Selected Projects

From 1994 to today, the Creative Work Fund has been supporting artists and nonprofit organizations in creative collaboration.

Clement Hil Goldberg and CounterPulse

Clement Hil Goldberg (San Francisco) collaborating with CounterPulse (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2016

To be presented: October 2017

Clement Hil Goldberg is collaborating with CounterPulse to create Our Future Ends, an interdisciplinary work of discrete objects, sculptural installation, animation/video projection, and live theater. The piece connects, as a metaphoric frame, the near-extinct lemur primates of Madagascar to an imagined queer prehistory. It features an imagined land, Lemuria, with stop-animation lemurs voiced by queer and transgender artists, plus video documentation filmed by Goldberg at the Duke Lemur Center.

Lemurs are the most endangered mammals on the planet, and even if their species is rehabilitated to adequate numbers in captivity, they will be unable to return home as 90% of their forests in Madagascar are gone. Goldberg sees parallels between their decline, which became precipitous in the early 1970s, and the concurrent loss of artists, culture, and community due to the AIDS crisis.

Clement Goldberg has an established and varied arts career in photography, design, installation art, and film. Since 1991, CounterPulse has provided space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant and community-based art. Partnering with CounterPulse enhances Goldberg’s exploration of multi-disciplinary forms. Our Future Ends will premiere at CounterPulse in October 2017.


Victor Cartagena and Movmiento Arte y Cultural Latino Americana (MACLA)

Victor Cartagena (San Francisco) collaborating with Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) (San Jose)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2010

Presented:  April 2011

Artist Victor Cartagena collaborated with MACLA to create A Body Parted/Un Cuerpo Partido, an interdisciplinary work incorporating performance, installation, and digital murals that took a multi-layered look at immigration and border crossing. A Body Parted related immigrants’ stories through a rich combination of imagery, performances, and a soundscape.

Victor Cartagena is part of the San Francisco-based collective Secos & Mojados, whose work focuses on the immigrant experience.  In developing A Body Parted/Un Cuerpo Partido, he worked closely with MACLA to try to collect stories from immigrants living in the William/Reed Corridor area of downtown San Jose, and with members of Secos & Mojados to develop a multi-disciplinary performance informed by that research.

Salvadoran-born visual artist Victor Cartagena has been making art in the San Francisco Bay Area since the late 1980s, shifting in focus from his memories of the violence in El Salvador and his experience of relocating to the United States to a range of issues, including consumer culture, homelessness, material waste, immigration, exile, identity perception, capital punishment, and uses of power.

MACLA is an inclusive contemporary arts space grounded in the Chicano/Latino experience that incubates new visual, literary, and performing arts in order to engage people in civic dialogue and community transformation. MACLA was founded in 1989 as the result of a community mobilization in San Jose and nationwide on behalf of multicultural arts.

Rhodessa Jones and the Women’s HIV Program at UCSF

Women’s HIV Program at UCSF and Rhodessa Jones (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2016 

To premiere: October 2017

Rhodessa Jones and her Medea Project for Incarcerated Women are developing a new work with participants in the Women’s HIV Program at UCSF, focusing on the theme of violence against women. Over decades of work with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, Jones has honed methods that help women develop the skills and confidence to tell their stories publicly. She previously worked with women living with HIV in 2008, and at that time emphasized their need to acknowledge their health status and share it with partners and family members. Those participants’ stories revealed that many were living with lifelong histories of trauma from violence.

In her project beginning in late 2016, Jones proposes to focus on workshops and performances that help these women address their trauma directly, heal from past abuse, and avoid further trauma. She will work closely with Dr. Edward Machtinger of the Women’s HIV Program to identify participants and produce community forums, speaking engagements, and open rehearsals with feedback sessions. The project will culminate with performances at the Buriel Clay Theater in October 2017.

Rhodessa Jones has developed dozens of original works with the Medea Project for Incarcerated Women and with Cultural Odyssey, the company she co-created with Idris Ackamoor.


Jerome Reyes and South of Market Community Action Network

Jerome Reyes collaborating with South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and Filipino American Development Foundation (fiscal sponsor)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts Grant awarded in 2016

To be presented: Early spring 2018

Jerome Reyes and the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) are collaborating on a project to develop a multi-platform political campaign that generates and circulates artwork throughout the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco. Materials created through the project will focus on local issues of importance to SOMCAN’s Filipino and Latin American immigrant membership. These include pedestrian and bicycle safety, food rights, the South of Market Filipino Cultural Heritage District, housing awareness, and immigrant concerns. Public and indoor artworks, many of them text-based, will be presented around the neighborhood and in SOMCAN’s 2,000-square-foot storefront. Materials created through the project will become part of the archive Contact Points: Field Notes Toward Freedom.

SOMCAN is a multiracial, community-based organization that, since 2000, has served low-income immigrant youth and families living South of Market. Lead artist Jerome Reyes works at Stanford’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. His multidisciplinary work engages with ideas of architecture, urban studies, and cultural difference. He’s made installations and drawings, programmed events, staged theatrical readings, and co-designed educational initiatives. This project will culminate in the early spring of 2018.

Photo by Jeremy Keith Villaluz


Rene Yung and On Lok, Inc.

Rene Yung collaborating with On Lok, Inc.

Award: $35,000 Visual Arts Grant awarded in 1997

Premiered:  March 1999

Working with frail seniors living at four On Lok locations in San Francisco, artist Rene Yung led workshops and one-on-one meetings through which she gathered images of the backs of their hands along with their stories about aging.  From these materials, Yung created four permanent installations consisting of framed glass panels that were photo-etched and powder-cut with images of the seniors’ hands and messages culled from her conversations with them.  The installed panels were grouped, illuminated, and mounted on the wall at the entrance lobby of each participating On Lok center.  Their development and unveiling was one of several events celebrating On Lok, Inc.’s 25th Anniversary.

The artist and organization wrote, “The hand is chosen to represent the process of aging because it is an eloquent map of a person’s journey through life.”  The pieces also reflect the diverse communities who are part of On Lok and who speak English, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Tagalog, and other languages.

At the time she embarked on this project, among other installations, Yung had presented “The Opacity of Dreams” at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco in 1996, and a permanent public art project at the Chinatown Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

Started in 1971, On Lok’s mission is to provide quality care to the community’s frail elderly, so they can remain in their own homes and communities as long as possible. Through its other affiliate corporations, On Lok also provides various types of housing options for this population.  It serves its constituents at five sites throughout San Francisco.

Photo by Ethan Bien



Sean Dorsey and the Community Center Project of San Francisco

Sean Dorsey collaborating with the Community Center Project of San Francisco

Award: $40,000 Performing Arts grant awarded in 2016

To Premiere: April 2018

Sean Dorsey is collaborating with the San Francisco LGBT Community Center to create, develop, and premiere a new full-length dance-theater work, Boys in Trouble.

Sean Dorsey is the nation’s first critically acclaimed transgender choreographer. This new work will investigate contemporary American masculinity from transgender and queer perspectives, giving voice to outsider experiences of masculinities. During its creation and development phases, the collaborators will involve at least 100 transgender men and women, gay/bi/queer men, butches, and ‘masculine of center’ people in a series of community engagement activities that will include movement and storytelling workshops, recorded conversations and interviews, and community forums at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, a 37,000-square-foot ADA-compliant building at Market and Octavia streets. From the themes emerging in this phase, Dorsey will choreograph the work for his four-member, multigenerational LGBT dance ensemble.

The final work will feature dance with storytelling and a multilayered, narrative-based score featuring excerpts of the recorded conversations and interviews and original music by a team of composers. The work will premiere in April 2018 at Z Space.

E.G. Crichton and the GLBT Historical Society

E.G. (Edith) Crichton collaborating with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society  (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2016

To be presented: October 2017

E.G. Crichton is collaborating with the Gay, Lesbian Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society (GLBTHS) of San Francisco to create Out/Look and the Birth of the Queer. Rooted in the content of a now historic magazine, the project includes participatory outreach, the production of new work, events, a Web/blog presence, a catalogue, and an exhibition.

Out/Look National Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, published in San Francisco from 1987 through 1992, fostered national debates and an influential Out/Write conference. As one of six founders of Out/Look, Crichton is uniquely positioned to reconnect with people who were involved with it. She and the GLBT Historical Society will match contemporary artists with historical content and contributors. Matched artists will write new articles or create visual art or performances that respond to the historical content.

The exhibition based on these exchanges will open at the GLBT History Museum in fall 2017. It also will feature reproduced archival materials, an interactive display, and a video text animation, created by Crichton from quotes found in the magazine’s letters to the editor.

The GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender materials. In 2011, it opened the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco.

Lead artist E.G. Crichton has a long track record for creating work that engages with public and private history, using cross-media aesthetic strategies, interdisciplinary research, and immersions in various communities.

Amara Tabor Smith and Chapter 510 Ink

Amara Tabor-Smith collaborating with Chapter 510 Ink

Award: $40,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2016

To be presented: Fall 2018

Amara Tabor-Smith of Deep Waters Dance Theater and Ellen Sebastian Chang are collaborating with Chapter 510 Ink to create House/Full of Black Women, a site-specific, ritual-based performance project about displacement, well-being, and continuing abuse and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland. It will be presented in episodes and set in various sites throughout Oakland over a two-year period. The piece, culminating with a durational performance in a house, will weave together dance, music, film, visual art, spiritual rituals, and the personal narratives of black women and girls.

In addition to Tabor-Smith and Sebastian Chang, the piece features 15 black women artists, among them Zakiya Harris, Tossie Long, Valerie Troutt, musician/composer Chris Evans, architect/performer Shelley Davis Roberts, and performer and sex-trafficking activist Regina Evans.

The organizational partner, Chapter 510 Ink, is a youth literacy and writing center that is serving as the hub for many of the community workshops, panels, and performance episodes of the work. The project will culminate in September 2018.

Featured image from House/Full of Black Women

Don Aguillo and Kulintang Arts

Don Aguillo collaborating with Kulintang Arts, Inc. (KulArts)

Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2006

To be presented: Mid-2018

Illustrator Don Aguillo, illustrator/writer Raf Salazar, and Kulintang Arts, Inc. (KulArts) are collaborating to create Pinoy Superheroes Here and Now!, spotlighting untold stories of everyday Pilipino heroes who live or work in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Aguillo and Salazar will create a graphic novel-style episodic comic book that will be available in print and online, as well as six large posters based on the comic book that neighborhood Pilipino organizations can exhibit in their storefront windows. This project is rooted in the adventures of an indigenous Pilipino pantheon of supreme beings. These traditional tales will frame stories of contemporary leaders in San Francisco’s Pilipino community. Aguillo, Salazar, and KulArts’ staff will work with key neighborhood organizations, offering free graphic arts workshops and gathering participants’ ideas for local heroes to feature and their favorite Pilipino folktales. Pinoy Superheroes will be produced by mid-2018.

Don Aguillo is an artist and illustrator with years of experience in production design, pre-visualization, and traditional art. He has worked with other artists and commercial gaming clients to design original characters for graphic novels and games. Raf Salazar is a concept artist for games, and an illustrator and writer for online comics.

KulArts presents contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts as well as participatory art-making activities.

Illustration: Penance by Don Aguillo


Seth Eisen and Shaping San Francisco

Seth Eisen (Emeryville) collaborating with Shaping San Francisco (Independent Arts and Media, fiscal sponsor)

Award: $40,000 Performing Arts grant awarded in 2016

To be presented: March 2018

Shaping San Francisco and Seth Eisen will develop and present OUT of Site, a series of site-specific performances at LGBTQ historical sites in San Francisco, presented through neighborhood walking tours.

Through rigorous historical research and engaging public presentations of queer cabaret, puppetry, theater, and dance, OUT of Site will integrate Eisen’s practice of unearthing and elevating stories of queer ancestors with Shaping San Francisco’s 20 years of gathering and sharing stories from San Francisco’s history. In form, it brings together Eisen’s theatrical training and practice of combining live performances and visual media with Shaping San Francisco’s extensive experience with organizing walking and bicycle tours.

The finished piece will feature numerous designers and 12 artists who will perform at six different sites in three neighborhoods. Lead artist Eisen will serve as the primary tour guide. Performance tours are planned for March 2018.