Emergence 2013: A Day of Uncommon Learning with EAP

Emergence 2013Join Emerging Arts Professionals / San Francisco Bay Area on June 3 at 10:00 a.m. at SPUR Urban Center  for Emergence, our daylong annual convening.

Emergence provides a collaborative platform for Bay Area arts and culture workers to connect, share ideas, and elevate their work and voices.

This, our third year, revolves around three overarching themes calling for attention: open systems: talking diversity beyond butts-in-seats, networked approaches: the power of collaboration, and regenerative practices: how individuals and organizations sustain themselves.

We’ve reached out to our community to gather thoughts on these topics — thoughts informing the flow of conversation throughout the day. Shaking up the typical conference model, Emergence presents an experience to engage and energize. Learning will unfold in many directions, demanding your input while sparking new ideas.

From the interactive morning keynote to an afternoon yoga break to the final session — a “fishbowl” exercise to synthesize the day’s ideas and lessons — you’ll be stimulated and renewed. Reflecting the very themes we’ll discuss during the day, sessions are designed to be multi-perspective, participatory, and restorative. As a group, we’ll capture emerging ideas to inform our plans for the year ahead while reflecting on and celebrating the work of our outgoing fellows.

Register today! Space is limited.
Tickets are $40 with 50% discount volunteer rate available. To inquire about volunteer opportunities, email adam [at] emergingsf [dot] org.


Emergence Schedule 



Frances Phillips, program director, Arts and the Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
Favianna Rodriguez, artist and organizer
Ernesto Sopprani, EAP director of community engagement, founder director of the [ABC] Consortium and THEOFFCENTER
Gregory Stock,  public programs educator and event specialist, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco



Brianna Haag, SF marketing manager at Eventbrite
Emma Leggat, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at StubHub
Alison Murdock, VP of Marketing at GigaOM and board member at Music in Schools Today
Facilitated by Maura Lafferty,  independent PR consultant


Lynn Johnsonco-Founder/CEO, Glitter & Razz Productions
Tammy Johnsondancer and organizational equity consultant
Ron Ragin, program officer for the arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Clare Wintertonexecutive director of the International Museum of Women
Facilitated by Karena SalmondEAP fellow & program director, Performing Arts Workshop


Emma Bailey, Associate Producer, Citizen Film,  Co-Host, Spokespeople
Carrie Blanding, former executive director of San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Yesenia Sanchez
coach and consultant



Facilitated conversation


Awele Makeba, producer of free performance series by Magic Theatre at Laney College
Rebecca Novick; director of the Triangle Lab (Intersection for the Arts & Cal Shakes)
Facilitated by Arielle Julia Brown, EAP fellow & theatre teaching artist, Destiny Arts Center & artistic director, The Love Balm Project

Facilitated conversation

Yoga with Julie Potter, Senior Program Manager at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Facilitated by Adam Fong, director of EAP & executive director of Center for New Music



Speakers and Facilitators

Carrie Blanding, former executive director of San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Arielle Julia Brown, EAP fellow & theatre teaching artist, Destiny Arts Center & artistic director, The Love Balm Project
Adam Fong, director of EAP & executive director of Center for New Music
Brianna Haag, SF marketing manager at Eventbrite
Clara Hatcher, president & co-founder, Bay Area Emerging Museum Professionals
Lynn Johnson, co-Founder/CEO, Glitter & Razz Productions
Tammy Johnson, dancer and organizational equity consultant
Maura Lafferty, independent PR consultant
Emma Leggat, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at StubHub
Lex Leifheit, executive director, SOMArts Cultural Center
Awele Makeba, producer of free performance series by Magic Theatre at Laney College
Alison Murdock, VP of Marketing at GigaOM and board member at Music in Schools Today
Rebecca Novick, director of the Triangle Lab (Intersection for the Arts & Cal Shakes)
Frances Phillips, program director, Arts and the Creative Work Fund, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
Julie Potter, program assistant, Community Engagement and Performing Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Ron Ragin, program officer for the arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Favianna Rodriguez, artist and organizer
Karena Salmond, EAP fellow & program director, Performing Arts Workshop
Yesenia Sanchez, coach and consultant
Ernesto Sopprani, EAP director of community engagement, founder director of the Arts Building Consortium and THEOFFCENTER
Gregory Stock, public programs educator and event specialist, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Sean Waugh, assistant to the director of artistic administration, SF Opera
Clare Winterton, executive director of the International Museum of Women
Tyese Wortham, program associate, cultural equity grants, San Francisco Arts Commission

To see what Emergence is all about, read the recaps from last year’s convening.

SPUR Urban Center
654 Mission Street (between 2nd and 3rd)
San Francisco, CA 94105

Join our collaborative Notepad by clicking the image below


Bay Area Arts Skyline 2015 Event Recap

The Arts Skyline 2015What will the Bay Area arts skyline look like in 2015? The cultural landscape is constantly evolving in the Bay Area. New openings, closings, and innovations are inevitable in a metropolitan area. On March 27, EAP hosted a panel of leaders in the arts fields at the Center for New Music to discuss the challenges facing local arts institutions, small and large.

The panel featured Barrett Shaver, director of development, SF JAZZ; Christopher Borg, executive director, Community Music Center; Gina Basso, public programs, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Jack Carpenter, production director, SF Ethnic Dance Festival.

Though looking towards the future was ultimately on everyone’s minds, the conversation stayed within the current context. Themes of the conversation revolved around staffing, capital campaigns, space, and project-based venues versus an actual building. We wanted to share some kernels of the experience with our larger network. Also, we love to continue the conversation beyond the brick and mortar, so feel free to add your comments.

Adam Fong, executive director of both Emerging Arts Professionals / SFBA and the Center for New Music, took the brave task of navigating the arts skyline with consistency and curiosity.

Some highlights of the current Bay Area Arts Skyline

The Exploratorium closed in Fall 2012 at the Palace of Fine Arts and will re-open on April 17 at Pier 15 with a new building.

The SFMOMA will be closing its doors for three years on June 2 to make way for construction of a 235,000 square foot addition. Until early 2016, the SFMOMA will present new art experiences around the Bay Area as the building is transformed.

SF JAZZ recently opened a brand new facility on the corner of Franklin and Fell streets to wide acclaim, moving from project-based to a cultural institution.

The Community Music Center will be expanding with the purchase of a neighboring house. Christopher Borg says it will make CMC more of a “campus.” CMC has been in the same building in the Mission district since 1921.

World Arts West, the organization hosting the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, continues to have the conversation about finding a permanent home, believing they need to make the move to a more established organization within the city.

There is a light that never goes out

Overall, the tone is continuing to strive to be experimental with space, programming, and money. As we continue to move through the economic recession towards recovery, new spaces can mean new opportunity and hopefully engaging new audiences with a stronger brand than project-based models. Though institutions grow and consolidate, seeking new ways to engage audiences is at the heart of the conversation. And as Ms. Basso said, the SFMOMA is screwing little light bulbs across the city throughout 2016. But, don’t worry the lights won’t go out!

About Gregory Stock

Gregory coordinates public programs at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco along with a team of four under the direction of Renee Baldocchi. At the de Young, he provides support and logistics of Friday Nights at the de Young, a weekly “art happening” public and free event for all ages themed to the permanent collection and special exhibitions. At the Legion of Honor, he coordinates the Chamber Music Series and special exhibition programming. Other programs include special lectures and academic symposiums for special exhibitions. Interests cross between public art, digital tools, collaboration and social enterprise. He has been in the Bay Area for four years and graduated from Saint Louis University with a BA in American studies and history.

Emerging Arts Professionals/SFBA 2012-13 Fellowship Application

2012-13 FellowshipBy Michael DeLong, Managing Editor

It’s that time of year, folks! After two already-stellar runs, the Emerging Arts Professionals / SFBA Fellowship enters its lucky charm third year. And we want you to be a part of it.

Applications are open through July 6. Read on to see if this exciting opportunity is for you.

And don’t miss our three informational sessions to learn more.

Tuesday, June 26
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Red Poppy Art House
(2698 Folsom Street @ 23rd)

Wednesday, June 27
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. at
Intersection for the Arts
(925 Mission Street @ 5th)

Thursday, June 28
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at
Rock Paper Scissors Collective
(2278 Telegraph Avenue @ 23rd, Oakland)


Are you results oriented? Do you have a commitment to advancing the Bay Area’s arts and culture sector? Are you committed to personal and professional growth?

If so, YOU are invited to bring your best ideas.

The EAP Fellowship program provides an alternative model for professional development that balances traditional structure with increased creativity, collaboration, and experimentation.

Leading in today’s arts sector requires new competencies, and skills and sensitivities that are adaptive, engaging, and relevant. In this spirit the Emerging Arts Professionals / San Francisco Bay Area (EAP) is pleased to continue its Fellowship Program for a third year.

Over the course of nine months, the Fellowship enriches and expands the capacities of emerging and mid-level arts and culture workers in the Bay Area. Approximately 15 Fellows will bring together their diverse insights, energy, and expertise to build their ability to realize their career and life aspirations in arts and culture.

Components and Structure
General Participant Criteria
Application Process, Time Commitment, Key Dates

Apply Now– deadline 11:59pm, Friday, July 6, 2012


Emergence Recap: Decentralized Leadership and Managing Creativity

decentralized leadershipBy Brien Henderson

Models of arts leadership and organization will naturally fall somewhere on a spectrum from heavily centralized to markedly diffuse. This discussion on June 4, 2012 at the Emerging Arts Professional’s annual convening, Emergence,  focused on organizations closer to the latter. Of course, nothing starts out that way.

What is the process of taking an organization towards a more decentralized form of leadership and what are the benefits and concerns of such a model? The discussion engaged two leaders who have done it.

Todd Brown of Red Poppy Art House and Charith Premawardhana of Classical Revolution founded and direct their respective organizations. At first, each took a lot of work and individual effort, but now various levels of responsibility exist in both.

Clear vision, clear mission

After having done the hard work of bringing an idea to realization comes the moment when that idea is maintained through the continuing efforts of other individuals. When that moment comes, both Brown and Premawardhana cautioned that anyone to whom you give that responsibility has to be clear on the vision and mission of the organization, and they have to be on board with it. As leadership diffuses, keep an eye on the progress of the organization, making sure that all activities stay mission-focused.

Classical Revolution began as a weekly event in San Francisco, whose mission is to bring classical music into unconventional venues to serve the community in the places they go, rather than trying to bring them to a concert hall. After five years, there are chapters operating under the Classical Revolution banner all over the world. Each chapter’s activities are completely self-contained, but no matter where you go the mission remains clear.

In founding the Red Poppy Art House, Brown’s vision was to alter the context of the creation and reception of art, rather than the conventional artist’s focus on the content of art. It began as a project fueled only by Brown and, later, an all-volunteer staff. Since then, it has grown into a thriving organization with a staff receiving stipends who make programming decisions independently.

Managing risk

Like the growth of any venture, you must be careful as to who you entrust with shepherding your vision into the future. Premawardhana pointed out that Classical Revolution, previously always operating on trust, has had to begin putting things in writing more. This is one of the drawbacks of continued growth in a decentralized model, but at some point it becomes the best move forward.

On that point, Brown articulated a multi-tier model of responsibility at Red Poppy, where he draws several layers of decision-making from low-risk to high-risk, and delegates respnsibilities to the volunteers and staff accordingly. Some he keeps for himself.

Drawing by Todd Berman

Drawing by Todd Berman

A fertile ecosystem of ideas

While there are certainly risks and concerns, along with that can come great innovation. Premawardhana noted that many people involved with Classical Revolution will sometimes be working on similar projects, but they won’t be communicating with each other. While inefficient, what comes from that may be a particularly interesting thread with a lot of people already attached to it. This can generate and lead to more successful side-projects.

The Mission Arts Performance Project (MAPP) is just such an example. The initial idea was to create, as Brown put it, an ecosystem for things to emerge. You may not be able to predict the result, but as long as you’re comfortable with that, great things can come out of it. A satellite project out of Red Poppy, the MAPP promotes street-level curating of performances and installations. It now runs on a regular basis with no central leadership of any sort. The only centrality to speak of in the MAPP is one of information, connecting those who are looking for space with those who have space to use.

Measuring success

In such a diffused environment, what sorts of benchmarks can be put in place to learn and grow with a project? In the case of the MAPP, the various venues, or at least those who are more invested in continuing the project, measure their own success from one event to the next, trying to improve each time. In the case of Classical Revolution, this same process unfolds at the chapter level.

About Brien Henderson

Brien Henderson is a composer in San Francisco. He is developing the San Francisco Composers Guild, a music presenting organization dedicated to the growth and development of young composers through ongoing realtionships with talented ensembles and master composers.

Todd Berman’s work can be found at The Art Don’t Stop.

Emergence Recap: Collaborations in Situ

collaborations in situBy Leora Lutz

Talk is, in fact, not “cheap” as they say: it gets ideas going. When the mission statement loses its voice that is the time to start walking again – to walk the walk. And that is what the three panelists at the Collaborations in Situ discussion at the Emergence Conference on June 4, 2012, have been doing.

At the round table were Renee Baldocchi, Curator of the de Young Museum’s Artist Fellows Program; Lex Leifheit of SOMArts; and Ernesto Sopprani of The *OFFCENTER. Moderated by Julie Potter, EAP Fellow, the panel casually yet passionately discussed the objectives, achievements, and challenges of creating and sustaining a residency program in the City.

Urban residencies stimulate collaboration

Stepping outside of the comfort zone and taking risk became a starting point that each speaker mentioned when reviewing their various program models. New thinking is the key to a residency, from a curatorial standpoint as well as for the artist who will be the resident. Symbiotic to the process of collaboration is creating innovative, engaging, and important experiences for not only the artists but for the public, too.

One particular model of an artist residency is the retreat, or the intensive workshop. Many of them are pastoral retreats, where the artist resides on site in the company of others of like-mind. The residencies range from one month to longer, and are designed for the artists to make work without the distractions of daily life that would normally take away from their studio practices.The residencies in discussion on this day are not pastoral retreats. They are in the heart of San Francisco, and are geared toward not only an extended period of time for intensive art making, but also involve a commitment to engage with the pubic in compelling and innovative ways. All three of the programs support interdisciplinary models of making, incorporating social practice, performance, and exhibitions.

In a sense, the residency helps propel the artist from the solitary position as maker and into the active role of engagement with audiences in innovative ways. The innovation is two-fold as the projects grow between the curators and the resident artists, but also often becomes multifold depending on the additional artists or collaborators that the artist may invite to join them and expand their ideas.

Collaborations in Situ drawing by Todd Berman

Drawing by Todd Berman

Taking it beyond

A key to innovation with all three of the panelists’ programming is the balance between experimentation and developing a final outcome through rigorous (and fun) exploration and incubation of new ideas. Activating space is part of the final outcome goal in order to impart cultural learning, and to question the role of institutions and their “obligation” to the public.

Through a reciprocal sharing platform, the programs can become sustainable, and be resilient engines for taking risk and being spontaneous. The artist is the centralized idea-generator and the institution or organization works closely with them to develop their concept and bring it to full fruition for the public. Because of the interdisciplinary structure of the work, and the malleability of performative works, the projects can travel – decentralizing the static position of the institution. It gives flexibility to literally drop the art at any location, even exploring new modes of exhibition through the internet, and thus removing the preciousness of site-specificity.

As the round-table continued, new topics came up as the discussion morphed into its own version of a professional performance. One of these nuggets of collective genius brainstorming was the topic of a “Road Map” for artists. In asking themselves out-loud, one has to wonder about the countless other artists that are not being represented or being accepted into their programming. There is not enough funding to include every artist, so how could they help the ones who are left out? The passion and concern to do more is there…what exactly that is will have to happen over more discussions.

Collaborations in Situ photo by Robbie Sweeny

Photo by Robbie Sweeny

Collaboration in situ: it’s meta!

An ongoing challenge of the programs was to address traditional definitions head-on and find solutions every time the word “no” comes up from partnering or governing entities. Reaching out and constantly bringing new people into the mix allows for fresh voices and new perspectives to achieving goals. This drive also creates a dynamic ripple effect throughout the community. It is a continuous learning process – one that requires constant reassessment, revisiting, changing and adjusting with each passing year as the economy changes, and as the artists’ desires change, and the wants of the public changes.

Keeping artists in the forefront of the creative environment and supporting them is the basis for keeping change fluid and vital. Collaborations are an exciting, rewarding business and social model that empowers everyone involved and ultimately extends passion and vitality to the public and the greater community – it is win/win. Seek out mentors, get hands-on, dig in and don’t wait for funding to get started – find a way to do it, and most importantly talk to others.

About Leora Lutz

Leora Lutz is an interdisciplinary artist with an extensive history as a curator, gallerist, and art administrator. Her practice in all aspects grabs onto historical context, alters it, and re-presents it as a way to shift previous understanding into flux. Her work has shown at galleries, institutions, and museums, including MOCA, Palm Springs Museum of Art, UCR Sweeney Gallery, Riverside Art Museum, and the Henry Project Space in Seattle. Her art and professional bibliography includes numerous critiques and profiles from The Los Angeles Times, NBC news, White Hot Magazine and LA Weekly to name a few.

Todd Berman’s work can be found at The Art Don’t Stop. Robbie Sweeny’s photography can be found at In Gutters and Stars.

Why Business Models Matter: Alex Osterwalder at CCA 1/21/2012

By Katherin Canton, EAP Fellow

Leaving the stone age of business strategy

Seated in Timken Hall at California College of the Arts, Alex Osterwalder started passing out sticky notes because no event is really a design event until you have those little colorful pads.

Alex was at CCA to explain and show next-level tools to support the growth of smart business planning, namely the “Business Model Canvas.” Although this tool is simply a visual format used to discuss a business model, it helps in breaking down the key components of building a coherent plan. Alex didn’t go into those actual components, focusing instead on the reasons behind and productive uses of the Canvas.

How we got hereThe Canvas is revolutionary and practical, simply because it levels the playing field when it comes to business development. Whether you have started and created a major corporation,  are in the middle of redeveloping your business model, or even if you are thinking about starting a business, this tool breaks down the key elements and relationships to consider before committing money and time.

Osterwalder developed this tool in order to spark more complex and deeper dialogues about business models. If it’s your first time looking at the relationship between your customer segments and your key partners, here is the chance to start asking questions that will affect your future business.

The idea here is that we shouldn’t be using outdated business plans when we have come so far in even the types of businesses and relationships we have created.


A Business Model Canvas for EAP

In the Everyday

I have no business background, but understanding this canvas wasn’t as intimidating as it is to read a whole novel on a “successful business plan.” It has also pushed me to think about how a plan can’t be successful without having a solid grounding in the day to day of a functioning business.

This is where my two main takeaways from this lecture come into being:

  1. Ideas should be mobile
    Whether using Post-it notes or an Ipad app, innovative business strategizing relies on putting all ideas out on the table and being able to mix and match potential plans. Another rule from Alex: never put more than one idea on a note. This defeats the adaptability of the single ideas.
  2. Take it to the customer
    No matter how much time or how many resources have gone into researching your audience or potential customer base, it never compares to going out and asking them if they would use your product or service. Even being rejected in person gives you insight into launching a potentially successful or useful business.

In the end both of these principles help you reflect on what you are going to embark on before you commit those precious dollars or hours.

Final Thoughts

By reinvigorating tools we use for strategy development or business development, we let go of the old ways of thinking and running businesses. New tools support more complex modeling and experimentation.

This is where the business model canvas comes into play. It takes speaking, reading, and reworking a business development strategy into a common language (a visible one), but also elevates the number or variables and relationships that we can communicate without having the jargon used in old business strategies.

Check out Alex’s What Is a Business Model presentation on SlideRocket, and sound off in the comments. Are you using a business model, or thinking about one? What’s your plan?