From its humble beginnings as one of the first Bay Area worker-owned co-ops, to its time during the ’80s and ’90s as a punk and metal venue, to the current incarnation today, where it houses a variety of collective organizations stewarding resources for the general public, the Omni Building in Oakland, California has long been a beloved institution.
Currently it is housing the Bay Area Public School, a free university; Sudo Room, an open-to-the-public hackerspace; Counter Culture Labs, a community lab and science collective; Food Not Bombs; La Commune, a worker-owned cafe and bookstore; several small presses; a print shop; as well as a variety of other collective organizations providing artistic, scientific, technical, and learning resources.
These are just a few of the resources available to the public that are hosted or run at the Omni:
- Free classes and workshops
- A commercial kitchen
- A bike shop
- A media lab
- 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 community print studio with a letterpress and shelves full of fonts
- Free Wi-Fi for our neighbors
- Weekly film nights
- Yoga classes
- Monthly “Omni Gathers” with food, music and dancing
- A variety of spaces available where the community can gather to create, connect, ponder, learn, heal, organize, and move
Now the collectives involved in the Omni project want to raise the bar on publicly accessible open collectives by doing safety renovations and modifications, and making it fully open to the general public as the Omni Oakland Commons. They are currently raising money via Indiegogo, and if you donate today all donations are being doubled, up to $21,000. If enough donations are received there are plans to buy the building outright and turn it into a community land trust, so that the space will be available for decades to future makers, artists, citizen scientists, and learning pioneers. Check out the video below for more details, or head over to the Omni Commons to learn more!