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The Center for Art and…

The work of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts spans the realms of contemporary art, performance, and film; civic and community engagement; and policy and public life. Its multidisciplinary, multi-venue, multi-perspective, multi-purpose character illuminates a collective idea of what a cultural anchor can be. YBCA’s diverse perspectives, aesthetics, and experiences are rooted in a deep commitment to inclusivity. Not just a center for some, YBCA strives to be a center for all. It is a center for the arts, a center for its place, a center for people.

To that end, YBCA is reaffirming its original mandate to be a creative home for the diverse communities of the San Francisco Bay Area and to cultivate a thriving ecosystem of artists who are working to support societal movement. With this renewed approach, we are happy to share with you a number of exciting announcements that build on our commitment to reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the community it serves.

Initiatives

The YBCA 100

In August 2019 we released the much-anticipated 2019 YBCA 100 List, a tribute to the people, organizations, and movements who are most inspiring to the YBCA family right now, and whose work has the potential to shift culture and effect change. Each year, YBCA’s staff lovingly shapes this list with nominations from the board, current and former YBCA fellows, members, and stakeholders. On Saturday, October 19, we will welcome the 2019 honorees along with key stakeholders at the YBCA 100 Summit for a day of collective inquiry and action while we delve further into the initiatives and partnerships outlined here.

YBCA Fellows and Senior Fellows 

Through an open call established in 2016, we introduced the YBCA Fellows program, which brings together creative individuals from across the Bay Area to engage in a yearlong process of inquiry, dialogue, and project generation. To date we have worked with more than 183 Fellows and supported the development of more than 114 individual and group projects that have explored such lines of inquiry as: How do we find and empower truth? Why citizenship? Where is our public imagination? This fall we welcome a new cohort of Fellows who will explore the timely question: How do we uplift and mobilize our public participation? 

Applications for the YBCA Fellows program are open until September 6, 2019, and can be found here.

Building on the success of the YBCA Fellows program, we’re proud to announce the new Senior Fellows program this fall. The program will support artists and curators who are advancing the essential role of art in social and cultural movement and are interested in developing systems and structures that catalyze artist-driven change. We aim to build deep, game-changing relationships with artists, curators, and leading thinkers that evolve our organization and support significant progress in each Fellow’s work.


“We aim to build deep, game-changing relationships with artists, curators, and leading thinkers that evolve our organization.”


CultureBank

CultureBank is an ongoing YBCA initiative that offers a new way to invest in communities by investing in artists. Led by Penelope Douglas, an artist, entrepreneur, and pioneer in community development investment, CultureBank is working in partnership in several different locations across the country, including Dallas, with Ignite Arts Dallas, and locally with Zoolabs in Oakland.

Through these partnerships we are centering the role that artists play in laying the groundwork for shared health and prosperity. In each location we are working with artists and investors to design and test new models for investing in artists as essential to equitable community development. We are pleased to welcome Lyz Luke, founder and producer of UnderCover Presents and managing director of the Embodiment Project, to the YBCA/CultureBank team. We invite you to visit and contribute to our StoryBank, where we share stories about artists and their enterprises to illustrate the impact we can have when we understand artists as essential agents in productive community investment.

YBCA Teaching Artist Ana Teresa Fernández working with 6th grade students at MLK Middle School on The Skin I’m In, a writing and visual arts project. Photo by Marcus Savage.

6th grade students at MLK Middle School mixing colors for The Skin I’m In a writing and visual arts project. Photo by Marcus Savage.

YBCA Teaching Artist Leticia Hernández-Linares working with 6th grade students at MLK Middle School on The Skin I’m In a writing and visual arts project. Photo by Marcus Savage.

Civic Engagement

Art+Action: The 2020 Census

On April 1, 2020, a ten-minute, nine-question survey—the US Census—will shape the trajectory of our country and our city, impacting every San Franciscan’s quality of life for the next ten years for better or for worse. As part of our commitment to using art as a catalyst for social progress, YBCA is a lead partner and headquarters for Art+Action, a coalition of thought leaders, organizations, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists mobilizing around the 2020 Census.

Appointed by San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA), Art+Action is led by curator and strategist Amy Kisch. In fall 2019, Art+Action and YBCA will unveil public programs, exhibitions, performances, and community interventions throughout San Francisco. We’re looking forward to working with this dynamic group to make an impact in the civic life of our constituents.


“On April 1, 2020, a ten-minute, nine-question survey—the US Census—will shape the trajectory of our country and our city.”


Our work extends into the city through partnerships with neighboring community organizations and local public schools, including Bessie Carmichael Elementary, MLK Middle, and Mission High. At Bessie Carmichael Elementary, we will support the school’s plans for an outdoor classroom and garden space. At MLK Middle, young people will learn about sustainable design, cultural planning, and equity. At Mission High we will support health education and work with students, community partners, and residents to create a public art installation that maps community assets for health and well-being in their neighborhood.

Programming

New Chief of Program

In the coming week we will announce the appointment of a new Chief of Program. This new role will oversee the newly formed Program and Engagement Team and drive YBCA’s multidisciplinary program strategy for visual arts, performing arts, film, and civic and community engagement. We’re looking forward to sharing the news with you and to welcoming the Chief of Program on stage at the YBCA 100 Summit.

The Body Electric

In our galleries we will present the West Coast premiere of The Body Electric, a traveling exhibition organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Opening September 6, 2019, and running through January 26, 2020, this group show explores the ways that technology changes our collective understanding of the body, everyday life, and sense of self.

Dara Birnbaum, Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978, still. Video (color, sound). Collection Walker Art Center. T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1999.

Aneta Grzeszykowska, Selfie #10, 2014, pigment ink on cotton paper. Courtesy of Raster Gallery, Warsaw.

James Byrne, Scale Drawing, 1975, television, moving image file, felt-tip pen drawing on wall. Courtesy the artist.

Nam June Paik, TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1969. Collection Walker Art Center. T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1991.

Martine Syms, Notes on Gesture, 2015, HD video. Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, New York.

Trisha Baga, Installation view, Mollusca & The Pelvic Floor, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

2nd Floor Galleries Open Call

On the heels of the opening The Body Electric, YBCA will launch an open call for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary proposals for exhibitions in our upstairs gallery space. We’re excited to offer this opportunity to Bay Area artists and curators to present works that focus on art as central to progress. Proposals are due October 20, 2019, with the first selected exhibition set to open Summer 2020. Stay tuned for instructions on submitting ideas.


“We’re excited to offer an opportunity to Bay Area artists and curators to present works that focus on art as central to progress.”


Community Partners

This fall we proudly welcome our community partners Diaspora Arts Connection’s Let Her Sing, an evening of exciting music and solidarity for the female voice; Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s fall season featuring jazz luminaries Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran with dance pioneer Alonzo King; and the ever-popular ODC/Dance’s Velveteen Rabbit to kick off the holiday season; followed by Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s The Christmas Ballet, a yuletide spectacular featuring a dazzling collection of ballet, tap, and jazz.

YBCA has long played a leading role in the Bay Area’s cultural infrastructure as an arts programmer and presenter, a community center, and a space for social and cultural exchange. Indeed, for twenty-five years, YBCA has cut across outdated dichotomies of art and community. Fall 2019 at YBCA manifests our continued commitment to being San Francisco’s center for art and . . .

We hope you will join us.