YBCA is the Bay Area’s center for art and progress and is a creative home for civic action. We believe change starts with creativity, imagination, and inspiration. Every year, we partner with schools, community-based organizations, policymakers, teaching artists, youth leaders and more in order to bring our creative resources to broader community concerns. Learn more about our work in the community and ways to partner with us.

With an estimated 4,000 children residing in a neighborhood that spans only 0.5 square miles, the Tenderloin has the densest concentration of children and families in San Francisco. However, children in the Tenderloin also face the highest concentration of open drug dealing, the constant threat of violence, a lack of healthy food options, and green space. Many of these children attend Bessie Carmichael Elementary School, where 40% of its students come from limited English proficiency homes.

The curriculum we have developed with Bessie Carmichael’s 450 students — planned and implemented in partnership with local neighborhood organizations like The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Tenderloin People’s Garden and 826 Valencia — will focus on community memory, using art and community gardening as tools for local Filipino youth to hold onto something as fundamental to culture as food in a time of extreme struggle, dislocation and gentrification in San Francisco.

The Excelsior neighborhood, known for having the highest concentration of immigrants in San Francisco, has a middle school where 85% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Our curriculum for 250 seventh and eighth graders drew inspiration from artist-activist Ana Teresa Fernandez’s public sculpture entitled DREAM, which is located less than a mile from MLK Middle School. DREAM was installed in Spring 2017 and is co-sponsored by San Francisco’s Department of Public Works.

To cultivate their hope and dreams for the future, MLK students reflect on the work of the late local graffiti artist Mike “Dream” Francisco, creating art that they then perform and share in the community in connection to the DREAM installation. The students hone their design skills by exploring the question “Who are we designing for?,” learning how to act upon community needs with a focus on process, failure and innovation.

More about DREAM →

The Tenderloin community of San Francisco is more populated with more liquor stores than grocery stores. This problem creates food insecurities for its community, particularly the youth.

The Oasis for Girls youth organization partnered with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to tackle food justice via art, cooking and collaborating with the Healthy Corner Store Coalition of San Francisco.

YBCA Youth Fellows re-purpose existing neon signs advertising alcohol at Daldas cornerstore in the Tenderloin, and replace them with neon signs advertising the healthful fruits and vegetables now sold at Daldas. In partnership with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation to promote food justice in the family-dense neighborhood.


Collaborators & Partners