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.
- 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.
- March – June 2010 – Responding to art organizations’ need for clear and effective training in social media, Leveraging Social Media:
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
City Lights Theater Company
Contemporary Jewish Museum
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
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:
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