Press Release

YBCA Announces California Arts Council’s Creative Corps Initiative Grant Awardees

$3.36 million Dollars Awarded to Bay Area Artists to Provide a Living Wage and Create Socially Engaged Works in Underserved Communities

Post Thumbnail

(San Francisco, CA—November 1, 2023) – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Creative Corps Initiative Awards, a partnership with the California Arts Council (CAC) to provide 3.36 million dollars in funding to artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. In collaboration with non-profit organizations from throughout the Bay Area, the Creative Corps Initiative is awarding $70,000 to 48 artists living and working in the Bay Area. The grant includes $60,000 in livable wage funds to use to support living expenses, and a $10,000 stipend to use towards implementing their proposed project.

The 2023-2024 CAC Awardees are:

Alejandra Rubio – Mission District, SF

April Martin – SOMA, SF

Ayodele Nzinga & The Lower Bottom Playaz – Oakland

Brittany Tanner – Hayward

Charles Blackwell and Sylvester Guard – Tenderloin, SF

Charmaine Davis – Oakland

Christiana Roverso – Tenderloin, SF

Cynthia Tom – Bay Area

Daniel Freeman – Berkeley

Debora Silva – Oakland

Dewayne Oakley – Richmond

Donte Clark – Richmond

Edward Gunawan – Downtown Oakland

Elizabeth Jimenez – San Jose

Emily Cohen Ilbanez – San Quentin

Gabriel Cortez – Berkeley

Graham L Prentice – Richmond

Halima Marshall – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Harvey Castro – Vallejo

Irwin Lewis – Oakland

Jesse Johnson – Tenderloin, SF

Joan Tarika Lewis – Fillmore, SF

Joyce Xi – Chinatown, SF

Julius Rea – Bernal Heights/Mission District, SF

Keenan Foster – East Oakland

Kevin Choice – Oakland

Kevin Wong – Bay Area

Kiazi Malonga – Oakland and East Palo Alto

King Theo Ogun – Oakland

Kristian Stovall – Hayward

Lazaro Ruiz – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Luis Marroquin – Pittsburg

Malik Seneferu – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Maria De La Rosa – Jingletown/Melrose

Meres-Sia Gabriel – Richmond

Naru Kwina – Oakland

Nkechi Njaka – Bay Area

Preeti Vangani – Chinatown, SF

Rahsaan Thomas – San Quentin

Refa One – Oakland

Rulan Tangen – Bay Area

Sheree Rayford – Fairfeild

Summer Lee – Chinatown, SF

TJ Sykes – Richmond

Totiana White – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Traci Bartlow – Oakland

Veronica Blair – Fillmore, SF

William Rhodes – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

The Creative Corps Initiative was created to provide a living wage to artists to support them as they work in tandem with a non-profit to create work that raises public awareness about one of four key issues: civic engagement, climate justice, community health and wellness, and social justice. In selecting partner sites, the Creative Corps Initiative prioritized sites that fall below the 25th percentile on the California Healthy Place Index. These communities include select areas of Antioch, Bay Point, Berkeley, Concord, Fairfield, Hayward, Oakland, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, and Vallejo. The funding is provided by the California Arts Council

Among the selected proposals are:

Civic Engagement – Untitled Immigrant Voting Documentary – This short documentary, chronicles the nascent immigrant suffrage movement in California. Following a movement led by a multi-ethnic coalition of organizers and community advocates ranging from San Francisco, to East San Jose, to Fresno, to Orange County’s Little Saigon.

Climate and Environmental Justice – “The Day the Sky Turned Orange” is a R&B musical that will help audiences confront and make sense of collective fear of the climate crisis. The piece is inspired by September 9, 2020, the day the sky in San Francisco Bay Area turned amber due to several wildfires throughout California.

Community Health and Wellness – “Trauma Healing through Performance” will be a series of workshops that will explore the role of artists in promoting healing and wellness. Themes will include expressing vulnerability through art, creating uplifting and healing works, and shedding light on cultural, social, and political issues in a respectful and beneficial manner. The goal is to inspire artists to be agents of positive change and empathy.

Social Justice – “Everybody needs a house,” a public campaign that supports community participation in Oakland’s cultural plan through participation in a series of community engagement events that accompany and inform the development of a theatrical production about housing.

Yerba Buena is one of 14 CAC partners designing programs to help advance equity and well-being across California. 

About California Creative Corps

California Creative Corps is a $60 million effort by the governor and legislature to increase public awareness related to increase public awareness related to civic engagement, climate and environmental justice, community health and wellness, and social justice through social impact art projects and campaigns.

About Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Opened to the public in 1993, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) was founded as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood. Our work spans the realms of contemporary art, performance, film, civic engagement, and public life. Centering artists as essential to social and cultural movement, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the communities it serves. For more information, visit

YBCA is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. YBCA will be open every third Thursday from 11:00am to 8:00pm.  Admission is $9 and can be purchased in person or reserved in advance at Admission is free every Wednesday and on the second Sunday of each month.

About California Arts Council

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.


Abby Margulies
[email protected]