Dance-oriented Wallace Excellence Awardees

On June 30, 2009, Kary Schulman, director of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, facilitated a discussion with dance-oriented Wallace Excellence Awardees about lessons they have learned, as well as the larger issues and themes raised in their collective work. Participants learned about efforts to reach new constituents through innovative marketing outreach techniques as part of the Wallace Foundation’s Excellence Awards Program. Individual presentations from the awardees are available for download here in PDF format:

  • Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet‘s learnings about increasing diversity, audience members, and awareness about the company.
  • Oberlin Dance Collective (ODC)‘s learnings about who is participating in ODC and the cultural and behavioral attitudes of individuals living in their target zip code, 94110.
  • World Arts West‘s learnings about expanding the programming for the SanFrancisco Ethnic Dance Festival, while still keeping houses full.
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts‘ learnings about engaging audiences through on-site and online practices, as well as the ten things arts organizations should be doing regardless of size or budget.

Cultural Connections and Serving New Audiences

On February 12, 2009, Cultural Connections hosted Serving New Audiences: Wallace Grantees Tell Their Stories at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Attendees listened to Wallace Excellence Awardees talk about the lessons and themes learned while implementing efforts to reach new audience members through participation. Individual PDFs of presentations from the awardees are available for download here:

  • Center for Asian American Media‘s learnings about audience participation and the use of social networking tools.
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum‘s learnings about expanding and deepening family participation.
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco‘s learnings about attracting new and diverse audiences.
  • San Francisco Girls Chorus‘ learnings about their audience-broadening initiatives.

Cultural Commissions – Jon Funabiki

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.

Jon Funabiki (photo JD Lasica)

Jon Funabiki, professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, considers the future of journalism and the role journalists play in the swiftly evolving field of media. Click here to download a PDF of The artist’s heart and free spirit offer a path for some journalists cut loose by chaos in the media.

Perhaps, my friend, you think it’s a stretch for me to liken my journalism friends to your artist friends. Perhaps the chaos in the media world has simply opened up opportunities that didn’t exist before. Perhaps my friends have reached an age and state of maturity in which they are compelled to focus on what is important to them, and what they want to say about it. In recent times, I’ve encountered numerous other journalists who are engaged in similar meditations. The changes in journalism have changed them. Now they may be changing journalism itself. So maybe it’s time for journalists and artists to start trading survival strategies.

– Jon Funabiki

Cultural Commissions – Margaret Jenkins

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.

In January 2010, The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative hosted Dynamic Adaptability, a day-long conference designed to explore changing technologies and demographics and to offer a fresh way of thinking about the future of the arts in the Bay Area.

To continue the conversation about how artists engage their audiences in difficult economic times, founder and artistic director of Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Margaret Jenkins, was asked to write a short paper about adaptation and artistic vision in the current economic climate.

“There’s a reference in Shakespeare’s The Tempest to a sea change – where a person’s body is transformed, or maybe replaced is a better word, with various items from the sea, a radical and apparently mystical change.  The ways in which we support our work, and the ways we reach out to audiences to inhabit and witness our efforts, have been altered.”

– Margaret Jenkins

Click here to download a PDF of Forward In A Sea Change.

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

Cultural Commissions – Oakland Museum of California

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.

One of the most exciting developments in the museum world today has been the re-installation and reopening of the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA).  On June 29, 2010, staff from the 11 Wallace Excellence Awards recipient organizations visited the museum and heard first-hand about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the revitalization of the 42 year old organization. To help capture this excitement and share it with the public, two lead staff from OMCA were commissioned to give their perspectives on the massive $62.2 million undertaking of the past few years.

  • Lori Fogarty, executive director, walks us through the exciting and groundbreaking process of the museum’s recent renovation and community engagement efforts. Click here to download a PDF of An Uneven March Across Bumpy Terrain: Gallery Reinstallation as Organizational Change.
  • Barbara Henry, chief curator of education, gives us a first hand look at the process of developing interactive exhibitions for the museum’s recent renovation. Click here to download a PDF of Art Gallery as Public Space: A Work in Progress for the 21st Century.

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

Cultural Commissions – Keith Knight

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.

Keith Knight, humor-based cartoonist and graphic novelist, draws a cartoon strip about the flight of black residents and artists from San Francisco. Click here to download a PDF of Moving B(l)ack to San Francisco.

…was born and raised in the Boston area. Weaned on a steady diet of Star Wars, hip-hop, racism and Warner Bros. cartoons, Keith started drawing comics in grade school. After graduating from college with a degree in graphic design, he drove out to San Francisco in the early ’90s. It was in the Bay Area where he developed his trademark cartooning style that has been described as a cross between Calvin & Hobbes and underground comix.

Keith Knight is part of a new generation of talented young African-American artists who infuse their work with urgency, edge, humor, satire, politics and race. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including  the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle,, Ebony, ESPN the MagazineL.A. WeeklyMAD Magazine, and  the Funny Times .

His comic musings on race have garnered accolades and stirred controversies, prompting CNN to tap him to grade America on its progress concerning issues of race.

AWARDS: Keith Knight  won the 2007 Harvey Award and the 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2010 Glyph Awards for Best Comic Strip.  At the 2010 Comic Con International, Keith was awarded the 2010Inkpot Award. The Inkpot is a special award that Comic-Con International gives to a handful of folks every year for their achievements in their respective genres. Previous recipients include Charles Schulz, Harvey Pekar, Jules Feiffer, R. Crumb, and Sergio Aragones, to name a few.

Three of his comix were the basis of an award-winning live-action short film, Jetzt Kommt Ein Karton, in Germany. His comic art has appeared in museums and galleries from San Francisco (CA) to Angoulême (France).

BOOKS: Keith’s work has been collected in 10 books so far: six collections of his multi-panel strip,the K Chronicles, two collections of his single panel (th)ink, titled Red,White, Black & Blue and Are We Feeling Safer Yet?, and one collection of his nationally syndicated, daily newspaper comic strip,The Knight Life. He also co-wrote and illustrated The Beginner’s Guide to Community-Based Art.

MUSIC: His semi-conscious hip-hop band, the Marginal Prophets, will kick your ass!! Their last disc,Bohemian Rap CD, won the California Music Award for Outstanding Rap Album, beating out rap heavyweights Paris, Aceyalone, E-40, Too-Short, and Ice Cube’s Westside Connection. Hip-hop music with a punk-rock aesthetic!!

SPEAKING GIGS: Keith Knight is available to perform his hilarious and inspirational multimedia comic strip slideshow at your campus, library, community center or church. Keith has also led many workshops and panel discussions about various issues, including Cartooning is Serious Businessand Comic Con’s Nappy Hour. For more details, contact the artist at

(note: To view the PDFs on this page, you will need Adobe Reader. Please visit the Adobe website to download the latest version for free.)

Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit

The Wallace Initiative is the major funder of this program aimed at increasing social media capacity for arts organizations, led by noted non-profit technology expert Beth Kanter. Watch this space as well as Beth’s Blog for more from the 30 organizations participating in the extended program as well as Beth and the other trainers.

On Monday, April 18, 2011 at Z Space at Theatre ArtaudTheatre Bay Area, the Wallace Foundation, Grants for the Arts, The San Francisco Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Koret Foundation will host Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit, a comprehensive training, peer learning, and coaching program designed to help Bay Area nonprofit arts organizations create an effective social media strategy and put it into practice to get results. The program objectives include:

  • Understand the basics of designing an effective social media strategy including internal adoption issues, program evolution, and integration overall program and marketing objectives
  • Provide a method to learn about and improve their strategies through thoughtful experiments
  • Help participants understand how to increase audience engagement in program development and promotion
  • Provide a methodology for participants to measure results and analyze return on investment, and providing successful organizations with implementation grants to help make the planned investment a reality

In the spirit of the Wallace Foundation’s dedication to shared insights that arts organizations can use to build and sustain participation in their programs and activities, Leveraging Social Media brings best practices from the non-profit technology sector to the Bay Area arts community.

Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit is a continuation of a program that was launched in 2010 where the same team of funders came together to support Beth Kanter, providing two face-to-face workshops for 25 Bay Area arts organizations.  That program was originated under Marc Vogl’s leadership.  Working with a small group of arts, philanthropic and social media professionals in the fall of 2009, which then included Adam Hirschfelder, Beth Kanter, James G. Leventhal, Clay Lord and Adin Miller, Marc helped formulate this learning opportunity.

As funders committed to the health of the Bay Area’s arts ecosystem we believe strongly that arts organizations ought to have sophisticated conversations about the role social media can play in advancing their missions.  We think it’s vital for arts organizations who want to engage technology to broaden and deepen their relationships with audiences, artists, students, stakeholders and community members to learn from experts and share ideas with their peers — and that’s what the LSM workshops are all about.

Marc Vogl, Program Officer, Performing Arts Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Kanter started her first peer-to-peer learning forum for local arts organizations in the spring of 2010 inspired by The Lab Theater, a program to try out contemporary or experimental works before you bring them to the main stage and part peer learning program.

To see more from that program, see how Theatre Bay Area live blogged the event on their old blog space here.

A few spots are left for the upcoming, one-day Master Class in Social Media conducted by Kanter (author of The Networked Nonprofit), and other recognized social media experts: Geoff Livingston and Devon Smith (author of the blog 24 Useable Hours).  You can register here.  The workshop will also be documented in various ways.  Check back here for updates and follow the tweets through the Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative on Twitter at @WALLArtsSF or using by searching the hashtag #participarts.

The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative

Wallace Fund grantees on Oakland Museum of California site visit, being welcomed by Museum Director Lori Fogarty

This blogsite for The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative has been formed in response to the immediate need for a collective and collaborative “home” on-line for the programs funded under the partnership developed between The Wallace Foundation Funds, The San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA).

This “innovative, far-reaching, multi-year model of arts funding designed to foster growth in public attendance and participation in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area” has been a tremendous boost at every level of the San Francisco arts and cultural community of institutions, their professionals and the communities we serve.  As the Wallace Foundation’s $7.7 million grant made to Bay Area arts in 2007 is nearing the end of its four-year cycle, the goal is to create a central repository for the teachable assets and a spring board for promotions for final year’s activities.

The idea is to create and make available through common avenues, the work done by a significant cohort of institutions and individuals.

The Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative blogsite resources will mirror those some of those commissioned art works and other assets posted on The San Francisco Foundation website.  It will also help to promote the papers and other findings from the various seminars, workshops and technical assistance programs supporting through this important philanthropic partnership.  The primary purpose will be to an archive and make available previous work in a way that us central, accessible and in digital form.


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.