Our Path Forward

At the beginning of the pandemic, I took a long walk while on the phone with YBCA Senior fellow and award-winning choreographer Liz Lerman. During our conversation, Liz talked about work she had done related to how we fall and why sometimes we have to fall – and fall and fall – in order to raise ourselves up again. During the conversation, Liz said “we are at our most inventive when we are falling.” This beautiful statement has lingered, provoked, and pushed me ever since.

We are at a moment where we are called upon to think as generously and imaginatively as possible about our collective future. At YBCA  we are focused, moving forward, and manifesting a vision that centers on one guiding principle:  that artists have an essential and central role to play in how we move forward as a society.

As part of the YBCA family and community we want you to be with us every step of the way as we respond to our challenging and changing world. In the coming months our path forward will focus on building a home for artists that will strengthen their capacity to have measurable impact in their communities.  Here are six ways you will see this manifest over the coming months.

The YBCA 100 Returns 

Our signature YBCA 100 list and the YBCA 100 Summit returns this year with new ways to engage deeper with artists who seek to make an impact within their communities. Working with Crux, an XR movement that centers and lifts black artists and technologists, we’re reimagining a radically expanded public nominations process for the YBCA100.

Community-Driven Public Art Experiences

While we navigate closures and uncertainty around reopening our spaces to our public, we are making a firm commitment to activating our city through  public art initiatives and a series of neighborhood commissions. In early October we will unveil Open Call winner Caleb Duarte’s The Monument As Living Memory on our 701 Mission Plaza. A large-scale architectural intervention, Caleb’s work will transform our plaza wall into a constantly evolving canvas with contributions from multiple artists over many months.  We are also bringing YBCA artists-in-residence SF Urban Film Fest into partnership with Imprint City and Young Community Developers in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood for the launch of City is Alive, a community-driven film based storytelling project launching October 17th.

Advocating for the Arts

We continue to push forward advocacy + recovery efforts as we build new pathways and new opportunities for artists and arts workers. Through our work with the San Francisco Arts Alliance, as well as my role on the Mayor’s  Economic Recovery Task Force and the Governor’s Jobs and Business Recovery Task Force,  we will act  as a conduit between the government and the artist community to ensure artists have jobs and proper compensation to do their work.

Relaunching the Artist Power Center 

In May we launched the Artist Power Center. Through this platform we will grow the capacity of artists, connecting them to economic opportunities, while highlighting their stories of impact in our communities. This fall, we invite you to join a beta relaunch of the product as we add new features that will further our ability to connect artists to paid opportunities and demonstrate their impact.. 

Demonstrating the Impact of Art on Health Outcomes

We are centering art as essential to the well-being of communities. YBCA is proud to be the sole arts organization invited to be a member of the Well Being Alliance, a group of 26 leading national organizations focused on advancing the health and well-being of all Americans by advancing a framework for holistic well-being and the conditions that are necessary for everyone to live safe, healthy, and connected lives. We also recently announced a cohort of artists from across the country who will be joining us at SOCAP 2020 in October—the biggest impact investment conference in the world. We continue our CultureBank initiative with a focus on new investment strategies that center artists as essential to health and well-being.

Responding to the Urgent Community Needs

We recently launched the YBCA Rapid Response Fund, an investment in the community, by the community, for the community, which enables us to respond to urgent needs that affect our community’s well being. The Fund’s first initiative is to answer a call from San Francisco Mayor London Breed  to support the educational needs of our most at-risk students by transforming our galleries into safe, inspiring and digitally-connected spaces for distance learning.  Learn more about how you can support this critical initiative for students in need within the San Francisco Unified School District here.

Join us on this path forward as we look to support the artists working with us to address the biggest challenges of our time. We will be sharing ways to engage and stay connected as we continue to redefine the role of an arts center.