Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Names Amy Kisch Chief Producer

Social impact strategist, curator, and coalition builder will develop transformative programming for YBCA’s 30th anniversary and beyond

(San Francisco, CA — June 22, 2022) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Kisch as Chief Producer at YBCA. Kisch, an accomplished arts producer and movement-maker, assumes her new position immediately.

She joins the organization’s leadership ahead of YBCA’s 30th anniversary in 2023 to champion public programming, partnerships, and audience cultivation around the 30th anniversary, YBCA 100, and long-term program development. Kisch previously served as the Founder + Artistic Director of the Art+Action Coalition and Founder + CEO of AKArt Advisory. 

Kisch brings to YBCA decades of experience developing transformative programs and partnerships across the art, community, non-profit, foundation, business, activist, and government sectors—with a particular focus on efforts to improve accessibility within the art world. Kisch’s appointment underscores YBCA’s commitment to community engagement, exploring the possibilities for coming together safely as pandemic restrictions ease, and charting the path forward for YBCA as it looks to new leadership in the years ahead.

“I am honored to take on the unique opportunity of working with artists and trusted community leaders in one of San Francisco’s most history-rich dynamic public squares,” says Kisch. “I could not imagine a more exciting platform in the Bay Area for creative interventions, civic engagement, and for artists to lead us through the most pressing issues of our time.”

At YBCA, Kisch will work alongside Head of Creativity & Impact Meklit Hadero to reimagine and rejuvenate the institution’s programs across visual arts, performing arts, film, civic, and community engagement—reflecting the diverse array of artists and communities they serve. After two years of institutional reflection and re-organization, Kisch’s work will be instrumental in developing YBCA’s 30th anniversary celebrations in 2023, and in distilling and revitalizing key programs—such as the YBCA 100 and Bay Area Now—that have cemented the organization’s place as a leader in the Bay Area’s artistic and cultural communities.

Kisch has long been deeply involved across the San Francisco arts and social justice communities. Among other major projects, she was commissioned by San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) to develop an arts-driven campaign for the 2020 Census in order to combat census-suppression efforts. The result was Art+Action—a coalition of more than one hundred private and public entities, including YBCA—and the commissioning of more than forty artists and trusted community messengers to mobilize constituents. The large-scale multilingual public media and programming campaign galvanized communities—particularly those most vulnerable—and won an unsolicited Ford Foundation grant to expand the movement nationwide.

“We are thrilled Amy is bringing her immense talents to the leadership team at YBCA,” says Interim CEO of YBCA Sara Fenske Bahat. “This is not only an important moment for the institution, but for San Francisco and cities in general. Amy will be at the forefront of collaboratively imagining how YBCA can become the best version of itself, modeling how others in the field can uplift artist-led creation, place-keeping, and movement building. ”

Kisch joins YBCA at a time of change and growth. This spring, YBCA re-opened its exhibition spaces with Samora Pinderhughes’ creative constellation The Healing Project, Galería de la Raza’s Pedagogy of Hope: Uncage, Reunify, Heal, and dreamseeds, an artist workshop by the YBCA 10. In the fall, activations will continue with YBCA Senior Fellows Brett Cook and Liz Lerman, including an October 2022 performance of Lerman’s production, Wicked Bodies.