Selected Projects

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


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.


Topher Delaney and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

Topher Delaney collaborating with the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

Award: $39,800 Visual Arts grant awarded in 2010

Presented: 2012

Landscape architect Topher Delaney collaborated with the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society to create “Arcimboldo’s Edible Garden,” a demonstration garden that was meant to engage visitors in conversations about global food sources and sustainable gardening. It was installed in the San Francisco’s Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden and meant to be on view for approximately 10 months.

Delaney took inspiration from the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593), an Italian painter best known for imaginative portrait heads formed from realistic depictions of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other objects. Her installation featured distinctive assemblages of planting boxes of different shapes and sizes, made of different repurposed materials.  Each assemblage contained plant species from a different part of the world.

The project collaborators planned to feature two tables – one of which was milled from a large Torrey Pine that fell in the botanical garden during winter storms. The second was to feature imagery depicting maps of the Old and New Worlds, with colorful forms of fruits and vegetables placed in the manner of an Arcimboldo painting.

The project was delayed due to challenges with gathering paving and table materials, and interpretative signage was not completed. However, the site is used as a gathering place by many group tours.

Topher Delaney has created numerous institutional, commercial, and private installations focusing on gardens as structures for the integration of sculptures, functional furniture, paintings, and water features. Bay Area projects include gardens of medicinal plants for the Avon Breast Cancer Center at San Francisco General Hospital and the UCSF Medical School.

Photo: SFGate



Favianna Rodriguez and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote

Favianna Rodriguez (Oakland) collaborating with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote

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

To be presented: December 31, 2017

Lead artist Favianna Rodriguez is collaborating with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote to create Until We Are All Free, a visual arts project that will connect artists and movement organizers to explore and amplify how mass incarceration intersects with immigrant detention and deportation. The project will draw attention to the fastest-growing portion of the U.S. prison population — immigrants. It features three components: creation of two or three large visual art pieces for display on public transit; an art-based toolkit based on lessons learned from the partnership; and three workshops in Alameda, San Francisco, or Santa Clara counties to engage immigrant and refugee rights groups in art-based projects so they can share their stories and develop compelling visual content about their issues.

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote is a 12-member, multiracial alliance working to build the voting power of low-income immigrants and refugee New Americans of color across California. It works with communities in their native languages and cultural contexts to reveal shared values and then uses art to insert those values and stories into equity campaigns.

Favianna Rodriguez is a visual artist, activist, and cultural organizer who has worked for more than a decade with immigrant rights organizations and social justice efforts to create art that can uplift and challenge cultural prejudices and biases. This project will culminate in December 2017.



Marcus Shelby and Intersection for the Arts

Marcus Shelby collaborating with Intersection for the Arts
Award: $35,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2000
Presented: January 9 – January 27, 2002

Bass player and composer Marcus Shelby collaborated with theater director Val Hendrickson, choreographer Reginald Ray-Savage, and Intersection for the Arts to create an original musical version of The Lights by Howard Korder.   Representing a true melding of jazz and theater, the project was staged with a live 15-piece jazz orchestra and vocalist Antoine Garth. In reviewing the play, The San Francisco Examiner credited the music with setting up the piece’s “seductive irony, grit, and pure energy.”

Given the scale of the project — with Shelby’s orchestra and a full cast of performers together on stage — ODC Theatre was invited to join the collaboration. Intersection managed the pre-production and developmental stage and ODC Theater assisted with the production itself.   The Lights ran for three weeks at ODC Theater with sold-out audiences most nights of the performance. A recording of The Lights Suite was released on NOIR Records in 2002.

Composer and bassist Marcus Shelby is nationally recognized for his innovative, creative, and collaborative approach to combining spoken word, dance, and music.   As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus scholarship, his studies included work under the tutelage of acclaimed composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden.   Prior to embarking on this collaboration, in 1999 Marcus Shelby and Intersection had begun working together on a workshop and performance series, “Jazz at Intersection.”   The series provided San Francisco musicians and audiences the rare opportunity to experience the history of jazz through performances of live music in an intimate and educational setting.

Intersection for the Arts, incorporated in 1965, is San Francisco’s oldest alternative art space. At the time this grant was awarded, Intersection’s theater was thriving, it hosted the oldest literary program in California that is based outside of an academic institution, and its visual arts gallery had been renovated and revitalized.

Portrait of Marcus Shelby by Peter Varshavsky


Ian Winters and Wholly H2O

Ian Winters (Oakland) collaborating with Wholly H20 (Oakland) and Earth Island Institute (fiscal sponsor)

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

To premiere: Summer 2018

Artist Ian Winters and the 12-member Lightbulb Ensemble are collaborating with Wholly H20, an Oakland-based organization dedicated to sustainable, localized water management in California, to create Watershed Moments (working title). Over decades of experience — including his previous career as Northern California Land Trust’s executive director — Ian Winters has challenged the boundaries of perception, environment, movement, and time-based media. In this project, he and his collaborators are creating a suite of new works that integrate live media, new music composition, and scientific data. During project development, teens and young adults will become data-gathering citizen scientists, whose findings are featured in the finished piece.

 Watershed Moments will explore water’s complex qualities and characteristics from physical, aesthetic, ecological, and social perspectives. Performance venues in the San Francisco Bay Area will range from an ecology education center in East Palo Alto to a 500-foot maritime training vessel in Vallejo. The finished work will feature Winters’ live media that teens helped guide and gathered data for; new music by three composers from the Lightbulb Ensemble; and an ensemble of 12 composer-percussionists, playing on newly constructed and tuned instruments.


Celia Herrera Rodriguez and Indian People Organizing for Change

Celia Herrera Rodriguez (Oakland) collaborating with Indian People Organizing for Change and California Indian Environmental Alliance (fiscal sponsor)

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

To be presented: Spring 2018

The Chochenyo Ohlone are the original peoples of what is now called Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Because of a history of genocide and cultural erasure, most current Bay Area residents are unaware of Chochenyo Ohlone culture. Making Ohlone Visible aims to reclaim the indigenous history of this land, honoring traditions and customs of its original peoples. Celia Herrera Rodriguez, Indian People Organizing for Change (IPOC), Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes from Dignidad Rebelde, and Chochenyo Ohlone youth and elders are creating three sculptures to be installed as monuments marking the sites of Chochenyo villages in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville. Project partners are beginning by researching verified Chochenyo Ohlone baskets and village sites. The sculptures, created by Herrera Rodriguez and built with locally sourced materials, will have signage designed and produced by Dignidad Rebelde. Project partners will ceremonially install the sculptures in spring 2018.

Celia Herrera Rodriguez is an indigenous Xicana O’dami visual and performing artist. This project grows out of her ongoing collaborative work with Corrina Gould, a Chochenyo Ohlone community activist. Dignidad Rebelde, founded in 2007, is a graphic arts collective dedicated to creating and distributing screen-printed political posters.