The family of Ebony McKinney greatly appreciate the creation of this award to honor her legacy in such an inspiring way. We can think of no greater gift than a grant to other arts administrators driven as she was by the goals of empowering those in the arts community to help deserving artists. — Ron McKinney



Full applications for those nominated will be open from July 20 – August 12, 2018

Self-nominations are accepted. Note: self-nominators will be asked to provide an additional letter of support in the application round.

Leadership takes many forms, finding curious moments/topics to investigate and challenge. Leaders support others in visible and often invisible ways, empowering their communities and collaborators. Deeply rooted leaders often don’t get the appreciation for all the work they do. On June 11, 2018, Emerging Arts Professionals SFBA (EAP), with support from the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), opens a call for nominations (including self-nominations) for the 2018 Ebony McKinney Award. This award is a collective effort to recognize arts and culture administrators who are addressing critical issues facing San Francisco’s arts community, and to continue the work of Ebony McKinney, whose deep commitment to cultivating leaders of color and increasing equitable access to the arts in the Bay Area made a lasting positive impact locally and nationally before her death in July 2017.  

EAP will provide the awardee with $4,000 unrestricted funds to support the powerful work benefitting San Franciscans and connected Bay Area communities. We will work with SFAC and other partners to identify opportunities for the awardee to share work with practitioners, policymakers, and other allies. We hope this is a first step toward a future expanded Bay Area award with additional regional partners


  • invest in and promote emerging/innovative ideas in the field
  • center equity in their everyday work
  • engage a community of people
  • supports people in becoming/flourishing as arts advocates
  • amplify the importance of and value of artists’ roles that Ebony championed at EAP throughout her work


  • Works as an arts and culture administrator or worker; Candidates may be independent or employed by an institution or organization; May or may not also have a creative practice; May or may not have several roles and positions in and out of the field
  • Has demonstrated leadership in the field of arts and culture
  • Has at least 3 years of sustained focus exploring an emerging idea or solution for the Bay Area arts and culture field
  • Lives in San Francisco and/or has a deep and meaningful commitment to San Francisco art and culture.*
  • Are committed to collaboratively sharing/scaling/seeding their work between local and national and/or international communities
  • Actively explores one of the Affinity Topics developed by Ebony: Creative City, Culture Equity, Regenerative Practice, and/or Arts & Enterprise

*This award is funded through the San Francisco Arts Commission, so it is focused on San Francisco residents. Those who live in the greater Bay Area, but who can show a strong commitment and connection to San Francisco may also be eligible.


WHO is a Culture Worker or Arts Administrator? You work in the field of arts and culture, that may be as a teaching artist, a gallerists, curator, non profit organization staff member (who manages or produces arts programming), you may be an independent media maker who publishes or produces events, you might be a community artists who runs your own or another artists programs. You make it possible for folks in your community or beyond to have access to creative and cultural experiences. This program is not intended for individual artists looking to focus on their own individual art practice.


REGENERATIVE PRACTICES: How can we make arts administration more sustainable? What can we do as individuals to renew our energy and passion? What can we do as a network to support each other? What can we do as leaders of programs and organizations to encourage a healthier arts and culture  ecosystem?

CULTURAL EQUITY: No single racial or ethnic group forms a majority of California’s population, making the state a minority-majority state; with that dynamic in mind we’ll explore how arts workers advance the conversation on cultural equity across the sector and beyond; how do we tackle institutional or systemic oppression or rethinking creative place keeping strategies?

THE CREATIVE CITY: We will explore the utopian idea of the creative city, where artists and arts organizations are viewed as critical components of a healthy ecosystem. We’ll ask what role the arts and culture sector can play in “civic creativity” or “cultural strategy” that creates “social wealth” and helps shape public sentiment, city planning and policy.

ARTS & ENTERPRISE: We will explore the relationship between creative / cultural production and enterprise with an eye on traditional models being implemented in innovative ways and new social-impact business models that not only generate revenue but sustain projects and communities.


  • June 11– July 11 July 20, 2018 > Peer/Self-Nomination Round NOMINATE HERE
    • Nominate a colleague, mentee, mentor, instigator, collaborator, or friend! Consider who around you is doing the work but gets little attention, someone who could do exponentially more with a little more resources
    • Self-nominations are welcome during this time
    • The nomination form is 5 questions and should take no more than 12mins
  • July 12–August 12, 2018 July 21–August 15, 2018 > Application Round
    • Applications will be sent to all those who were nominated
    • Those nominated will be asked to share more about their work 
    • Those who nominate themselves will be asked to provide a letter of support from a community member to help show your local impact
    • The application form is 5 questions and should take approximately 30 (thoughtful) minutes to complete
  • August 15–September 20, 2018  > Application Review by Committee
    • The review committee members are familiar with the Bay Area Arts & Culture field and Ebony’s work and vision
    • List of Committee Members coming soon
  • September 20, 2018 > Award Ceremony & Public Announcement at SFAC Annual Grant Convening
  • February 2019> Reporting on the impact of the award 
    • Details to come, but we aim to keep it short and sweet
  • ROLES:
    • EAP will receive the nominations, contact nominees to complete the application form, check for application completion, convene the review committee, and manage the logistics of the award
    • SFAC acting as the funder for this program, working with EAP to support SF-based arts and culture workers through leadership development
    • Selection Committee reviews nominations and applications, makes the final award decision, and will provide network support to the awardee


MADE is open to anyone living and working in the Bay Area (within the counties of: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma). No prior participation in EAP is required, however the strongest proposals come from those familiar with the goals and tone of our programs. Members of the network are able to receive MADE support once each year, provided that any previous grants through EAP are completed and final reports are filed and approved. Projects are expected to be presented in partnership with EAP and we’ll work with you to present a midpoint reflection (if the project is not yet completed) at Emergence 2017 in May/June. Projects must be in some way publicly accessible within the Bay Area.


The Selection Committee will review nominations and applications based on how well the candidates: invests in and promotes emerging/innovative ideas in the field; centers equity in their everyday work; engages a community of people; supports people in becoming/flourishing as arts advocates; and amplifies the importance of and value of artists’ roles in the field.

For additional information or clarification, contact us, Rhiannon and Katherin, the Co-Directors, at engagement at emergingsf dot org.