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The Creative Work Fund is pleased to award 17 new grants to Greater Bay Area artists collaborating with community organizations to develop new works of visual art, theater, music composition, dance, artistic activism, social practice, and more. Grantees continue to show us how the making of art together is a necessary act and when artists and organizations are in partnership, they strengthen the Bay Area.

The funded projects speak to how artists are groundbreaking, with projects rooted in the power of history, visibility, and imagination through: creating a full-length, headphone chamber opera about an alternate reality in which the transatlantic slave trade is reimagined as an intergalactic fortress with African characters embodied as technologically superior beings; uplifting Latinx Indigenous practices in response to global warming through an immersive site-specific installation featuring sculptures, projections, and Indigenous languages of southern Mexico; leading a visual oral history project and an ode to San Francisco’s Black community and culture from past to present; mapping the historical and cultural relationships between Mexico and Cuba in a new musical collection with themes of resistance, solidarity, and liberation.

Other projects activate public space, using art as an ecstatic form of community organizing, reminding us that the future begins out in the open by: sparking publicly accessible interventionist artworks that draw attention to San Francisco’s critical public health crises, opioid overdoses and housing insecurity; leading a community-engaged multidisciplinary sound work and data-gathering initiative commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Ghost Ship fire; engaging an emerging collective of Bay Area queer Black performance artists to blur the lines between Black sociality, spectatorship, and performance in a site-specific conversation about the Pier 3 Festival Pavilion; developing neighborhood portraits, an online-story library, zine, and large-scale installation to accompany a new Sobrante Park neighborhood orchard to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.

Some projects show how artists model collective care, transformative healing, and joy in: producing a performance showcase featuring new deaf drag artists developing the art of drag and the culture and language of the deaf community; creating a video series led by formerly incarcerated young adults to amplify a campaign to end youth criminalization; pairing five Bay Area innovators in Bharatnatyam (a form of South Indian Classical dance) with women who are domestic violence survivors to create a full-length community-engaged dance-theater presentation; celebrating the internal and external experiences of Richmond youth and artists with dance, storytelling, and original music in collaboration with a youth ballet ensemble; collaboratively designing a sonic tablecloth documenting immigrant oral histories of food holidays, traditions, and recipes in the context of place, migration, home, and belonging.

Natalia Vigil, Relationship Manager for the Arts and Creative Work Fund comments, “These projects exemplify how artists create meaningful work through collaborations with people, places, and matters that are important to them. Together, artists and organizations can powerfully act on their mutual commitment to Bay Area communities.”

Grants Awarded

Since 1994, the Creative Work Fund has awarded $17.91 million to advance artmaking by Bay Area artists working in a variety of disciplines. The 2024 grants, which range in size from $32,000-$50,000 were highly competitive and recommended to the Fund by multidisciplinary, community-centered committees of distinguished reviewers.

African American Art & Culture Complex and lead artist Jarrel Phillips will collaborate to create Black:Home, an ode to San Francisco’s Black community and culture from past to present with words, movement, a book of oral history and portrait photography, augmented reality, and a mixed-media exhibition of film and photography.

Artist Magnet Justice Alliance and lead artist Brianna Sinclairé, with Tyshawn Sorey and Douglas Kearney, are collaborating to create an Afrofuturism-themed, immersive headphone opera, Go2 Wilderness, to premiere at the SF Ferry Building in 2027.

Berkeley Art Center, lead artist Torreya Cummings and collaborating artist Sarah Lowe will collaborate to create Black Point Reinterpretive Site, a large-scale immersive installation with ephemera, self-guided walking tour, and informational gallery guide publication.

CURYJ and lead artist Josh Healey will collaborate to create a short video series “Laughter and Liberation: Dream Beyond Bars” highlighting the importance of the Dream Beyond Bars campaign to end youth criminalization.

East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and lead artist Robert Moses, with the East Bay Center’s Iron Triangle Urban Ballet, will collaborate to create In Visibility, a performance embodying the internal and external experiences of Richmond youth and artists who are disproportionately affected by systems oppression.

Fort Mason Center and lead artist Stephanie Hewett, with the queer, Black performance collective RUPTURE, will collaborate to create Diasporadica, an evening of three-hour long choreographic experiments in site specific conversation with the history and architecture of the Pier 3 Festival Pavilion.

Glide Foundation’s Center for Social Justice and lead artist Joel Yates, with the Skywatchers performance collective, will collaborate to create Calling Us In, a series of publicly accessible and multi-disciplinary interventionist artworks that draw attention to San Francisco’s critical and twin public health crises: opioid overdoses and housing insecurity.

Kronos Performing Arts Association and Victoria Shen will collaborate to create and perform Unfurling the Scroll, a new piece of concert music.

Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana and lead artist Viviana Paredes will collaborate to create an immersive site-specific installation that uplifts Latinx Indigenous practices and languages in response to global warming.

Narika and lead artist Shruti Abhishek will collaborate to create And She Spoke, a full-length community-engaged dance-theater presentation featuring women’s stories and voices through a year-long community-engaged process of workshops, creative intensives and work-in-progress public performances.

Planting Justice and lead artist Kate DeCiccio, with collaborating artists Hiroyo Kaneko, and Malaya Tuyay will collaborate to create Portraits of Rerooting in Transformative Community: neighborhood portraits, online story library, zine, and large-scale installation accompanying a new neighborhood orchard in Sobrante Park.

Queer Arts Featured and lead artist Casey Trujillo will collaborate to create the Deaf Drag Empowerment Residency & Showcase: a new performance showcase featuring new deaf drag artists and transmitting concrete skills in both the art of drag and the culture and language of the deaf community.

San Francisco Jazz Organization and lead artist Edward Simon will collaborate to create a multi-disciplinary work for jazz big band, Afro-Venezuelan percussion, dance, and storytelling through video projections of migrants, refugees and immigrants along a trek spanning 3,000 miles across eight countries.

TurkxTaylor Initiative and lead artist Jo Kreiter will collaborate to create Down on the Corner. a dance-based public art project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district that joins transgender visibility with prison systems change.

Vital Arts and lead artist Alexandrea Archuleta will collaborate to create a new community-engaged multidisciplinary sound work, The Ghost Ship Symphony, engaging a community of artists and activists to create a series of collaborative artistic installations/actions culminating in December 2026 with a full-length symphonic/operatic work commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Ghost Ship fire.

Voice of Witness and lead artist Elena Botkin-Levy, in partnership with East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, will collaborate to create Setting the Table: Stories of Food and Belonging: a sonic tablecloth that connects Oakland communities through stories centered on food holidays, traditions, and recipes in the context of place, migration, home, and belonging.

Women’s Audio Mission and lead artist Cecilia Cassandra Cassandra Peña-Govea, (“La Doña”) will collaborate to record, produce, and present a new album featuring a collection of boleros and sones entitled El Pueblo en Lucha.

About the Creative Work Fund

The Creative Work Fund was initiated in 1994 by four Bay Area foundations that wanted to contribute to the creation of new artworks and support local artists. It is now a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by generous grants from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For 30 years, Creative Work Fund grants have celebrated the role of artists as problem-solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to we-making and artistic innovation that strengthens communities.

Annually, the Fund considers applications from artists and nonprofit organizations in 10 greater Bay Area counties (extending from Napa and Sonoma to Santa Cruz).

Proposals were reviewed by Bay Area-based readers and panelists selected from an open call for nominations. Multi-disciplinary, community reviewers include Bryan Alvarez, PhD, Director of School Partnerships, East Bay Center for Performing Arts, educator, entrepreneur, researcher, co-founder of educational outreach programs, professional musician, and seasoned public speaker; Alita Edgar, Artistic Director of the SF Institute of Possibility and artist and co-founder of the art parks Music Box Village, a sound art site, and Stars & Moon, a place for floating artworks, and creates large-scale social practice works; Conrad Guevara, artist and curator based in Richmond, California and one third of the art collaborative Bonanza with exhibitions around the Bay Area; Shantré Pinkney, filmmaker, writer, and photographer and current art fellow with Asian Improv Arts and Kala Art Institute; and Patanisha Williams, fourth-generation Oaklander and co-founder of the Pata Ali Love Club, an art and media production company.

Readers advising on the 119 proposals received were: jose e abad, queer performance artist, freelance arts administrator, community organizer, dancer, and the newest Arts Facilitator in Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers’ Skywatchers Program; Megan Broughton, visual artist and California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellow whose work stems from onsite study in the Arctic, spanning painting, drawing, and experimental etching to share faraway environments crucial to our everyday lives; Gabriele Christian, artist specializing in experimental choreography, high dramatics, social practice, and poetics whose work metabolized the vernaculars within BlaQ (Black+Queer) diaspora through body-based live stage or public performances and digital interventions; Nefertiti Asanti Martin, poet, cultural worker, and fundraiser, recipient of fellowships and residencies and the winner of the inaugural Start a Riot! Chapbook Prize and the 2023 SFF/Nomadic Press Literary Award; Steve Polta, Archivist and Artistic Director of San Francisco Cinematheque and co-editor of Craig Baldwin: Avant to Live!; and Andrea Saenz, Deputy Director at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa, California.

The Creative Work Fund will soon announce additional programming this year to mark the 30th anniversary of its work, with recognition and celebration of the 470 collaborations it has supported since 1994. CWF grantmaking continues in 2025. Guidelines, deadlines, and informational webinars for interested applicants will be announced in the new year at