Saturday, January 14, 2017: CREATIVE CITY

We will begin by exploring 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 sector can play in “civic creativity” or “cultural strategy” that creates “social wealth” and helps shape public sentiment, city planning and policy. We will also discuss the robust migration of the technology community from Silicon Valley to San Francisco and Oakland and the effect it’s had on the non-profit and commercial arts sector. Could we have predicted the challenges? How can we move forward? Can a revived social logic, balancing independence and interdependence cultivate resilience for artists, arts and culture workers and arts organizations?


  • Understand own growth areas, limits, organization and communication style, and when to step up / step back
  • Strengthen capacity for mindful listening, peer coaching, and priority setting across complex situations
  • Prototype an emerging model for leadership that is response/reflective of the complex context of the Bay Area or own organization

Guest Speakers

Cristina Ibarra, Events Coordinator, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.

Cristina Ibarra is Events Manager at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. She has 7 years experience in arts programming and event production, including 5 years experience in curating outdoor performing arts through the Mission Arts Performance Project (MAPP). Before joining the Festival, she worked as Programs Manager at ArtSpan, as Event Producer for Oakland-based LATE NITE ART, and as Performance Anchor at the Red Poppy Art House. She is a former Emerging Arts Professionals Fellow, a NextGen grant recipient, and a member of California Presenters All Leadership Program. Cristina is an experienced organizer, performer, and community emcee, and is committed to manifesting equity in arts leadership. She enjoys riding her bike, teaching salsa, and singing three-part harmonies.

Jessica Shaefer, Global Art Program Manager, Facebook

Jessica Shaefer is an independent consultant to galleries and arts organizations nationally and the Project Director of Sites Unseen, an upcoming initiative that will activate San Francisco’s Yerba Buena alleys with public art programming. She is also the co-founder of Mixed Use, a series of events focused on artist-chef collaborations, and a proud board member of The Lab, a longstanding experimental art space in San Francisco. Previously, Jessica ran a contemporary art gallery in New York City and was Communications Director at Creative Time, the renowned public art nonprofit organization. She graduated from Wesleyan University.

Desi Mundo, Founder, Community Rejuvenation Project

Desi Mundo is the founder of the Community Rejuvenation Project. Over the past three years, under his direction, CRP has produced more than 100 murals, primarily in the Bay Area as well as Chicago, Albuquerque, and Bologna, Italy. As an artist, he collaborated with influential aerosol artists such as ZORE, P.H.A.S.E.2, VULCAN, and RAVEN. Desi also has a long history as an educator and youth worker in K-12 schools, such as Oakland Unity High School, ARISE, Calvin Simmons, and OASIS in Oakland for the past 13 years. He has been recognized with a “Best of the Bay” Award by the East Bay Express for his monthly youth art series, the “Weekend Wake-Up.” Desi has a long history of community organizing and public art advocacy. He received the “Rising Leaders Fellowship from the Youth Leadership Institute in 2005. He has worked with numerous non-profit and community organizations, such as Urban Tilth, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, and United Roots forming lasting partnerships and powerful alliances. Desi has organized and painted murals that can be found all over the Bay Area, as well as in Chicago, Santa Fe, Montana and South Dakota. He is the founder of the Community Rejuvenation Project. He facilitates an after-school mural workshop called the Arrow-Soul Council.

Readings & Assignments

12/19/16 UPDATE: Meet at Center for New Music at 9:30am for coffee and light breakfast, then we’ll go on a walking tour of the Tenderloin led by Del Seymour (10am-11:30am).

The Creative City by Charles Landry p.11-31 (artists p. 15)

Knight Cities: A conversation with Theaster Gates:

Healthy Arts Ecosystem by Createquity

Reading reflection questions:

  • How can a focus on creativity change the way our cities work?
  • What is the ideal role of artist and creative place-makers in the civic landscape?
  • What is the reality of the role in most urban centers?
  • Identify some possible actions to change that role.


(1)Identify two Bay Area organizations that stand out for you. Gather information about them and how they are connected to one another (doesn’t matter how, you can use your imagination). In reference to your two organizations, consider:

  • What is the connection between them?
  • How do they play off of one another?
  • Do they share audience?
  • Examine similar themes in their work?
  • Do they seek the same funding? What else?

(2)Prepare a 15 minute presentation for January session with at least 2 possible final project ideas

Group Assignment: Prepare to share the outline and structure of your focus project with the larger group. Each group will be given 15 minutes for presentation and 20 minutes for question and answer/refinement.

  • You will be asked the following questions about the project:
    • Is it a product/service/event?
    • Is it a relationship building enterprise?
    • Is it s a communications platform, getting ideas and information to people?
    • Is it something that can be scaled larger?
    • Does it work best as a small venture?
    • How will you measure success?
    • How will this add to the conversations taking place now and in five years in the Bay Area arts?