Sat September 19th
Power can be organized. Power is infinite. Power changes policy. Power changes lives.
Leading into this current public health and economic crisis, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) was working to respond to the social, cultural, and economic systems and structures that were already in need of sweeping change. We were in the midst of a multi-year process of designing a radical new model for an arts organization in service of civic and public life—one which provides the resources and platform artists need to spur policy and community-driven change. Today, building on this work, YBCA is proudly launching the first phase of the Artist Power Center (APC), an inclusive and dynamic platform focused on immediate relief for artists and building the strength and resilience of our creative community for the long term.
The Artist Power Center also builds on Artists Now, a new relief fund we launched on April 9 with Zoo Labs, Always Win Together, and Black Joy Parade. In response to the fact that one out of every three Americans is just $400 away from a major crisis, we came together to offer support to artists most imminently affected by extreme economic challenges caused by COVID-19, with a specific focus on female, POC, and LGBTQIA+ artists. In 36 hours we received over 700 applications. Just two weeks after our launch, we had disbursed the entirety of Artist Now’s seed funds. We have 216 applications waiting to be funded. We want to support them all.
With the Artist Power Center, we also want to do more. We want to learn from artists and better understand the challenges they face so the APC can become a vibrant and inclusive platform that cultivates a truly connected network for exchange and collaboration, and powers arts and culture in service of an equitable and regenerative future.
We want to grow the Artist Power Center into a robust online community, connecting artists to each other and to resources and opportunities. Working with partners in other sectors, we want to expand artists’ employment at a living wage, including immediate opportunities to tie their work to existing federal, regional, and local programs. And, we want to support artists in building their own employment models, positioning artists as critical actors, problem solvers, innovators, and builders of enterprises.
Over time, we want to gather hundreds, if not thousands, of artist stories to build a narrative that encompasses the evidence of artistic impact. We want to broadly share these powerful stories of artists as the creative soul of our communities and the essential fuel for the vital conditions of a healthier, more equitable society and a thriving natural world. We want to illuminate the role that artists play in cultivating community, identity and cohesion, collective safety, and belonging. We want to cultivate and amplify our shared power by building the civic strength and advocacy muscle of our creative community.
With the Artist Power Center, we want to catalyze the power of community. We invite you to connect, to engage, and build to a better future together.
How You Can Participate: