Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling exhibit series in our Oakland office celebrates California’s rich cultural and artistic histories and dynamic changing demographics. Multi-generational storytelling and testimonials articulated in this exhibit through a variety of visual media. In 2020, we pivoted to virtual events until we can safely bring staff and the public together.


The Art of Storytelling: Fire Tales

A virtual conversation with grantees who are working with communities affected by the California fires. Facilitated by Rachel Hatch, Senior Program Officer, Community Vitality – The McConnell Foundation and a California Humanities Board Member, this event’s panelists will share stories straight from the front lines of the wildfires.

The Art of Storytelling: Black Joy

A virtual evening of performance and conversation moderated by writer and professor of poetry/social action and composition studies Daniel Summerhill in conversation with two young writers from the Black Joy anthology, Samuel Getachew (former Oakland Youth Poet Laureate) and Elijah Hynson alongside their poet mentors. It included performances by award-winning writers Tongo Eisen-MartinDarius Simpson, and Vernon Keeve III and was produced in partnership with Chapter 510 and Nomadic Press.

We Are More: Stories by Queer Comic Artists

July 8–October 31, 2019

Highlighting the connections between queer identity and other lived experiences, California Humanities presents the narrative art of four contemporary Oakland-based queer-identified comic artists: Ajuan Mance, Breena Nuñez, Lawrence Lindell, and Trinidad Escobar.

The work of each artist reflects an aspect of queer identity that is often unseen or hidden in mainstream narratives—whether it’s illustrations of queer connections between everyday people of color by Mance, magical realist depictions of the inner world of an artist by Lindell, queering indigenous mythology with drawings by Escobar, or a coming-of-age story about family and ethnic identity by Nuñez. Each piece provides a lens into complex stories which often defy categorization.

The exhibit also features behind-the-scenes clips from forthcoming California Humanities-funded documentary NO STRAIGHT LINES: THE STORY OF QUEER COMICS, which tells the story of how LGBTQ comics evolved from a marginalized underground scene to that of mainstream acknowledgement that we know today.

NO STRAIGHT LINES highlights five queer artists—Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Rupert Kinnard, Howard Cruse, and Mary Wings—and their work which, once obscure, now is recognized worldwide. The film, supported by a California Documentary Project grant from California Humanities, is helmed by filmmaker Vivian Kleiman, with assistance from Justin Hall, the author of anthology No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Fantagraphics Books, 2012.)

Exhibit Opening

Past Exhibits

WordsUncaged: Voices from inside Lancaster Prison
May 17, 2018–December 31, 2018

Pictures from the Field
October 19, 2017–March 29, 2018

RYSE: Richmond Youth Raise Their Voices
May 18–September 28, 2017

Favianna Rodriguez
February 16–April 13, 2017

Quilts of Oakland
August 25–December 28, 2016