Re-imagining the Box on May 13 at SOMArts

Re-imagining The BoxEmerging Arts Professionals / San Francisco Bay Area invites you to an evening of open forum discussion to assess where and how R&D fits into arts and cultural innovation.

Join us on May 13 at SOMArts. Register today!

When other sectors are experiencing growth at exponential rates, how can we as arts leaders re-prioritize and re-imagine the R&D process to create impactful and innovative works in our communities? Does R&D necessary lead to innovation–and what does innovation in the arts field even look like at this point?

We’re conducting a little R&D about R&D, with plans to create a real resource for those in the field who are interested in the now, new, and next.

Who are the future thinkers in the field? How can we make forward thinking in the arts a higher priority in cycles of support?

We’ve invited some future thinkers of our own to get the conversation started, but we need you to bring you own ideas (#BYOID) to make it count!

Speakers include

Mat Dryhurst, Artup and GAFTA
Jess Curtis, Director/Choreographer/Performer
Jayna Swartzman, Bay Area, Center for Cultural Innovation
Julie Potter, YBCA

Our ultimate goal with this forum is to create a resource informed from your ideas. It will offer a space to share and learn about ways our peers continue to push the field into new directions–but to get things started, we need you!

Re-imagining the Box is supported by the SOMArts Cultural Center’s Affordable Space Program, which provides subsidized, large-scale affordable space and technical assistance to nonprofits.

SOMArts receives support from the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Community Arts and Education Program with funding from Grants for the Arts/The Hotel Tax Fund.

The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. To find out about SOMArts classes, events and exhibitions, please visit


Reflections on Leadership

reflections on leadershipBy Julie McDonald

I participated in the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute last summer, a program which included a 360-degree feedback process, a week-long intensive seminar, and follow-up coaching. This experience has been a transformational learning experience for me, largely due to the rare opportunity to stop, reflect, and plan in the context of group discussions regarding effective leadership.

The importance of reflection

In the past, I resisted taking the time to reflect on my leadership because I had a sense of guilt about taking the time away from other tasks I viewed as more practical. The importance of reflection finally hit home for me as a result of the profound connections I made with the group and the intense level of discussions which we were engaged in.

As individuals, we never could have gained the depth of insights we generated as a group, nor the pragmatic applications and strategies that sprouted as a result of those insights.

Each participant, having a different set of stories, experiences, and knowledge, made a unique and valuable contribution to the group through full participation. The safe, open, and supportive atmosphere enabled for participants, including me, to completely open up their hearts and minds. It was an enormous blessing to be both giving and receiving from such an inspired, diverse group of professionals.

A 360-degree view

One of the most impactful, and somewhat horrifying, activities we engaged in was a 360-degree feedback process.

Fifteen individuals – direct reports, board members, colleagues and stakeholders – answered questions regarding my overall leadership competencies in areas such as vision, wisdom, communication, integrity, and conflict management. I could feel heart palpitations when I was handed the 40-page summary of their candid, anonymous interviews.

This was the most comprehensive and structured feedback I’d ever received in my entire career, and I had virtually no sense of what might be inside. I was able to digest the information after taking several deep breaths and reading through it several times. Being thrust into this new level of the unknown had an incredible effect on my learning. I gained new awareness of my deepest strengths and validation on things I suspected I needed to work on (always that dreaded conflict management), as well as several eye-opening comments on communication issues with my organization.

The supportive environment of the institute helped for each of us to further distill the results of our 360-degree reviews, and to create action plans around where we wanted to grow. Three months of coaching after the institute helped to bring our action plans to life.

Reflecting on a regular basis

Since the institute ended over a year ago, I’ve been consistently engaged in this new practice of slowing down and taking the time to reflect on a regular basis, resulting in a heightened sense of awareness of my own strengths and areas for improvement, as well as a deeper clarity on my core values and how they can influence my decision making. I’ve also deepened my practice of requesting ongoing feedback from others in a structured way.

Overall, my participation in the institute has enabled for me to be fully present and to make more meaningful contributions to others around me, my organization and my community.

About Julie McDonald

Julie is the executive director of Leap: Arts in Education.

Holiday Mixer

EAP Holiday Mixer
Thursday, December 6, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Center for New Music
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco (map)

Happy Hour refreshments provided
$5 suggested donation

Come meet the 2012-13 Fellows, reconnect with colleagues, and make new friends. Celebrate the year that has passed and the one that is about to begin!

RSVP on Facebook or in the comments below

Hosted by the 2012-13 EAP Fellows

Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only
Defining Success in Arts and Culture
Tuesday, August 14
6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

hosted by Cartoon Art Museum

RSVP via Eventbrite

Is it a hit? In the arts we define success in very specific ways. What does it mean for a program to be a hit? Commercial and popular success? Critical acclaim? Earned income? All of the above?

Join the Bay Area Emerging Museum Professionals and Emerging Arts Professionals SFBA as we mingle and define success in the creation and presentation of art.

This collaborative conversation and mixer will begin with short presentations from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM featuring:

Jenna Glass, Associate Director of Marketing, ODC
Annie Phillips, Musician / Public Relations Assistant, SF Symphony / Manager, Magik*Magik Orchestra
Rob Ready, Marketing Manager, ODC / Co-Founder, PianoFight
Gregory Stock, Museum Educator-Public Programs, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Brian Wiedenmeier, Institutional Giving Director, ODC

They’ll share their experiences with hit shows, describe how their organizations define success, and talk about the ways emerging arts workers can redefine and better measure success.

We’ll keep the ideas flowing with casual conversations, social media, and an “idea board,” all while enjoying drinks and snacks compliments Emerging Arts Professionals.


6:00 PM – 6:30 PM  Drinks & Networking

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM  Presentations

7:30 PM – 8:30 PM Open Discussion & Networking

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Presented by Bay Area Emerging Museum Professionals and Emerging Arts Professionals / San Francisco Bay Area, hosted by Cartoon Art Museum

The Hybrid Challenge

hybridBy Emily Lakin

Strength in variety

My colleague at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), Marc Bamuthi Joseph, was recently featured in United States Artists’ online magazine discussing his role as a seeker and hybrid. It was perfect timing as I prepared to write this post about my experience with the NextGen Arts Leadership Initiative, a project of the Creative Capacity Fund, part of the Center for Cultural Innovation.

From my perspective, nonprofit employees work beyond what is narrowly defined by our job descriptions: we are nimble, multi-skilled professionals that do everything from setting up tables for an event to managing a grant-funded program. Bamuthi muses on that further, speaking to the challenges of fitting into discrete categories as a hybrid artist-curator-teacher (and many more hyphenates).

While it may be challenging externally – to the funder trying to slot your proposal into a program area, to the journalist trying to figure out where to list your show, to the hiring manager reviewing your resume – I propose that we are stronger candidates to become leaders if we have explored a diversity of experiences and taken advantage of the valuable learning and resources available outside our own specialties.

Crowdsourcing mentorship

With that in mind, in January 2011 I proposed a NextGen Grant for a project I must honestly admit I wasn’t sure would be funded. NextGen’s guidelines stated that the grant could be used for a workshop, conference, or mentor. For this project, I wanted to crowdsource a mentorship by meeting with professionals who are actively involved in some aspects of nonprofits, social practice, philanthropy, technology, arts and innovation, though not necessarily in the arts nonprofit sector.

Instead of a single mentor, I talked with multiple people in New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, offering them lunch as a token payment for their time. In a time when most organizations have cut conference and travel budgets, this grant helped me greatly expand my network to exchange ideas and learn new information through its financial and credentialed support. And, much like my proposal to NextGen for an independent mentorship program, this series of lunches inspired me to engage in further self-directed study.

Making it together

I’ve also become increasingly aware of my role in collaborations, attempting to make something together instead of focusing on pushing my goal as the end result. I found myself seeking out opportunities for partnerships outside YBCA that would benefit both parties. In December I worked with Airbnb, a vacation rental service operating on the collaborative consumption model, to offer a week of free admission for anyone registered with their site. It was a boost for members of their community to engage in cultural activities in their own cities, or who were visiting as part of their Airbnb stay. It gave YBCA the opportunity to engage a vibrant user group, and the credit we earned in the partnership offset some of the cost to host a visiting artist during her residency in April.

Just recently I’ve been working with the artist David Shrigley and Kala Art Institute to create a limited edition print in conjunction with Shrigley’s YBCA show, Brain Activity, which runs through September.

Ideologically, these mentor conversations collapsed my perceived walls between sector silos to focus around the idea of “good” business – work that is sustainable, socially responsible, and which demonstrates an impact. I find myself ravenous to find studies or projects or companies that offer insight into the themes from this project: collaboration, philanthropy, social impact in nonprofit and for-profit spheres, and the relevance of the creative fields. As I feed myself information, I try to synthesize it into the work I’m currently doing or work I’d like to do in the future.

A call to be seekers and hybrids

As culture workers I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we ignore the trend towards the growing intersection of the public and private sector. We are primed to take advantage of all the resources out there to make ourselves and our organizations better and stronger.

I’d like to challenge my fellow emerging leaders to be seekers and hybrids as well. Build trust and integrity within your communities as you network far and wide and hopefully you will be inspired and strengthened to move forward. If you need help starting, below is a list of my areas of interest as well a few links and the list of people I’ve spoken to in the last year. I’d love to hear from the readers of EAP’s Blog Salon about what or whose work sparks their interests, and how it might inform your work as an arts professional.

Areas of Interest

  • collaborative consumption
  • partnerships and collaborations
  • alternative/continued education
  • citizen funding
  • social practice

Some things to read

Online resources

Some interesting people

About Emily Lakin

Emily has been involved in San Francisco arts and nonprofits for the past ten years, including holding positions at the 111 Minna Gallery and the Nonprofit Finance Fund. She currently works in Development at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Emily serves on the advisory board for Root Division, and has also volunteered at Intersection for the Arts and Southern Exposure. When not hands-deep in the arts in SF, you can find her @hazelbrown on Twitter, cooking up new recipes with a CSA from Eatwell Farm, and crashing startup offices throughout the city in search of skeeball machines. She earned B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College.

Image: Adapted from a photo by jaqian of artwork by Asbestos

Microfinance for the Arts: How to Build an Investing Community

By Mariko Chang, EAP Fellow Microfinance for the Arts

As artists and arts and culture workers, we are fueled by passion, ideas, and the creative process. And although we hate to admit it, we need money, too.

With that in mind, in March I attended an evening seminar at Pro Arts in Oakland to hear John Spokes, Director of Development at United States Artists, talk about microfinance opportunities through a program called USA Projects.

Microfinance with USA Projects

In 2010, United States Artists Projects (USA Projects) was formed in response to recent budget cuts and a diminishing number of individual grants available to artists. Similar to Kickstarter, the organization gives large groups of people the ability to donate small amounts of money to specific projects. For instance, Michel Varisco raised more than $11,500 over several weeks to fund a photography book in which she proposed to document the beauty and destruction of the wetlands and Gulf of Mexico.

This process, known as microfinance or microphilanthropy, uses an online platform to funnel private donations directly to artists. With the help of technology, sharing information and funding are convenient and easy, which helps to engage new donors.

Benefits for artists

  • Professional services: USA Projects provides one-on-one advice to help with your pitch and video. Dedicated staff members also provide consultation regarding project deadlines, goal setting, and social networking. (Note: Grants, fellowships, residencies, or other recognition are required prior to participating in USA Projects.)
  • Matching funds: USA Projects offers access to a pool of funding to leverage additional support. A development team assists artists by matching them with interested donors or agencies that help to build one’s personal donor base.
  • Fundraising share: Artists receive 81 percent of the money raised from the campaign (the remaining 19 percent goes to USA Projects). Although this may seem like a lot, USA Projects boasts a 75 percent success rate with an average of 114 percent raised over goal set.

Benefits for donors

  • Tax deduction: As a nonprofit with IRS 501(c)(3) tax exemption status, all donations to artists through USA Projects are tax deductible.
  • Social network: USA Projects offers social networking features as part of its website, which allows donors as well as other artists to track the progress of both an individual artist or project.

My two cents on microfinance

Early this year, the blog Read Write Web published an article stating that Kickstarter was on track to outfund the National Endowment for the Arts. For me, this proved the power of collective action, and I wondered how this model could transform the relationships between people and museums.

Today, museums struggle to address the gap between established donors and younger generations. Based on the concept of microfinance, one solution might be to give younger audiences an option that fits their lifestyle, budget, and comfort level. By providing interesting opportunities to give without it being a huge commitment, museums can help familiarize younger audiences with the idea and act of philanthropy in hopes of building life-long community members.

Have you tried microfinance, either as a donor or to fund a project? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image: Adapted from a photo by JD Hancock


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)

Order tickets via Eventbrite

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.