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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Beyond Dynamic Adaptability Video

Weren’t able to make it to the wildly popular Beyond Dynamic Adaptability last year? Don’t worry! Jason Jakaitis (Manager of The Factory at Bay Area Video Coalition) put together this video that walks through the day-long conference that happened October 24, 2011.

Beyond Dynamic Adaptability from WallArtsSF on Vimeo.

Year Three 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.

Running on the inertia that the project had developed within its first two years, The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative reached new heights in its third year. With the huge success of January’s Beyond Dynamic Adaptability, events and workshops were booking up almost faster than they could be disseminated. This would also be the year, however, with major shifts in leadership in the Initiative. Marcy Hinand Cady of Helicon Collaborative resigned from her position as initiative coordinator to be replaced by independent consultant Rebecca Novick. Additionally, John Killacky, arts and culture program officer at TSFF, left the Foundation and the Bay Area in June. Together, Kary Schulman, director of GFTA, and Rebecca stepped up to take the reins until a permanent program officer was found to fill John’s role.

  • January 28, 2010 – With almost 1,000 attendees and a line up of local and national thinkers from the arts, neuroscience, business, media, and philanthropy, the Dynamic Adaptability conference was designed to explore a myriad of issues pertaining to the arts. The day was filled with deep conversations about how the recession and technology were effecting arts and journalism and what models artists employ to ensure their livelihood (Click here to download a PDF of the speaker bios, click hereto download a PDF of the agenda).
    • Jonah Lehrer, neuroscientist and author of How We Decide and Proust was a Neuroscientist, enthralled the audience with artistic theories that only recently have gained scientific notoriety. Sitting down with Holly Sidford (Helicon Collaborative), he discussed what new research about creativity and the brain suggest for the practices of cultural nonprofits and how understanding the science behind decision-making can help us to better engage audiences. The fact that Lehrer’s book, Proust was a Neuroscientist, was sold out in bookstores across San Francisco and the Bay Area indicated the eagerness of attendees to learn more about the topic.

    Cora Mirikitani discussing artist connectivity with Jaime Cortez, Margaret Jenkins, and Judilee Reed.

    • Judilee Reed, Executive Director of Leveraging Investments in Creativity, presented findings from a study on Bay Area artists and the economic recession (Click here to download a PDF of the survey findings, click hereto download a PDF of Judilee’s speech). Judilee then engaged in a conversation about how artists can strengthen their connections with audiences, communites, and support systems with artists Jaime Cortez and Margaret Jenkins led by Center for Cultural Innovation’s President and CEO, Cora Mirikitani. Both Jaime and Margaret were commissioned to produce essays based on this conversation (Click here to read Jaime’s commission, click here to read Margaret’s commission).
    • Rebecca Ratzkin (WolfBrown) and Marcy Hinand Cady (Helicon Collaborative) presented It’s Not About You…It’s About Them, A Research Report: What Motivates Bay Area Donors to Give to the Arts and Artists based on findings from the Fund For Artists Matching Commissions programs at The San Francisco Foundation and the East Bay Community Foundation. The study details individual giving trends to small- and mid-sized arts organizations and artists as compared to larger institutions and donors to major foundations (Click here to download a PDF of the preliminary research highlights, click here to download a PDF of the report).
    • Diane Sanchez, Director of Grantmaking & Donor Services at the East Bay Community Foundation, moderated a discussion on innovative approaches to engaging communities, audiences, and donors with Perry Chen (KickStarter), James Rucker (Color of Change) and artist Philip Huang. Philip stole the show when, instead of describing how he raised funds for his Matching Commission, he enlisted the audience’s (and artist Michelle Tea‘s) help in fundraising for a new proposed project, Witness the Fitness (video below)

    • Jon Funabiki, professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, led a conversation with Laura Sydell (NPR) and Hugo Morales (Radio Bilingüe) about the implications of demographic and technological changes on arts and cultural organizations and how organizations are adapting to the evolving environment.
  • February 18, 2010 – The arts community joined San Francisco Giants President Patrick J. Gallagher, Kaiser Permanente Executive Vice President Bernard J. Tyson, and San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau Arts & Culture Marketing Director Lisa Hasenbalg for Not (Just) Another Arts Marketing Workshopat The San Francisco Foundation and online through a webinar. Attendees heard a variety of new ideas and learned what the worlds of sports, healthcare, and toursim marketing can offer to the arts.
    • Click here to download a PDF version of Lisa Hasenbalg’s presentation about tourism marketing.
    • Click here to download a PDF version of Bernard J. Tyson’s presentation about health marketing.
  • March – June 2010 – Responding to art organizations’ need for clear and effective training in social media, Leveraging Social Media:

    Leveraging Social Media attendees

    Understanding the Strategy and Putting it into Practice gave a select group of twenty-five Bay Area arts organizations the opportunity to learn directly from Beth Kanter, blogger, social media guru, and co-auther of The Networked Nonprofit. Beth taught participants how to develop effective social media strategies and guided them to develop specific “listening and engaging” experiments to learn how to harness social media first-hand. The program was offered free of charge thanks to the support of The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and was organized by Theatre Bay Area. Participating organizations attended two full day workshops on April 2, and June 11, 2011 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum as well as two interim webinars to check in with Beth about their social media projects. These organizations included:

    1stACT Silicon Valley
    42nd Street Moon
    Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences
    AXIS Dance Company
    Chhandam Chitresh Das Dance Company
    Cinnabar Theatre
    City Lights Theater Company
    Contemporary Jewish Museum
    Frameline
    Headlands Center for the Arts
    Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
    Joe Goode Performance Group
    La Peña Cultural Center
    Marin Theatre Company
    Opera San Jose
    Osher Marin Jewish Community Center
    San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
    San Francisco Girls Chorus
    San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
    San Francisco Performances
    San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
    SFJAZZ
    Shotgun Players
    Youth Movement Records
    Z Space Studio

  • May 16, 2010 – Musicplus: Skill Building for Musicianswas a free seminar held at the James Irvine Conference Center in Oakland, CA that gave musicians and composers a chance to sharpen skills and network with each other. Session topics included emerging technologies to promote and distribute work, hybrid business models and the new economy, new licensing and revenue generation opportunities, regional funding and arts resources, and the basics of home recording. In addition to The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative partners TSFF and GFTA, the collaborative event was made possible by the East Bay Community Foundation, Future of Music Coalition, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), and The James Irvine Foundation. For more information and to watch archived webcasts of sessions, please click here.
  • June 17, 2010 – What is a Person? was held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (in conjunction with their LINK program) and featured internet pioneer Jaron Lanier, author of and inventor of the term “virtual reality.” In the workshop, he discussed the implications of new web technologies on education, community, and artistic expression in the 21st century. Please click here to read more and to watch video documentation of Jaron’s lecture.
  • November 12 – 15, 2010 – Twenty five individuals from Bay Area arts organizations were selected to receive scholarships to attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in San Jose. This annual conference draws nearly 1,000 of the country’s arts marketing and fundraising professionals and covers a wide-range of marketing topics, including technology, revenue generation, and audience engagement. Featured speakers at the 2010 conference included:
    • Chip Conley, Author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow; Founder and CEO, Joie de Vivre
    • Chip Heath, Co-Author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
    • Susan Medak, Managing Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

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Cultural Commissions – Colman Domingo

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.

Tony-nominated actor, writer, and director Colman Domingo explores the issues of emigration amongst  San Francisco’s ever-shrinking African American acting community. In his self-proclaimed “META-THEATRICAL,” absurdist short script, The Big Idea, he imagines an uprising of the last of the African American Acting Community of San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Don’t you ever want to be a part of a community that has more folks that look like you? You are intrinsically understood. I couldn’t afford to live here anymore. I was losing. I was becoming so neutral. Theater was losing its color.

Click here to download a PDF of The Big Idea.

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Cultural Commissions – Lily Khazzari

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.

Traditional arts (sometimes referred to as ‘folk arts’) encompass a myriad of performing and visual art traditions passed down through generations of peoples throughout the world. Many of these art forms have been threatened, silenced, or neglected throughout history; sometimes falling into oblivion because of genocide or suppression. In this age of instantaneous media and vast demographic shifts, how can traditional arts and artists continue to grow their audiences and ensure a future for their art forms?

Lily Kharrasi, dance ethnologist and freelance writer, has spent her life steeped in traditional arts. She is currently the Living Cultures Grants Program Manager at the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), and has worked with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, in arts education, and in the refugee resettlement field. In her short essay, A Banana Peel is Good for Headaches, Lily explores the resiliency of traditional arts communities.

…Traditional arts are often hidden from the larger public view, not so much because they don’t want to share practices with outsiders, but because the driving force behind such arts is internal to the communities that practice them…

Please click here to download a PDF of A Banana Peel is Good for Headaches.


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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