Saturday Nov 13, 2015: State of the Arts and Culture

Come ready to discuss the state of Bay Area Arts/Culture. What are the challenges, opportunities and assets at present in our region and what would an ideal future look like? We want you to wear your futurist hat.

This will also be an opportunity to engage in team building exercises and build communication skills through the afternoon exercises.

Guest Speakers

Before coming to the Arts Commission, Tom DeCaigny was an independent consultant, strategist and facilitator with over fifteen years of leadership experience in the fields of arts and culture, youth development and education. He has worked nationally on projects related to program evaluation and improvement, policy development, fundraising strategy, governance and organizational innovation. He founded Canopy Consulting in 2010 and was also a Senior Consultant with The Improve Group based in Minnesota. Mr. DeCaigny previously served nine years as Executive Director of Performing Arts Workshop, a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to helping marginalized young people develop critical thinking, creative expression and basic learning skills through the arts. While at The Workshop, he led three U.S. Department of Education research projects examining the impact of the arts on educationally disadvantaged youth; organized broad-based coalitions to advocate at the local, state and national levels for the role of the arts in improving public education; and managed the sustained growth of the Workshop’s annual revenue despite the economic downturn—from $529K in FY 2003 to $1.4 million in FY 2011. He has presented extensively on promising practices in program and organizational management as well as on intergenerational and emergent leadership in the independent sector.Prior to his role as Executive Director, he managed The Workshop’s Robeson and Rivera Academy, an arts-intensive middle school and treatment program for repeat juvenile offenders. He has also managed the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s National Youth Education Program, served as Director of Actor Training for the University of Minnesota’s Adolescent Actors Teaching Project, and conducted research for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He is a 2007 alumnus of the LeaderSpring fellowship program and a current member of the LeaderSpring Dialogue Series, an initiative dedicated to exploring the role of social benefit organizations in society. He has appeared on CNN International and was invited to present at the first-ever UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal.He currently serves on the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Board of Directors and statewide Policy Council. His prior board service includes two terms as Board Co-Chair of LYRIC, an LGBTQQ youth community center in San Francisco; Secretary of the SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan Advisory Committee; Host Committee Co-Chair of the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s 2010 annual conference in San Francisco; and Steering Committee Chair for Making Art, Making Change, a 2006 conference dedicated to examining the relationship between art and social change. Mr. DeCaigny has a B.A. degree in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and currently resides in San Francisco, CA. | LinkedIn: Tom DeCaigny

Meklit Hadero’s music is imbued with poetry and multiplicity, from hybridized sounds of Tizita (haunting and nostalgic music) drawing from her Ethiopian heritage, to the annals of jazz, folk songs, hip-hop and art rock. She aptly describes her music as emanating from “in-between-spaces.” Listening to Meklit Hadero transports us to the post-national space of Africa and America, inspiring us to bridge the frontiers between language, tribes and disciplines. Her songs celebrate the newness of life and the hyphens that bring us together.
Meklit has released five studio albums, and is currently signed to Six Degrees Records. She is a TED Senior Fellow, and has served as an artist-in-residence at NYU, curated a performance series at the Lincoln Center Atrium, co-designed and implemented an artist fellowship program for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and completed musical commissions for the SF Arts Commission, the Fund for Artists, the Brava Theater, and the De Young Museum. Meklit was lead artist for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts In-Community program Home [Away From] Home. and in 2011, she co-founded the Nile Project with Egyptian Ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis. Meklit is the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, former Co-Director of the Red Poppy Art House, and has received performance grants from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the Belle Foundation for Cultural Development. Meklit is currently working on a body of music steeped in Ethio-Jazz thanks to a grant from the prestigious MAP Fund. She holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University and sits on the board of YBCA. | Website: Meklit Music


  1. Bring in 3 news articles, blog posts, interviews, photographs or other forms of documentation in reference to:
    • A challenge the SF Bay Area arts community is facing and
    • An innovative, creative or artistic solution to a problem that the Bay Area arts community or the community at large is facing
  2. Consider:
    • What distinguishes the Bay Area from other regions?
    • Is there any one thing that instantly springs to mind when the term “Bay Area” is uttered?
    • Who and what are connected to this unique region?
  3. Please type up the Personal Vision Statement that you began in September and email to the Network Coordinator by the Thursday before the session.

Group Notes