Archive for the 'Public Events' Category

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.

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.

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.

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
    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
    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

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

Art Bar – The Third Hour Shakes

TAKE this Dance. SHAKE this Song.

That is what my co-curator Eboni Senai Hawkins has titled the third hour of The Art Bar, our “get-a-way where you can network, soapbox, entertain, be entertained, inform, initiate, and imbibe” at the Beyond Dynamic Adaptability conference, next Monday, October 24, 2011.

I am going to get out of the way and let the performers speak. First Eboni’s poetic description of what The Art Bar will morph into between 1:30-2:30pm:

We Have Questions, You Have Answers
Push to change the way your brain comprehends performance.
Six movement artists use the full arsenal of their skills to connect, rebel, skirt around, confront, and bear witness.
You will be asked how you feel and then asked to shout, sing, and dance it.
You will be asked to follow and to lead.
Step outside your head.
Ponder your feet, your hands, your solar plexus.
BE ready so you don’t have to get ready.
Accept Eboni Senai as she prepares the path with a question and a palatable offering.
Trust Yeni Lucero as she intuits your habitual gestures and flips them on end.
Rely on Nicole Klaymoon to inspire play in your limbs and activate your imagination.
Act out with Michael Velez as he invites you to a game and unravels your sense of what you know to be true.
Make your piece/peace with Brian Gibbs as he captures your moving image and dances with it, without you.
Respond to Anna Martine as she cooks up your thoughts and gives them rhythm.

Anna Martine will encourage participants to examine the difference between what they do, what their job is, and how that makes them feel. After collecting that input she will compile them into a call and response song that engages participants.

Yeni Lucero-Rivera will experiment with words and play with the concept of “Simon says.” Participants will explore their own psyche and mirror their own gestures and possible judgments. The experience will capture the emotion that comes with movement.

Art Bar band musicians: John Calloway, Karamo Susso, Ruthie Price, Michael Shiono, and Todd Brown will interact with the dancers via their music. You will able to interact with your body.

To find out if there is still space for you at this one-of-a-kind gathering go to Beyond Dynamic Adaptability.

The State of the Art Bar

Normally the mixing (or networking) over song, dance, chatter, and drinks, happens after a hard day of conferencing. At Beyond Dynamic Adaptability the mixing will be integral to the experience and begins early at the Art Bar.

The Art Bar follows the Plenary and runs concurrently with the breakout sessions. In fact you might describe it as a session where you could actually break dance or break into song on the open mic “stage.” How do you participate in the conference through interaction with art? Is it possible to address the issues of the day via movement or a poem? Think of it as a get-a-way within the conference where you can network, soapbox, entertain, be entertained, inform, initiate, and imbibe. Yes the “Bar” in “Art Bar” is literal. So bring cash.
Throughout the day we will combine a little bit of structure with a little bit of spontaneity. The 11:30-12:30 “set” looks like this:
  • The Art Bar Band: Todd Brown on guitar, Michael Shiono on bass, and Karamo Susso on kora. Other musicians and spokenword artists join as the day progresses.
  • Open Mic: Responses to the Plenary featuring interpretations by Russian dance psychic Dr. Zebroski and “musical conversation” by Todd Brown. You can the stage to share your thoughts with or without musical accompaniment. Tell the band to give you a bluesy backdrop as you pontificate on new forms of civic dialogue.
  • Performance Poet Baruch Porras-Hernandez flexes his poetic prowess.
  • Drag Art – Maryam Farnaz Rostami performs an excerpt from her one-woman show.
Each Art Bar “set” will have a unique programmatic twist while also offering activities that run nonstop. Where else can you?:
  • Write your Dynamic Haikus – Voice your opinion in a classic, exquisitely short, Japanese form. Artists will be collecting and reading haikus throughout the day. Remember, 5, 7, 5.
  • Spill it in the Video Confessional Booth – You’ve been watching all your favorite reality TV stars spill their guts for years, now it’s your turn! Take a minute and share your thoughts about the conference, the arts, the Bay Area, or more in the Video Confessional Booth.
Stay tuned to this blog page as we get closer to the conference date for upcoming descriptions of the “twists” at the Art Bar.
For more information, and to register, please visit the event website.

Read up on our conference speakers ahead of time

We’re all getting very excited for Beyond Dynamic Adaptability on October 24th.  There’s still time to register here.  We have an extraordinary number of speakers from all corners of the field, and almost 400 people registered to attend.  It’s going to be a great conversation!

A number of our presenters are prolific bloggers, writing about various issues related to culture, technology, and the role of the arts in our society.  Here are just a few links to explore:

Arlene Goldbard

Beth Kanter

Nina Simon

Favianna Rodriguez

And here’s Michael Rohd writing in the online journal HowlRound and John Killacky on ARTSBlog.

Happy Reading!

(presenting at our conference and I left you off the list? Please add a link in the comments!)

What’s a fishbowl? Find out at Beyond Dynamic Adaptability

  Last summer Kary Schulman sent me a link to a great post by Diane Ragsdale about why she was tired of arts conferences as usual.  Since we were deep in planning mode for our Wallace conference I (and our great planning committee) got inspired to look past the same old keynote-plenary-breakout session format.  We wanted our conference format to experiment with the new kinds of participation we’ve been urging arts organizations to try out.  Our upcoming conference on October 24th (registration opens Monday) includes a variety of new ways to engage with ideas, with each other, and with the change sweeping our sector. We hope you’ll tell us whether this is a better kind of conference.

One format that we’re trying is the fishbowl, a structure where panelists sit in a circle in the middle of the room, talking to each other, with an empty chair for any interested audience member to join in.  After 45 minutes or so, the panel splits up and helps facilitate small group discussions on the same topic.  If you’ve ever wished you could hear from your colleague across the room as well as the flown-in “expert” up front, or had to use twitter to express your distaste for the way a conversation was unfolding at a conference, then this is for you.  Each of our fishbowls will revolve around a question  — for example, museum whiz Nina Simon will moderate a fishbowl about “How can we invite audiences to become active collaborators?”

Have some thoughts on that? Comment below.  And don’t forget to register for our free conference!

Join us on 10/24 for Beyond Dynamic Adaptability: a free conference for the arts community

  What do Linda Ronstadt, Beth Kanter, Ben Cameron, and Dante Di Loreto of Glee have in common? They’ll all be speaking at our conference on October 24th. We hope you’ll be there too!

Beyond Dynamic Adaptability: How Changing Participation is Changing the Arts is a free full-day conference for the entire arts community.  As accelerated cultural change keeps shifting the arts sector, we invite you to take a day to stop, reflect, share and learn as we navigate these changes together.

Our conference format aims to be as experimental as its content and includes five simultaneous “fishbowl” conversations with expert panelists and empty chairs for interested audience members to jump into the conversation as well as an Art Bar, a space for art and encounter with musicians, dancers, poets, pop-up artists and opportunities for informal interchange on stage and off.

More information about the day is available on the conference website and will be shared here as well.  The conference is free but pre-registration is required.  Registration will open on 9/26.


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.