Announcing YBCA’s $400,000 investment in Bay Area artist communities

Post Thumbnail

Today, we are proud to announce the launch of the YBCA Artist Power Convenings. Over the next two years, YBCA will invest $400,000 in artists and artist-led organizations across all 10 counties* of the Bay Area to design and lead their own community convenings.

Convenings are critical to artists’ capacity to creatively and collectively address the needs of their communities. Coming together sparks connections that strengthen networks and build community power. During the pandemic, artists have persisted in finding new ways to gather amid ongoing health and economic challenges. By providing artists the resources they need to convene together and accelerate their work, we can nurture artist gatherings as the spaces where real social change is catalyzed.

The YBCA Artist Power Convenings prioritize communities that have been historically underfunded: American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian and Asian American, Black and African American, Disabled, Indigenous and Indigena, Latinx, LGBTQIA2S+**, MENASA***, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander artists and artist led-organizations.

Artists can apply for Artist Power Convenings grants of $1,000, $3,000, or $5,000 to support their gatherings. Artists can apply either through YBCA’s website or the free YBCA Artist Power Center app, now in preview. We will hold five grant rounds, two counties at a time (beginning with Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties), from August 2021–September 2022.

We will be using a new model of peer selection to determine who will receive funding. All who submit a convening proposal will be asked to take part in the process by voting for the convenings from their respective counties that center around the four vital conditions of community health and well-being: social cohesion and belonging, community safety, civic engagement, and the true narrative of the community. 

Stories of participating artists and learnings from their convenings will be shared on our Artist Power Center app and will further inform how we can support capacity building for artists and artist-led organizations.

The YBCA Artist Power Convenings are made possible by our partners at the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as the artists and changemakers in our communities across the Bay Area. Learn more and apply for an Artist Power Convening grant at or through the YBCA Artist Power Center app.

*The 10 Bay Area counties include: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

**Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, +

***Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian

This list was honed through consultation with social practice artists from multiple communities and backgrounds and is meant to call folks into participation with us. However, we know that language has power and words and labels can cause harm, and can easily exclude many people. We also understand that language, when careful, can lift and empower all of us. Most of all, we embrace that language is accountable and necessarily dynamic. At YBCA, we are committed to doing the best we can to find and use the words to ensure that people are seen and acknowledged and that we are accountable to our commitment to social, racial, and economic equity and justice. We will keep on listening, responding and adjusting the words we use and the actions we take.