Wrapping up the Wallace Initiative

After four great years, we’re wrapping up the Bay Area Wallace Initiative.  We hope you’ll continue to find the resources collected on this blog valuable.  If you’re new here, a good place to start is the overviews of each year of the initiative:

You can also search the different categories to find information on our public workshops, research by Alan Brown and others, artist commissions and much more.

We’d like to leave with you with these thoughts  from Kary Schulman of Grants for the Arts, one of the lead partners in this project (adapted from her remarks at the Beyond Dynamic Adaptability conference) :

In this remarkable four year initiative over $6M went to 11 San Francisco organizations who made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts. And almost $1.5M came to The San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts to help many more organizations increase attendance and deepen public engagement.

When we started this program almost exactly 4 years ago: late October 2007, there were organizations which had no website, twitter was what birds did, “bloggers” were found late at night in their pajamas in their parents basements, Facebook had been available to the public for less than a year, and was still seen as a college thing,

“Audience development” was the term we all used when what we really meant was no more than “butts in seats” and the most prominent “audience engagement” technique was the after-show audience talk back. Which sent most audience members fleeing into the night.

And oh, incidentally, California had not yet officially been declared “majority minority”—that is a state where no racial, ethnic or cultural group had a majority of the population.

And also almost exactly, four years ago (December 2007 according to the National Bureau of Economic Research) the recession officially began.

But if the economy supplied the lemons, the Wallace Foundation supplied the sugar for our lemonade:

With a focus on new communication technologies and techniques, and on the changed demographics of the Bay Area, over the last four years The Bay Area Wallace grant:

  1. Awarded $50,000 in commissions to over 40 artists
  1. With our partner Theatre Bay Area, jumpstarted and subsidized the Big List, now the largest audience data base in the US.
  1. Developed a comprehensive Bay Area Arts guide calendar apps for iphone and android
  1. Subsidized two major area-wide conferences: Dynamic Adaptability in January 2010, and Beyond Dynamic Adaptability in October 2011.
  1. Created dozens of workshops, panels and hands on trainings on all aspects of engaging audiences reaching hundreds of organizations and thousands of participants
  1. Subsidized dozens of arts workers to attend conferences and professional development activities
  1. And most importantly, regranted almost half a million dollars directly to dozens of organizations through the NAMP boot camp and Leveraging Social Media projects.

The Wallace initiative was about giving you, the arts community, ideas and tools for engaging and entertaining your audiences and inviting them into fuller participation in your work.  The Bay Area arts community is now far better positioned to reach more people, engage them more deeply, and to share these strategies with others, despite the slings and arrows of outrageous recession, than we were in 2007.  We thank Daniel Windham and everyone at the Wallace Foundation for this investment in our community.

Cultural Commissions – John Santos

The Wallace Initiative commissioned working papers/artistic responses from Bay Area artists about deepening, expanding, and diversifying cultural participation, hoping to generate new ideas and spark conversations between regional artists and arts organizations.

John Santos, composer, bandleader, educator, and recipeint of The San Francisco Foundation‘s 2011 In the spirit of the Helen Crocker Russell Award, writes on what role evolving technology plays in how music is created and disseminated, as well as the implications on the art form as a whole in his essay Music and Technology.

By nature the computer is an evolving technology, with new programs and software emerging every day for unlimited uses including storing data, composing and creating written scores, recording, editing, and performing … Someone with a poor sense of time or tuning can record and electronically adjust the time and tuning to sound 100% accurate! Is this person a professional musician?

As a traditional musician John is wary but excited by these new advances in music, especially in a time where arts are receiving less funding. To continue exploring these ideas, click here to download a PDF of Music and Technology.

To view this PDF, you will need Adobe Reader. Please visit the Adobe website to download the latest version for free.


Cultural Commissions – Eugenie Chan

The Wallace Initiative commissioned working papers/artistic responses from Bay Area artists about deepening, expanding, and diversifying cultural participation, hoping to generate new ideas and spark conversations between regional artists and arts organizations.

Eugenie Chan, 5th generation Chinese-American playwright, investigates questions of beauty, art, and cultural legacy by asking a cross-section of Chinese-Americans for their personal perspectives. Eugenie conducted a series of interviews with relatives, friends, friends of relatives, local business people, and neighbors (a group making up six generataions of Chinese living in America) to get her answers.

Working with the belief that people’s desires are intrinsically related to their history, I created a series of questions about people’s lives in their home countries and their lives here, tailoring them based on what generation of Chinese in America they were.

As a Chinese, what do you think is beautiful? What is the best thing an artist can create for you? Your children? What kind
of cultural legacy can we make that would be meaningful?

The result is a 34 page play that details the diversity of perspectives found within this cross-section of the Bay Area community. The play had its first reading at Self Help for the Elderly in San Francisco on March 18, 2009 with actors Yoonie Cho, Leon Goertzen, Lisa Kang, Arthur Keng, Wayne Lee, Garth Petal, Michelle Talgarow, Annie Y. Wang, Pearl Wong, and directed was by the playwright.

Click here to download a PDF of the script of Circus (or Mah-heih!), an Interview-based Play.

To view this PDF, you will need Adobe Reader. Please visit the Adobe website to download the latest version for free.

Year Four in Review

In 2008, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) embarked on a four-year funding partnership to encourage systemic and sustainable structural change in the relationships of Bay Area arts organizations to their audiences, supported by the Wallace Foundation.

In its final planned year of activity, The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative offered $187,500 for organizations to continue to implement social media experimentations, commissioned a 78 page report detailing best practices of audience engagement, and offered public workshops and community events. Kary Schulman, director of GFTA, and coordinator Rebecca Novick were also joined by TSFF’s new arts and culture program officer, Tere Romo.

  • Leveraging Social Media (LSM)– Building on the lessons learned in the pilot year of this program, initiative coordinators once again partnered with Theatre Bay Area and Beth Kanter to present a Master Class and workshops to teach Bay Area arts organizations about using social media. This time around, the initiative was also able to offer $187,500 in implementation funds to workshop attendees.
    • April 18, 2011 – Leveraging Social Media Master Class with Beth Kanter, Geoff Livingston, and Devon Smith was a one-day class covered strategies and tactics for arts organizations wishing to learn more about best practices for social media. Click here to read more about the Master Class.
    • April – June, 2011 – Leveraging Social Media Workshop Series was an in-depth, two track training opportunity with Beth Kanter for organizations new to social media (Track I) and organizations who had previously attended the NAMP Boot Camp, last year’s LSM workshops, or who exhibited mastery of the basics of social media (Track II). 95 organizations applied to partake in the workshop and 31 organizations were accepted. Beth’s blog captured certain aspects of the workshop including articulating objectives, benchmarking, and a case study of AXIS Dance’s use of Facebook ads.
      • 20 organizations were accepted into Track I including ABADA-Capoeira San Francisco, Abhinaya Dance Company, Alternative Theater Ensemble, API Cultural Center, Inc. (Oakland Asian Cultural Center), Black Rock Arts Foundation, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, Crowded Fire Theater Company, Cultural Odyssey, Earplay, Katahdin Foundation, Kearny Street Workshop, Meridian Gallery, Playwrights Foundation, Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco Architectural Heritage, San Francisco Early Music Society San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, San Francisco International Arts Festival, Streetside Stories, and Yerba Buena Arts & Events
      • 11 organizations were accepted into Track II including AXIS Dance Company, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Creativity Explored, Joe Goode Performance Group, Kala Art Institute, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus San Francisco Jewish Film Festival,SOMArtsCulturalCenter, Stern Grove Festival, Theatre Bay Area, and World Arts West
    • 31 organizations were given grants to continue experimentations with social media. The grant opportunity was also opened to organizations participating in last year’s LSM activities.
      • 20 organizations received $2,500 grants including 1stACT Silicon Valley, Abada Capoeira San Francisco Brazilian Cultural Center, Alternative Theater Ensemble, API Cultural Center, Inc. (Oakland Asian Cultural Center), Black Rock Arts Foundation, Chhandam Chitresh Das Dance Company, City Lights Theater Company, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Earplay, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Kearny Street Workshop, La Peña Cultural Center, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, Playwrights Foundation, Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco Architectural Heritage, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Stagebridge, Streetside Stories, and Yerba Buena Arts & Events
      • 11 organizations received grants of $10,000 (with an additional value of $2,500 in social media consultant time) including AXIS Dance Company, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Creativity Explored, Joe Goode Performance Group, Kala Art Institute, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus San Francisco Jewish Film Festival,SOMArtsCulturalCenter, Stern Grove Festival, Theatre Bay Area, and World Arts West
  • May 17, 2011 – In addition to creating the Making Sense of Audience Engagement report, WolfBrown (an internationally-renowned research firm) also agreed to host The Art of Interviewing, a half-day workshop designed to build interviewing skills amongst arts administrators in the Bay Area. This workshop, hosted by Alan Brownand held at theWarMemorialVeteransBuilding, reviewed protocol for conducting different types of interviews with constituents of arts organizations and offered participants the opportunity to put these skills to the test on each other.
    • Click here to download a PDF of the handout from the workshop.
    • Click here to download a PDF of the presentation from the workshop.
  • June 11, 2011 – Adapting the Community Sing Model for Your Community was developed in collaboration with Chorus America as part of their 2011 conference held June 8 – 11, 2011 in San Francisco.  This 75-minute workshop, held at the International High School Gymnasium, immediately followed the free event Community Sing with Chanticleer, in which audience members were taught to sing with the Chanticleer ensemble and learned how to produce shimmering harmonies. Building on burgeoning interest in participatory cultural experiences, this workshop offered arts professionals the opportunity to learn how to replicate the Community Singmodel for their own constituencies. Artists and Carnegie Hall educators discussed the mechanics of presentation and shared “how-to” tips for arts organizations interested in developing similar programs. Presenters included:
    • Thomas Cabaniss, host of Community Sing; composer; arts education consultant
    • Matthew Oltman, music director, Chanticleer
    • Sarah Johnson, director, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
    • Elizabeth Snodgrass, manager, Community Programs, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute
  • October 24, 2011 – Beyond Dynamic Adaptability built upon the success of Dynamic Adaptability (full information available in the Year 3 overview) and experimented with formats for engaging the arts community on a myriad of topics facing individual artists and arts organizations. Unlike previous events under the initiative, Beyond Dynamic Adaptability incorporated artistic performance and interactive experiences into the conference format. To read posts related to Beyond Dynamic Adaptability, click here.

Cultural Commissions – Michael Santoro

The Wallace Initiative commissioned working papers/artistic responses from Bay Area artists about deepening, expanding, and diversifying cultural participation, hoping to generate new ideas and spark conversations between regional artists and arts organizations.

Michael Santoro, world renowned business ethics teacher, scholar, consultant, and Founder and Artistic Director of the San Francisco World Music Festival, creates BEHIND THE CURTAIN: The Challenges that Face the Stability (and Sanity) of Bay Area Traditional Musicians, a short video on how issues of political oppression, human rights violations, social welfare issues, and economic instability effect the sustainability of traditional music from the perspective of a Bay Area musician’s grandchild.

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the amount of international, traditional music being presented, produced, and performed in the Bay Area. In contrast to this trend, however, there are increasing numbers of master artists unable to sustain their traditions, and in many cases, their lives. In the case of many immigrant musicians of the Bay Area, the development of these voids are heavily influenced by political oppression, human rights violations, social welfare issues, and economic instability. This video essay takes a look into these circumstances from the perspective of a Bay Area musicians grandchild.

Watch BEHIND THE CURTAIN: The Challenges that Face the Stability (and Sanity) of Bay Area Traditional Musicians below or click here to view it directly on YouTube.

Cultural Commissions – Joaquín Alvarado

The Wallace Initiative commissioned working papers/artistic responses from Bay Area artists about deepening, expanding, and diversifying cultural participation, hoping to generate new ideas and spark conversations between regional artists and arts organizations.

Joaquín Alvarado, artist, arts community activist, and Senior Vice President for Innovation and Diversity at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, considers the overall role of technology and shifting demographics as they relates to community and community-based arts organizations in his essay, Economies of Representation.

The collision of technology and demographics will not result in new combinations we are unable to anticipate, it will result
in new particles and forces we have yet to imagine.

Read about his theories and his 10 simple rules that artists and organizations can follow to enable complex and evolutionary strategies and revolutionary discoveries. Click here to download a PDF of Economies of Representation.

To view this PDF, you will need Adobe Reader. Please visit the Adobe website to download the latest version for free.

Initiative Participants Tell Their Stories

What impact has The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative had on Bay Area arts organizations?

Local filmmakers Lyssa Rome and Paul Lancour investigate how direct Wallace Excellence Awards recipients and organizations taking part in various workshop series and regranting opportunities offered through The San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund have changed as a result of the initiative.

In this 11 minute video we hear from AXIS Dance CompanyCenter for Asian American MediaContemporary Jewish Museum, and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus about how they are exploring cultural participation and the impact The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative has had on their organizations.

Wallace Cultural Participation Initiative from WallArtsSF on Vimeo.


ABOUT THE INITIATIVE

In 2008, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) embarked on a four-year funding partnership to encourage systemic and sustainable structural change in the relationships of Bay Area arts organizations to their audiences, supported by the Wallace Foundation. Community offerings during the grant period (2008-2011) included seminars, workshops, large public convenings, implementation grants, development of a regional shared mailing list, and expansion of the SFArts.org website.

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