Press Release

YBCA Celebrates 30 Years of Fostering Creative Expression and Meaningful Connection in the San Francisco Bay Area

Celebrations Commence with Bay Area Now 9, a multidisciplinary triennial that brings together diverse voices from throughout the Bay Area alongside performances, workshops, public programs and more

Photos by Tommy Lau for YBCA.

(San Francisco, CA – July 20, 2023) – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is thrilled to celebrate its 30th anniversary this fall, marking three decades as a vibrant hub of multidisciplinary art in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located in the heart of the downtown cultural district, YBCA was established as a creative crossroads for creative communities, residents and visitors. Over the years, YBCA has become a unique bridge between local and national artists and organizations, showcasing the forward-leaning, boundary-pressing values for which San Francisco and the Bay Area are widely known. 

The organization’s 30th Anniversary celebrations will begin on October 6th with the opening of Bay Area Now 9 (BAN9), a triennial multidisciplinary exhibition featuring exceptional artists from across the Bay Area’s nine counties. BAN9 will bring together 30 artists from a broad range of creative practices including visual art, dance, performance, music, film, sound, new media, technology, fashion, poetry, and social practice.

“YBCA has had a tremendous and varied first 30 years. As we look to her next decade, we do so in the spirit of reflection and aspiration. YBCA has worked with thousands of artists, welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, and has in its long-time supporters a very strong cheering section,” said Sara Fenske Bahat, CEO of YBCA. “Like many arts organizations across the country and organizations downtown, we’ve had to reflect on our highest priorities. The programming that we have planned to commemorate our 30th year, and Bay Area Now 9 in particular, reflects  the themes and ideas that feel most timely and relevant to the people living, working, and creating in our city. We hope that everyone who visits YBCA will get a sense of how San Francisco and the Bay Area creatives are processing the now.” 

Spanning YBCA’s entire campus, BAN9 will feature new work, site-specific commissions, and  historical work from emerging and established artists from throughout the Bay Area. The artists included were selected by a curatorial counsel of eight community leaders, activists, arts organizers, and YBCA curators Fiona Ball, Amy Kisch and Martin Strickland, aiming to expand the creative voices included in the triennial, and to engage more directly with a diversity of communities. This year’s triennial will also feature a wider selection of artistic mediums to produce a more dynamic, multidisciplinary audience experience. The exhibition will be supported by an ongoing robust slate of artist activations and public programs, including film screenings, workshops, communal meals, artist talks, dance and music performances, poetry and literary presentations.

From Innosanto Nagara’s interactive and multilingual mural Let’s Build From Here to the annual YBCA 100 celebration honoring cultural leaders in the Bay Area, to Reflection & Action, a collaborative exhibition between visual artist Brett Cook and choreographer Liz Lerman, YBCA is continually exploring what an arts center can be, and thinking critically about how to welcome and center artists and visitors who may not have had access to such spaces historically. YBCA has also championed artists themselves through innovative programs that recognize the importance of fair compensation, including launching the Creative Corps Initiative this past spring, a partnership with the California Arts Council (CAC) to provide $2.85 million dollars in funding to artists and cultural practitioners working with nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As YBCA commemorates its 30th anniversary, it reaffirms its mission to be a communal gathering space for the creation and observation of artistic expression that fosters meaningful connection for all. To mark this milestone, YBCA will host an array of exhibitions, performing arts, film screenings, public art installations, and public programming this fall, celebrating the diverse voices and perspectives of the Bay Area community.

YBCA expresses profound gratitude to its partners and supporters who have been instrumental in its success over the past 30 years, with special appreciation extended to its longstanding partnership with Blue Shield of California. YBCA invites everyone to join in the celebration and seeks their continued support as it embarks on the next 30 years of inspiring creativity and fostering meaningful connections.

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


Abby Margulies
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