Cultural Commissions – Pia Moriarty, Ph.D.

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.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau information, over half a million (617,300)  “strangers” arrived in the five-county Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo) between 1990 and 2006.  Pia Moriarty, Ph.D., anthropologist and composer, looks at the artistic practices these “strangers” bring to the Bay Area and compares them to the commercial/consumer model that currently dominates arts organizations. What can arts organizations learn from the participatory arts model?

Click here to download a PDF of Participatory Arts: The Stranger Brings a Gift.

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


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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 website.




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