Omni Commons

is creating a collectively-run center for community organizing, hacking, art

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About Omni Commons

A lot has changed since moving into the historic and inspiring 22,000 sq ft former Italian social club at 4799 Shattuck Avenue. The biggest change is, through hours of work by volunteers and the generosity of an anonymous donor, we were able to buy it in December of 2016.

As owners we can invest in the building in ways that wouldn't make sense as a renter. Making the building more accessible, functional, and beautiful is a huge creative project in itself, but, beyond that, by sending Omni Commons a few dollars a month, you’ll be a patron of hundreds of creators whose work might not be possible without the resources and space we share, and you can keep Omni Commons available to help make your next creative and/or political idea a reality. 

Here are just a few of the creative projects blooming at Omni:

Liberated LensSeeds of Struggle, a feature length film directed by Dennis Terry, documenting the food justice movement in the East Bay, and the real solutions being used by farmers, urban growers, and educators to get fresh, nutritious, and affordable food to low-income communities in urban centers.

The People’s Open Network, a community-owned, open source, peer-to-peer wireless network in Oakland, California, being built by members of Sudo Room, Omni’s hacker space.

Counter Culture Lab’s Real Vegan Cheese project, an award-winning collaboration between Counter Culture Labs and BioCurious in Sunnyvale, to make real cheese without using animals; and Open Insulin, developing the first open source protocol to produce insulin simply and economically, work that may serve as a basis for affordable generic production of this life-saving drug.

There are also ongoing workshops, organizing meetings, film screenings, food distribution, dance classes and social dancing events, as well as experimental theater, book fairs, concerts, and art shows. Many community organizations use our low cost space for meetings and events.

Please come see us at Omni Commons, and support us with a monthly Patreon pledge of what you might spend on one cup of coffee or a mimosa. Few creators on Patreon will provide a greater impact for your contribution. The Omni team is 100% volunteer, so all of the funding from Patreon will go toward materials, equipment and physical space. 

We value:
  • Standing in solidarity with all oppressed people
  • Innovative community-based cultural production
  • The survival and thrival of our communities and neighborhoods
  • Striving for social, economic, and environmental justice
  • An active, publicly accessible commons
  • Radical discourse and education
  • Removing barriers to technical innovation and scientific inquiry by providing needed equipment and space for individual and group learning.
  • A culture of consent, against rape, violence, and exploitation

Shared resources:
  • A large ballroom and stage
  • A library
  • Free classes and workshops
  • A commercial kitchen (under renovation)
  • A community science lab
  • A film editing & media lab
  • Computers and printers
  • Tools ranging from basic power tools and robots to 3D printers and electronics soldering stations
  • A sewing station with heavy-duty sewing, embroidery, and button-sewing machines
  • A variety of physical spaces to create, to gather, to ponder and connect - many available to rent for your next meeting or event!

Community gatherings:
  • Regular film nights (with free popcorn!)
  • Bi-weekly Delegates Meetings, open to all every 1st and 3rd Thursday starting at 7pm
  • A ton of free classes, workshops, meetings and events open to all - check out our calendar to see what's happening!

More information

What are some of the problems Omni Commons addresses?

  • Small, community non-profits and local cultural groups are at risk for displacement unless they own/control their own land and resources. In the boom and bust cycle of real estate in the SF Bay Area, many small businesses and non-profits that provide services & act as nodes of community connection have disappeared.
  • Social change organizations, and the movements they generate, have difficulty accessing the resources needed to operate effectively - space for working, meetings, and events; skills, knowledge, and technical support; equipment for scientific and cultural production; capital and financing.
  • Capitalism and technology promotes fragmentation of families, neighborhoods, and social relationships that are the basis of a healthy community. Fewer people are able to access public gathering places and activities where they meet others & engage in conversations that expand their understanding.
  • Connection to Oakland’s radical history has decreased as gentrification and displacement changes the landscape and population. 

What does Omni Commons hope to accomplish over the next couple of years?

Our major goal is to increase our community organizing activity, now that we have greater financial stability through shared property ownership.
  • Increase the number of member collectives & their activity; offer them more development support
  • Increase participation & leadership of people who are organizing to deal with their own problems
  • Increase participation from neighbors & be more active as a force in neighborhood/Oakland politics
  • Increase & support volunteers
  • More collaboration between all groups active at the Omni - event users & member collectives - toward specific goals
  • Improve our financial situation & capacity to be able to refinance loan in 4-½ years
  • Maintain & improve the building to increase accessibility, beauty, and functionality
  • Open the entrance hall as a basic cafe, an attractive place for people to gather informally
Together we can build power to resist the forces of displacement and improve our lives through resource sharing, community building, and collaboration.
$70.60 of $4,000 per month
To put the finishing touches on our wheelchair accessible bathroom
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