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The Creative Work Fund is pleased to announce the awarding of 16 grants totaling $633,100 to Bay Area performing and visual artists to create new works through collaborations with local nonprofit organizations. Each grantee will receive between $33,100-$40,000 to further their projects in dance, music, theater, extended cinema, installation art, public art, printmaking, illustration, and other forms.

“Since 1994, the Creative Work Fund has funded 339 projects that bring local artists and nonprofits together to work on challenging projects,” said the Fund’s director, Frances Phillips. “Many of this year’s projects document the changing character of Bay Area neighborhoods. Several claim or commemorate places historically connected to specific cultural groups – such as the Chochenyo Ohlone of the East Bay, Filipino residents of San Francisco’s South of Market district, or San Francisco’s LGBTQ communities. Still others test and document artmaking’s power as a tool for political advocacy.”

2016 Performing Arts Awardees

  • Sean Dorsey (San Francisco) is collaborating with the San Francisco LGBT Community Center to create, develop, and premiere a new full-length dance-theater work, BOYS IN TROUBLE, which will investigate contemporary American masculinity from transgender and queer perspectives.
  • Seth Eisen (Emeryville) and Shaping San Francisco (fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts and Media) are developing and presenting OUT of Site, a series of site-specific performances at LGBTQ historical sites in San Francisco, presented through neighborhood walking tours.
  • Rhodessa Jones (San Francisco) the 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.
  • Playwright Cherrie Moraga (Oakland) and Brava! for Women in the Arts are collaborating to further develop and fully stage The Mathematics of Love. This new play is a meditation on death and dying that examines the role of “spirit” as told through the bodies of people forgotten by history.
  • Jeremy Rourke (Brisbane) is collaborating with Artists Television Access (ATA) on I’ll Be Around, seeking to crack open the history and present-day reality of ATA as a way of creating a portrait of San Francisco.
  • Amara Tabor Smith (Oakland) and Ellen Sebastian Chang are collaborating with Chapter 510 Ink & The Department of Make Believe to create a site-specific ritual-based performance project that addresses issues of displacement, well-being, and the continuing abuse and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.
  • Niloufar Talebi (San Francisco) is collaborating with Merola Opera Program to create a new opera, Abraham in Flames, inspired by the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou. The work features a libretto by Talebi, music by Aleksandra Vrebalov, direction by Ray Rallo, and performances by Merola Opera Company professional alumni, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and a small ensemble.
  • Ian Winters (Oakland) and the 12-member Lightbulb Ensemble are collaborating with Wholly H20, an organization dedicated to sustainable, localized water management in California and fiscally sponsored by the Earth Island Institute. They are creating WATERSHED MOMENTS (working title), a suite of new works that integrate live media, new music composition, and scientific data collected with the assistance of teenaged citizen scientists.

2016 Visual Arts Awardees

  • Illustrator Don Aguillo (San Francisco), 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 posters based on the comic book.
  • E.G. (Edith) Crichton (San Francisco) is collaborating with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society 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 catalog, and an exhibition.
  • Clement Hil Goldberg (San Francisco) 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 from before the AIDS crisis of the 1970s and 80s.
  • Sue Mark (Oakland) of marksearch is collaborating with Advaita Society (a.k.a. Kala Art Institute) and the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library on Commons Archive – reflecting a North Oakland neighborhood in transition. The project invites community members to contribute and annotate materials that illustrate neighborhood history.
  • Jerome Reyes (San Francisco) and the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), fiscally sponsored by the Filipino American Development Foundation ) are collaborating on a multi-platform political campaign that generates and circulates artwork throughout the neighborhood. Materials created through the project will focus on local issues of SOMCAN’s Filipino and Latin American immigrant membership.
  • Celia Herrera Rodriguez (Oakland) is collaborating with Indian People Organizing for Change (fiscally sponsored by California Indian Environmental Alliance) to create Making Ohlone Visible, a series of monuments that will mark the sites of Chochenyo Ohlone villages in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville.
  • Favianna Rodriguez (Oakland) is collaborating with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote to create Until We Are All Free, a visual arts project connecting artists and movement organizers to explore and amplify the intersection between mass incarceration and immigrant detention and deportation. The project features creation of two or three large visual art pieces for display on public transit, an art-based toolkit, and workshops to engage groups working for immigrant and refugee rights in art-based methods for sharing stories and developing compelling visual content about their causes.
  • Weston Teruya (Oakland) and Kimberley Arteche are partnering with Kearny Street Workshop to create Means of Exchange, engaging with small businesses in San Francisco’s rapidly changing South of Market district to co-create art products and pop-up businesses. The artists will spend time meeting, building trust, and offering artmaking activities to varied South of Market enterprises, eventually working with four or more businesses to co-create artworks that highlight different facets of South of Market life.

Grants are highly competitive and are recommended to the Fund by committees of accomplished panelists.

The performing arts review panelists were: Maure Aronson, Executive and Artistic Director of World Music/CRASHarts; Michael Cain, jazz musician and Brandon University Associate Professor; Grisha Coleman, assistant professor of movement, computation, and digital media at Arizona State University; Judith Smith, founder and artistic director of AXIS Dance Company; and Eric Ting, artistic director of California Shakespeare Theatre. Consultant Diane Sanchez, choreographer Erika Chong Shuch of the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, and Melissa Weaver, co-founder of First Look Sonoma, served as advisors.

Visual arts review panelists were: Robert Blackson, director of Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art; Jennifer Easton, director of the art program for Bay Area Rapid Transit; Pato Hebert, artist and associate arts professor in the Art & Public Policy Department at New York University; Astria Suparak, independent curator; and Ken Taya (Enfu), video game artist and designer. Independent curator Kate Eilertsen, muralist Eduardo Pineda, and artist Rene Yung served as advisors.

The Fund is currently inviting letters of inquiry for projects featuring literary artists or traditional artists and is hosting a series of informational seminars throughout the Bay Area.