City, Youth Speaks Inc. Offer Digital Workshops to Strengthen Oakland’s Cultural Community

The City of Oakland received $36.9 million in State of California CARES Act funding. Through the Oakland CARES Arts Technical Assistance Fund, $193,000 has been allocated to provide technical assistance to help Oakland-based arts organizations and artists develop a robust online digital presence.

The City of Oakland received $36.9 million in State of California CARES Act funding. Through the Oakland CARES Arts Technical Assistance Fund, $193,000 has been allocated to provide technical assistance to help Oakland-based arts organizations and artists develop a robust online digital presence.

From November 9 to December 10, Youth Speaks, in partnership with YR Media and Zoo Labs, two Oakland artists-centered organizations, will offer 14 free, virtual workshops to train participants on available tools for programming and production; producing content utilizing low-cost tools and technology; the aesthetic associated with virtual presentations; social media and marketing strategies; and strategies on how to monetize one’s presence. For details on the workshop offerings and registration, please visit

“The County’s Shelter-in-place Orders to keep Oaklanders safer have prevented many artists, performers and arts organizations from enriching our community through performances and exhibitions,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “These workshops will help our cultural practitioners make the leap to online performances to share their artistic expression and generate much-needed income.”

“With our desire to navigate and cross several artistic fields (theatre, poetry, production, music, and beyond), we felt it was important to sculpt bold and precise experiments to help our organizations and partners to navigate this moment in time,” said Joan Osato, Producing Director at Youth Speaks. “We’re thrilled to be able to pass on what we’ve learned to our beloved community through this project.”

Youth Speaks & Life Is living Cohort Workshops

Session 1: ​Monday, November 9, 4-5:30 p.m.
Grounding Rituals​ - Facilitated by Hodari B. Davis, and Joan Osato (Life is Living Cohort) Coaching Session that aligns and codifies shared understanding, language and connection to mission, strategy and content. Identifying your audiences and engagement strategy.

Session 2: ​Monday, November 9, 6-7:30 p.m.
Seeds​ - Transferring skill sets to virtual engagement and production. How to utilize, train up your existing staff and artists for virtual programming; a 101 tutorial on pre-production, production and post-production, as well as how to budget for it. Training on online tools and platforms including pros and cons of each system, costs and skill sets that are transferable to online programming and production.

Session 3: ​Wednesday, November 11, 4-5:30 p.m.
Zoomlife​ - 101 Tutorial on everyday use/user friendly platforms. Zoom world practical applications, tricks and tips. Tech Guide in safety, connectivity, equipment. Producing content and media assets utilizing low-cost tools and technology. Britt White, Life is Living’s Production Manager takes you through the backstage into organizing and running your show. Tech guides included.

Session 4: ​Wednesday, November 11, 6-7:30 p.m.
Advanced Tutorial​ on everyday use/user friendly platforms. Bringing the aesthetics of your organization, artists and engagement priorities into the design of your program. Defining aesthetics, goals, participants and barriers and how to address them. Setting your stage, capture process in the time of COVID-19. Editing, and Rehearsal and Tech. This training involves aesthetics, and innovative practice in virtual presentations and programming. Includes examples of presentations, process and technology by which they were achieved.

Session 5: ​Monday, November 16, 4-5:30pm
Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) & Wirecast Introduction​ and tutorials. In this session we’ll introduce you to advanced programs that help you capture, produce and stream your content for broadcast. Maximiliano Urruzmendi, Life is Living’s Technical Director takes you through the basics of how the programs work. Handouts Included.

Session 6: ​Monday, November 16, 6-7:30pm
Principles of Streaming, Wirecast, YouTube, Twitch platforms continued. Now that you have the basic outline of how the platforms work and are in communication with each other, it’s time to plot out your workflow and take it into broadcast. Maximiliano takes you through various streaming services and platforms and the pros and cons of each. Handouts included.

Session 7: ​Wednesday, November 18, 1-3 p.m.
Merchandising, Monetizing and Creating Earned Revenue Streams​ - Yavette Holts, founder of BAOBOB (Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Business, Life is Living Cohort) - ​high level overview of ecommerce platforms in order to support business owners and nonprofits who need help optimizing their online store(s) . We’ll take the participants through the platform WooCommerce.

Session 8: ​Wednesday, November 18, 6-7:30 p.m.
Pivoting your Organization and Practice (now what?)​ - We’ll ​facilitate a conversation about strategies and frameworks for a sustainable future for organizations and artists and guide and support participants in visioning next steps. Breakout Sessions and Consulting on Scenarios will look at Social media and marketing strategies that apply to virtual programming, including Branding, Analytics and their use in fundraising and strategies for monetizing your platforms. Social Media Toolkit included.

YR Media Workshops

Tuesday, December 1 to Thursday, December 3, 6-7:30 p.m.

Social Circles: Building an Audience in Apocalypse (three-part series)
Now that your fans can’t experience you in a live venue, what do you do to retain and build an audience? How can artists create a personal brand? In this three-part conversation, YR Media’s social team and youth social contributors will show you how to start, and then nurture, an authentic social presence, with recommendations of which platform(s) to target depending on your demographic.

Zoo Labs Workshops (Recommended for Artists/Collectives working in music)

Session 1: Tuesday, December 8, 5-7 p.m.
Your Story Brand - Attendees will learn how to digitally tell a story that can sell and market their brand to their customers. Presented by ​Mashama Thompson of 510 Media.

Session 2: Wednesday, December 9, 5-7 p.m.
The Digital Roll Out Strategy - Attendees will learn how to strategically engage fans and create buzz around music, videos or other online content. Presented by Lance Coleman, Fuze the MC.

Session 3; Thursday, December 10, 5-7 p.m.
How to Get Paid and Follow the Trends - Attendees will learn how to collect money through their digital royalties and understand their data to know what is working in order to make future strategies. Presented by United Masters.

The workshops are for Oakland residents and reservations are required. Participation in the program is on a first come, first served basis.

This is the latest CARES Act-funded program launched by the City of Oakland. Previously, grant programs for small businesses, individual artists and arts nonprofits, home-based businesses, community-serving nonprofits, and low-income renters and homeowners were announced. Additionally, free legal advice webinars and consultations on lease negotiations are being supported by CARES Act funds. Learn more about the City of Oakland's $36.9 million in CARES Act Funding at:

About Youth Speaks
Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high-quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change. They are the producers of Life is Living is an eco-equity, interdisciplinary festival that centers historically underserved neighborhoods and communities with programming in public spaces that have been otherwise neglected. For the last 13 years, the Life is Living Festival has taken place at De Fremery Park in West Oakland

About YR Media
YR Media is a national network of young journalists and artists who collaborate with peers around the country and top media professionals to create content that matters. It is non-profit production company that builds critical skills in journalism, arts and media.

About Zoo Labs
Zoo Labs a not-for-profit accelerator that bridges art, ​entrepreneurship, and capital to conduct 3 high level workshops for musicians specifically around branding, music production and entrepreneurship.

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Posted: October 26th, 2020 9:09 AM

Last Updated: October 30th, 2020 11:49 AM

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