The Artist-Administrator Balancing Act

Wednesday, May 23, 5-7pm (reception to follow)
The Artist-Administrator Balancing Act
A Panel Discussion / Workshop
The San Francisco Foundation,
225 Bush Street, Suite 500

This is a Free event. Space is limited; order tickets on Eventbrite.

Arts administrators simultaneously working as artists balance the demands of multiple professions, a common challenge in the field. While different artistic disciplines require unique time and space for practice, creation and performance, the “work-work-life balance” of artist/administrators is a creative pursuit in itself.

In wearing multiple hats, How do artist/administrators navigate potential conflicts of interest? Also, How does the level of commercial demand for one’s art impact the sustainability of the practice? During the discussion, panelists and audience participants will consider how arts workers can feasibly balance two careers, as well as the ways in which one’s artistic practice informs administrative output and vice versa.

Panelists discussing these topics will include:
Karl Cronin, Cellist, Composer and Arts Consultant and Researcher
Kathy Jaller,
Designer/Maker and New Media Manager, Contemporary Jewish Museum
Rebecca Novick, Theater Director, Dramaturg, and Arts Consultant
Ron Ragin, Poet, Vocalist, and Program Officer, Performing Arts Program, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Moderated by Kevin Seaman, Media Artist and Arts and Culture Program Assistant, The San Francisco Foundation

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The Artist as Citizen and Public Arts Partnerships

The Artist as Citizen

and Public Arts Partnerships

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street, Suite 109, San Francisco (map)

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EAP brings together dynamic panelists to discuss artistic citizenship and issues of engagement with place.


For this program, among other inquiries, we ask:

* To what degree have artists become agents of community revitalization and place-making?

* How are cluster initiatives in the development of city spaces facilitating the role of artistic citizenship and providing opportunities for partnership with the public?

* In what ways are cities, curators, and organizations utilizing elements of the New Deal/ WPA legacy to create a new model for artists as citizens?

David KasprzakArtist
Julio Morales, Artist / Adjunct Curator, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Jennifer Parker, Professor of Art and Digital Art and New Media, UC Santa Cruz / Co-founder, OpenLab
Randy Rollison, Innovation Studio Director, Intersection for the Arts
Lizzie Wallack, envelope architecture + Design / Project Architect, ProxySF
Moderator: Sanjit Sethi, Co-Director, CCA Center for Art & Public Life

5-5:30pm Networking
5:30-7:30pm Moderated discussion and Q & A
7:30-8pm Reception (light refreshments will be available)

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This event is free and open to the public


Panelist Biographies:

David Kasprzak was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2000 he attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, where he received his B.F.A. in Fine Arts. In 2003 Kasprzak was awarded a scholarship to Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, where he focused on ancient art history and Italian cinema. During his stay in Italy, Kasprzak wrote and directed a feature length film titled Hitting The Same Car Twice. Upon returning to Columbus, Ohio, he began working for the Wexner Center for the Arts as a curatorial assistant and artist-in-residence. The final exhibition of his videos and sculpture was titled If Morning Never Comes (We’ll Be Just Fine). Kasprzak moved to San Francisco in 2005 to begin several curatorial endeavors, including organizing the group exhibition HYPERSPACES at Park Life, which presented the work of artists Sean McFarland, Paul Wackers, Orion Shepherd, and James Sterling Pitt. Kasprzak is currently pursuing his MA in Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts. His work has been exhibited in various galleries in California, Italy, Ohio, and Philadelphia, and often deals with subjects such as geometry, destruction, displacement, and paranoia in a humorous light.

Jennifer Parker is co-founder of Openlab and a Professor of Art and Digital Art and New Media at the University of California Santa Cruz. Parker’s research is rooted in sculpture, interactive art, new media, and kinetic art, including cross-disciplinary and collaborative research. Current projects explore new methodologies for art making that engage innovative, creative and collaborative research with art, community, design, technology, and science. Parker has exhibited internationally at a variety of venues including The War Memorial Museum in Seoul, Korea; the World Trade Center in Osaka, Japan; the Iskra History Museum in Kazanlak, Bulgaria; Califia Galerie and Skolska 28 Galerie in the Czech Republic. Locally Parker has exhibited, performed and presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Camerawork; The LAB; Gray Area Foundation for the Arts; Southern Exposure; SFMOMA; Kala Art Institute; and ZER01 Biennial in San Jose. Parker’s work has been supported by NASA California Space Consortium; Art Matters; the New Forms Regional Grant administered by the Inter-Arts Program of the NEA; and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

Randy Rollison (Innovation Studio Director, Intersection for the Arts) has served in a leadership role in arts organizations in New York City, Cleveland and Portland, Oregon before joining the staff of Intersection in 2008. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, he is an award winning producer, director and actor. He is known primarily for developing and producing the world premier of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”, which has had a global impact and proves that art does indeed have the power to change lives.

Born in Rochester, New York, Sanjit Sethi has done a residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, as well as earned a master of science in advanced visual studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Visual Arts Program in 2002. His work consistently deals with issues of nomadism, identity, the residue of labor, memory, and movement in the urban sphere—all of which involve various disparate social and geographic communities.Having completed a Fulbright Fellowship in India on the Building Nomads Project, Sanjit continued his strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration while director of the MFA Program at the Memphis College of Art. His dedication to diverse forms of artistic practice extends in his new position as CCA’s chair of the Community Arts Program and codirector of CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life. Sanjit’s current work includes a collaborative project, titled Urban Defibrillation, the Gypsy Bridge Project, and the Kuni Wada Bakery.

Lizzie Wallack, Designer and Project Manager at envelope a + d, received her undergraduate degree in furniture design at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco. After a brief stint as a photo stylist back in Boston, she returned to (the newly re-branded) California College of Arts to explore her curiosities concerning the built environment, people, and space. Her Masters of Architecture included several competitive distinctions: Jury Prizes, Design Excellence Awards, and the highly regarded Thesis Prize. She will be teaching her first course at CCA this summer. She remains hungry to envision the future of design while bookmarking images of late ‘60s-early ‘70s muscle cars, which one day she will have…in white, of course.

Taxes, the Arts, and You

By Karl Cronin, EAP Fellow

From a Sobering Affair … to Ecstasy?

On February 18, at 5:00 p.m., I left Fort Mason feeling oddly ecstatic. My pulse racing, I jumped on my bike and peddled feverishly. Blowing through stop signs. Dodging dog walkers. I simply couldn’t wait to get home and… start my 2011 tax return.

I should preface my story by saying that until California Lawyers for the Arts’ workshop Relax with Tax, I had been the kind of tax payer who puts off filing as long as possible. It’s depressing to look at meager performer stipends sitting in the files alongside travel receipts from festivals where I barely broke even. Filing taxes as an emerging artist is a sobering affair.

Relax with Tax focused primarily on the kinds deductions that sole proprietors should consider taking on their Schedule Cs. I have filed Schedule Cs since 2007 and, much to my surprise, I found I had indeed been taking all the appropriate deductions for my business. I always thought there was some magic deduction I’d been overlooking. Nope. Just the deductions you’d expect (home office, business travel, research expenses, etc.).

However, here are two takeaways I found useful.

It’s All One Business

Early in the workshop I asked if I should be filing two schedule Cs since I work in two distinct capacities: as an independent artist and as an independent arts consultant. The instructor, Tom Andres J.D, C.P.A., said, “No.” They are both arts-related and can go on the same Schedule C. For years I have leveraged my meager earnings as a freelance arts consultant to offset the losses from my emerging art practice. I have always felt it is one continuum of arts production, so it was a relief to find out that the federal government sees it the same way.

Hobby Loss Rule and Audits

We spent a lot of time in the workshop talking about the hobby loss rule, which basically discourages filers from claiming deductions for hobbies. The IRS wants you to make a profit. More specifically, they want to tax you on that profit. They want to make sure you are actually in it to win it. To make same cash. Otherwise, the deductions you’re taking for your “hobby” are just scamming the system.

As an independent artist, I have been afraid of an audit because I know that the IRS likes to see a profit after three years. While I’ve never reported a loss on my business, there have been years (particularly when I’ve been incubating new work) where my profits are awkwardly meager.

Yet my intent to be a gainfully-employed full-time artist are documented and clear. I create work. I send it out. I change tactics when things aren’t working. I join associations. I show up to meetings. I file my taxes. I’ve dedicated my life to making this a thriving business. I left the workshop feeling confident that were I to be audited, I could present my business with confidence. And you can too, by holding onto all those business cards, conference programs, notes from your research meetings, and your calendar.

This Arts Hustle

When I arrived home I dumped my receipts on the floor, and began sifting through the year. Relax with Tax confirmed that the piecemeal life I live — in which one day I’m writing a grant, another day producing a photo shoot, the next day coaching the ED of a nonprofit, or editing a promotional video — is indeed a business.

The nonprofit arts sector has some serious problems. We’ve all been to the conference break-out sessions: “Where are the patrons?” “Concert dance in the age of new media.” “Music licensing in the age of Youtube.” Yet, step by step, year by year, we are each building sustainable arts practices against the odds. If we each can become crystal clear about our income, expenses, ROIs, margins, and tax deductions, perhaps we can participate more fully in the collective building of a new arts economy.

Are you working on your taxes now? Let us know in the comments what challenges you’ve faced and what advice you’ve found helpful.

Image: Images of Money

Mapping MAPP: The Mission Arts Performance Project

By Katie Fahey, EAP Fellow

Moving images were projecting on the horizontal boards of the backyard fence on Shotwell Street, sounds emanating from the speaker system running through conjoined power bars. Artists Sebastian Alvarez, Ralph Vazquez Concepcion, and Surabhi Saraf were rehearsing for the following night at Patio 308.

“What’s happening here? It’s 9:30,” grumbled a neighbor. Informing the newcomer about the Mission Arts & Performance Project (MAPP) was an exercise in delicate diplomacy. Yes, there will be loud noises. No, it is not just a party. Yes, you are invited.

Easy to join; hard to explain

Participating in MAPP is easy. It is describing MAPP that often is not. To wit, one prominent funder in the San Francisco arts world once wrote me of it, “the event that I’m forgetting the name of — the free, open-house, neighborhood program.”

A testament not to any lack of popularity of the bimonthly arts festival — which routinely attracts hundreds to its happenings — this speaks to, rather, the beauty of MAPP: its abstract nature and its unpredictability.

But if you had to describe it . . .

MAPP is a decentralized operation, open to artists, curators, and venues, established or not. Among those involved, experience levels vary significantly — from distinguished visual artists, accomplished musicians and published poets to first time arts presenters and “amateur” artists. A veritable acknowledgement of contemporary and community arts and culture in the Mission District, MAPP also offers a nonrestrictive, experimental platform for all participants — in particular a chance for artists to incubate a new work or test-run a new partnership.

For those desiring, a seasoned, supportive network is highly accessible. Need a venue? Someone has a garage/garden/living room for you. Need musicians? Each person in the room knows more than thirty of them. Never put on a performance event before? This friend has an amp you can borrow!

MAPP is the people who gather and performances that happen every other month. With an estimated average of fifteen venues per MAPP, and multiple performances in every space, there can be more than one hundred individuals engaged in aspects of planning and production each time.

Why get involved?

My playing a role in MAPP for the first time as an organizer this February was something that emerged quite organically. Through my position with the Red Poppy Art House, the inaugural MAPP venue, I had been aware of the program and attended many of the events. However, being excited by the prospect of working with talented artists and friends to contribute something uniquely our own was an important impetus.

No participant in the MAPP receives financial compensation. In fact, MAPP runs with zero funding whatsoever. At every location entry is free. Fantasies about how the pieces from Patio 308 would look projected on a much larger surface like the Great Wall in downtown Oakland might have to wait.

Unfolding the MAPP

On the night of the event of course I wondered, “Will anyone come?” In part this question was founded. The map for the MAPP (pun intended) provided locations for fifteen venues and ours was a distance from some of the others. The home of our friends, Jon and Ralph, we marked with shiny lettering at the door, and offered free sangria to visitors.

In the end, plenty of people came, saw, and were even moved by the video and performances. Veteran MAPPers came to check out the new addition, Mission Local readers who had seen the piece on the festival stopped by, and other friendly neighbors curiously wandered over. I spoke with a Japanese tourist about the digitally-manipulated footage being shown by artist Ralph Vazquez — taken, incidentally, from a recent trip of his own to Tokyo.

With the only glitch of the evening coming from the overloaded outlets providing power for the speakers and old-school fans that were part of Spin 4, the performance by Sebastian Alvarez and Surabhi Saraf, we mused post-event about the energy input and output of the evening. On the subject of their performance featuring large, colorful, fluid images projected live and accompanied by soft, murmuring vocals and the dissonant chopping of the fans, it was said modestly, “We were just trying to understand what we were doing.”

I believe that other participants would agree that the goal is not to gain name recognition or even an elevator speech for the MAPP – though, of course, these tools might prove useful when conveying to prudish neighbors its value and purpose. More important is to make the event come alive with the highest level of vitality possible, and to create awareness so others might be able to replicate it in their own neighborhoods, here or in other cities.

To get involved in MAPP, contact Rafael Sarria (rafael at redpoppyarthouse dot org), Georege Brais (georgebrais at gmail dot com), Jorge Molina (415.240.9125), or David Kubrin (415.824.8566). Or join the Facebook group.

Image: Ewedistrict

Meet the 2011-12 EAP Fellows

We’re very proud to e-introduce you to this year’s EAP Fellows. Over the course of nine months, this group of 19 arts and culture leaders will dig deep into focus areas including Media, Community Engagement, Business Development, and Information Systems, and collaborate to present the programs of EAP and their own innovative projects.

The 2011-12 EAP Fellows are:

Kathleen Brennan (Z Space), Stacy Bond (KQED, AudioLuxe), Katherin Canton (CCA Center for Art & Public Life, Rock Paper Scissors Collective), Mariko Chang (Cantor Arts Center, JFK University), Karl Cronin (composer-performer), Michael DeLong (TechSoup), Katie Fahey (Red Poppy Art House), Marcella Faustini (NOMA Gallery), Joshua Hesslein (UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies), Sheena Johnson (Zaccho Dance Theatre), Sasha Kelley (, Esther Manilla (National Radio Project), Lex Non Scripta (Million Fishes Arts Collective), Julie Potter (Liss Fain Dance), Virginia Reynolds (SF Performances), Danielle Siembieda (Zer01, You Are Theater), Alyson Sinclair (City Lights Publishers), Colleen Stockmann (Contemporary Jewish Museum).

They join the Leadership Group of Adam Fong (EAP Director; Other Minds), Chida Chaemchaeng (Communications/Marketing/PR Consultant), Bea Dominguez (Zambato Group), Lauren Frieband (Lawrence Hall of Science), and Ernesto Sopprani (THEOFFCENTER).

Read more about the Fellows here
, and please contact us to suggest future programming and project ideas!