studio Lab Artist Residency Programs. These new programs provide emerging curators and artists with the opportunity to develop and expand their curatorial and artistic professional practice.
In Spring 2017, The Great Wall of Oakland became a program of Pro Arts and moved to its current outdoor architectural projection site – Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Dedicated to the public presentation of film, video, and moving image arts, this program continues to bring art of the highest caliber to the community of Oakland.