2020 Online Lectures

OHA's lecture series has moved online and we are partnering with the Oakland History Center and others to bring you well researched and beautifully illustrated programs. Past recordings are available below. Be sure to sign up for our email list to get notified of opportunities to attend future events live.

Learn how women's organizations have led the way in advancing Oakland's cultural and philanthropic life. Presenter Kathleen DiGiovanni will celebrate them with a talk on these clubs, including the venerable Ebell Society, neighborhood women's clubs like Rockridge and Fruitvale, the Fanny Jackson Coppin Club, and the Linden Street YWCA.

Kathleen DiGiovanni is a long-time OHA walking tour leader and a regular contributor to the OHA News. A librarian at the Oakland Public Library, Kathleen has logged thousands of hours working in the Oakland History Center, promoting and guiding exploration of Oakland's history through the library's rich resources. She thinks it's the best job in the world.


In the 1920s the itinerant Swedish watercolorist Gunnar Widforss spent time in the National Parks, producing paintings that convey a light-filled intimacy, marking him as one of the most important watercolorists of the West.

On the California coast he painted the towering redwoods and sequoias, so unlike the trees of his native land. Widforss ended up in Oakland, drawn to an artist community living in rambling cottages known as "the Arks" clustered near the Fruitvale Bridge in the estuary. His paintings of the Arks captured their stark and stunning beauty and are among his most arresting works. While the Arks have disappeared along with the Cryer Boathouse, Widforss' Arks paintings remain, calling us back to another time our city's history.

Lecturer: Alan Petersen, Curator of Fine Arts at the Museum of Northern Arizona, has curated exhibitions of work by many notable artists, and also teaches art history and painting in Flagstaff, AZ. He recently published a catalogue raisonné of works by Gunnar Widforss and continues work on a monograph on Widforss’ life and art.