Artists and Gardeners Present Signature Event in Beautiful, Multi-Acre Gardens on the Lake. Free Admission

“Art and Music in the Gardens” brings together Oakland’s vibrant art and gardening communities in a signature event hosted in the multi-acre Gardens at Lake Merritt and  Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue, Avenue, June 4-5, 10am-6pm.

More than 50 artists will be featured, showing and selling their art in the Garden Center and the Gardens. Event Honorary Chair and noted muralist Dan Fontes will lead a giant butterfly painting event in the Gardens.

Musical ensembles, playing acoustically under the redwood trees, will delight families with classical, jazz, folk, blues, and ancient Japanese flute.

A Poetry Festival will include an afternoon series of Oakland poets reading under the old oak tree; an all day Zine exchange booth (bring one — take one home) and a morning ekphrasia (writing about the art) open to all wishing to participate.

Also taking place throughout the weekend in the Gardens’ 11 horticultural collections (several are nationally renowned) will be gardening talks, exhibits and demonstrations: Alameda County Master Gardener’s in the Edible Garden, pruning demonstrations in the Japanese Gardens, along with Bonsai trimming and landscape design tips for the East Bay. The Gardens at Lake Merritt were recently named a Top Five California Public Garden by AAA’s “via Magazine.”

Delicious picnic fare will be available from Chef Robert Dorsey III of Blue Oak at the Oakland Museum of California.

Free to the public, the two-day event is being produced by the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt (FGLM), Arts and Creative Expression (ACE) and the City of Oakland. 

Art and Music in the Gardens (a partial list of family activities)

  • Art Show & Sale, featuring fifty-plus artists from the East Bay’s vibrant art community
  • Musical Performances –Classical, Jazz, Mississippi Blues, Japanese Flute
  • Poetry Festival – All Day Readings under the Oak Tree
  • Giant Butterfly Painting lead by noted muralist and Honorary Event Chair, Dan Fontes
  • Aesthetic Pruning Techniques: Pine, Maple and Bonsai Trimming Demonstrations
  • Landscape Design Talks in the Mediterranean Garden, Sensory and Japanese Gardens
  • Food offerings by Chef Robert Dorsey III, operator Blue Oak at the Oakland Museum of California
  • Plant Sales
  • Children’s Activities in Association with the Junior Center for Art and Science
  • Garden, Flower Society and Sustainable Gardening Exhibits
  • Alameda County Master Gardener gardening advice in the Trial Gardens. Don’t miss the worm dig.
  • Plant doctor Consultations
  • Eleven themed horticultural collections, many of them unique and world-class.

“This event celebrates and builds awareness of these special gardens in Oakland, which are a hidden jewel in the middle of the city,” said Bruce Cobbledick, President of the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt. “The Gardens are a magnificent venue for combining the love and appreciation of art and nature – for beauty, for satisfaction, and for health,” added Jerry Miller, Chair of this year’s event.

Through sponsorships, contributions, a silent auction, presenter fees, and food and art sales, the event will raise funds for the renewal and preservation this invaluable Oakland community asset.

About the Lakeside Garden Center and the Gardens at Lake Merritt

Known as the “green heart of Oakland,” the Garden Center and Gardens at Lake Merritt originated in 1957. Seven acres of themed gardens include: the Bonsai, Edible, Japanese, Mediterranean, Palmetum, Rhododendron, Sensory, Succulent, Torii Gate and Vireya Display Gardens.  Plans are underway for a butterfly house, featuring many endangered California butterfly species.   Address: 666 Bellevue, off Grand Avenue in Lakeside Park.

About Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt (FGLM)

Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt is a volunteer group that helps oversee the strategic development of a visionary, broad-scale garden plan and fosters hand-in-the-dirt community involvement.  Its objectives are to increase awareness of this Oakland jewel, raise funds and develop a city-wide volunteer force. For more information about the Gardens and “Art and Music in the Gardens” please visit

About Arts and Creative Expression (ACE)

ACE Arts works with communities and organizations to bring fundamental art skills and materials to underserved populations that may not otherwise have access to many artistic forms of expression. They team professional artists with community participants to create a body of work. Upon completion, the works are presented to the public in celebration.

The City Of Oakland

The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt appreciate and thank the City of Oakland, Oakland Parks and Recreation, Oakland Public Works Agency and community volunteers who together have transformed this outstanding community asset for all Oaklanders.

Please direct questions regarding the event to Event Chair Jerry Miller at , 510-547-8894.