We crafted The Commons as a space dedicated to connection and engagement.

For the conference, we took over the massive arena of the Henry J. Kaiser Center for the Arts (where notable figures such as James Brown, Elvis Presley, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bob Marley have all taken the stage) to transform into our conference commons — a place to connect and engage with other attendees, and take part in a variety of hands-on activities. The Commons featured the following programs:


  • Belonging in Action Poster Showcase - Our poster gallery will feature 30 posters selected from an open submission process of a wide network of belonging-builders, dreamers, and thinkers. Explore a range of ideas about belonging happening across the globe.
  • How I Keep Looking Up / Como Sigo Mirando Arriba / 仰望 - A cross-cultural bridging project brought to O&B 2024 by award-winning artist Christine Wong Yap. Come see a vibrant display of 16 handmade textile banners, heartfelt trilingual video interviews, and inspiring parade documentation from How I Keep Looking Up / Como Sigo Mirando Arriba / 仰望. This cross-cultural bridging project engaged 16 Chinese- and Spanish-speaking, working class, immigrant womxn from San Francisco’s Chinatown and Mission District neighborhoods. With a team of interpreters, lead artist Christine Wong Yap led six trilingual workshops for designers to build community across language, learn about resilience, share stories about their immigration journeys, and design and create fabric banners to represent their personal narratives of power and resilience. The designers carried these banners in the 2023 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade as the first contemporary art project in the history of the parade. The project was a collaboration with Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, where over 20,000 gallery visitors saw the exhibition. 
  • The Black (W)hole, with Brett Cook will bring an installation of his collaborative community project The Black (W)hole, a work of healing, public ritual, and multidisciplinary art. 
  • OBI's Design Principles for Belonging will be a valuable opportunity for conference-goers and participants to engage with belonging and OBI frameworks. By sharing, learning, and exchanging ideas and practices, we hope to create a space where everyone feels included. The exhibit has been co-created with insights and lessons learned from belonging practitioners worldwide, and we are excited to share it with you. Exhibit Designers: Rachelle Galloway-Popotas, Ashley Gallegos, Cecilie Surasky and Christian M Ivey.
  • Altarscapes, with Veronica RamirezVeronica will be leading a public altar making in the Commons. Earth Altarscapes (formerly Earth Peace Mandala Project) brings to life Veronica’s passions for the natural world, art, and the sacred while also celebrating community. Veronica’s curious nature inspires her toward her deep love of the natural world, human connection, and the transformative healing that comes from the co-creative spirit we each possess.
  • Social Justice Poster Art Making, with Center for Cultural Power and Favianna RodriguezCo-create a culture of belonging with the Center for Cultural Power! Favianna Rodriguez and staff from Center for Cultural Power are hosting a vibrant hands-on poster making space for conference-goers to create visual representations of belonging using paper cut-outs, illustrations, symbols, and words designed by CCP in collaboration with OBI. Sessions will take place all three days of the conference, 12:30-2 pm.
  • Martin Aranaydo, TDK Crew - Artist Martin Aranaydo and members of legendary Bay Area TDK Crew are creating custom art for O&B 2024, which will be displayed throughout the conference campus, and available on limited edition conference merch at our merchandise station. Martin has made art in Oakland, San Francisco, and many cities for a lifetime and has written graffiti for 20 years as a protégé of the late Mike “Dream” Francisco. A descendant of Muskokee, Tohono Oodham, Akimel O'odham, and Filipino dissidents, Marty’s work can be seen on Bay Area walls, in protests and direct actions across the US and Canada. 
  • Francisco “Amend” Sanchez, TDK Crew - Amend is a multi-disciplinary self-taught artist from Oakland California and works predominantly with the aerosol medium. Amend’s style is influenced by traditional Mexican Muralism, yet maintains the grit and raw nature of his Urban Graffiti Roots. Amend has been part of the Graffiti Art scene for over 20 years and has been painting for 18 years and continues to play an active roll in the aerosol movement in the Bay Area.
  • Vanessa "AGANA" Solari Espinoza, TDK Crew - Known to the world as AGANA, (American, b.1982) Vanessa Solari Espinoza is an internationally acclaimed multi-dimensional contemporary artist converging traditional large scale murals and contemporary street art. Rooted in her Latinx identity of Venezuelan descent, hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, Agana paints prolific imagery as calls to action encompassing black liberation, women's empowerment, environmental and racial justice issues. Impactful and intentional to the specific locations they are placed in, Agana’s artistry adds color and light to what would be blight.
  • Eric Liang Norberg, TDK Crew - Eric is a visual artist/painter/muralist that also works with three-dimensional installations and ceramic tile applications. He is also an arts educator at the high school level and assist young people to harness and utilize their radical imaginations through the visual arts/photography expression and community involvement. His art is one of the many ways that he highlights cultural awareness, the voice of the marginalized, community self-determination, and a calling for recognition of our ancestors’ resilience. A practicing Hip Hop aerosol stylewriter/artist & calligrapher for over 40 years, he's led and collaborated with numerous community murals, exhibitions, multi-faceted arts performances, and street actions throughout the SF Bay Area and internationally.

Friday, April 26

  • Duniya Dance & Drum -Joti Singh accompanied by drummer Bongo Sidibe will explore cultural confluences of joy and justice in this dance workshop integrating Bhangra from Punjab and dance and music from Guinea, West Africa. Movers of all levels are welcome.
    Location: The Commons Community Stage - gather at 1:15 pm for a half-hour of movement and joy.
  • Salsa Rueda w/ Richard Aviles -  Salsa Rueda is a traditional Cuban form of Salsa that is danced in a circle and in community. In addition to having fun, this session invites us to be reflective and be conscious of the ways we show up in circles and for each other both in movement and in the Movement.  Movers of all levels are welcome.
    Location: The Commons Community Stage, gather around the stage at 5:15 for a half hour of salsa and joy. 

Saturday, April 27

  • Youth Speaks Poets with Michelle "Mush" LeeA group of talented Youth Speaks poetswill perform their original poetry with belonging at the center, hosted by Michelle "Mush" Lee, Executive Director of Youth Speaks. 
    Location: The Community Stage in the Commons. Gather at 12:45 pm to hear new work from these incredible artists. 

In addition the Commons features:

  • The Belonging Book Table, hosted by Pegasus Books
  • The Commons Community Stage
  • OBI Info Booth