The Junior Center of Art and Science encourages children’s active wonder and creative responses through artistic and scientific exploration of their natural environment. The Junior Center’s programs integrate art and science to promote children’s fresh, hands-on and personalized interaction with their natural world. The Junior Center contributes to the development of citizens who value nature and appreciate the importance of art and science in our community.
After World War II, members of the Junior League sought new ways to serve the community. An advisory committee of fifty-two educators, artists, government officials and community leaders recommended working with children in creative fields to provide new interests, encourage talent, and foster understanding in a climate of common interests. Inspired by this idea, the Junior League invited the Art League of the East Bay and the East Bay Children’s Theater to join them in exploring the concept of establishing a new center for children.
In 1949, these three groups began an extensive study to determine the needs and goals of a “Junior Center”. The Oakland Recreation Department became interested in the project and invited the groups to join in the establishment of a “Junior Center” in Mosswood Park, creating a unique alignment of public and private agencies. After a five year fundraising campaign, the City’s allocated $70,000 was matched by the group. Following construction of the new facility the Junior Center of Art opened to the public in May of 1954. Inspired by the recent pioneering of space, the “Center” added Science to its name by the end of the decade.
In 1992, at the invitation of the Mayor, the Junior Center relocated to Lakeside Park – providing a wealth of new art and science resources.
In October 2019, the Junior Center will celebrate 65 years of service to Oakland and the greater community. If you would like to support our expanding efforts, please consider donating or becoming a member of the Junior Center of Art and Science.