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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Management & Technical Assistance, Performing Arts

Mission: CounterPulse is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture. CounterPulse acts as a catalyst for art and action; creating a forum for the open exchange of art and ideas, sparking transformation in our communities and our society. We work towards a world that celebrates diversity of race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity & sexual orientation. We strive to create an environment that is physically and economically accessible to everyone.

Target demographics: San Francisco Bay Area

Direct beneficiaries per year: 11,000

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area, California

Programs: Artist Residency Commissioning (ARC) Program One of CounterPulse’s cornerstone programs, ARC nurtures artistic development through a residency experience that combines financial support, artistic freedom, extensive rehearsal space, and structured community feedback sessions. The program pairs two artists or companies in the development and performance of new work, drawing in new audiences and promoting a fruitful artistic collaboration between the artists. Residency and commissioning tracks include: Edge: Edge is an incubation residency and commissioning program for contemporary choreographers whose work is deeply curious about the intersection of art practice and social change. Through progressing showings, discourse events, and culminating live performances this program is a platform for investigating relevancy and creating new knowledge. By eliminating boundaries between disciplines, between artists and audience, and between communities, Edge produces innovative performance works with transformational potential. Performing Diaspora: Performing Diaspora supports artists whose work is rooted in a traditional art form, yet is also completely contemporary. A commitment to both tradition and experimentation, Performing Diaspora incubates meaningful and rigorous innovation. Public discussions, performance festivals, and symposiums stimulates the intersection of immigrant, cultural, and artistic communities to inspire discourse and artistic excellence. Combustible: Combustible is a lab for intersecting art practices from dance and technology. Artists are given real, raw Space and Time, to collaborate on the creation of innovative live performance projects with use state-of-the-art lighting and sound tools. Throughout a residency period artists share their research through designed public experiences and events. Combustible carves a place to be deeply inquisitive and experiment on the edge of what is known. Community Arts Program (CAP) CounterPulse was an early adopter of creative placemaking activities as a means of promoting health and engagement among marginalized and/or vulnerable populations of the Bay Area. This work began at the organization’s former location in the SoMa district in 2012, and has formalized as the Community Arts Program (CAP) in the past two years as the organization transitioned to a new facility in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The CAP involves a number of activities, ranging from artists making work with residents at Tenderloin S.R.O. hotels, providing free and public art making and sharing each first Friday afternoon, to maintaining a 25 year policy of no-one-turned-away-for-lack-of-funds at the box office. The CAP's goal is to harness the power of art to improve the lives of those in need. Switch Switch is CounterPulse’s cultural exchange program that catalyzes collaborations between artists, initiatives, and communities outside of the Bay Area. We pose exchange as an integral part of the creative process. We strategize generative diversity across cultural lines and creative practices as a tactic to exponentially shift the field of discourse. Switch is creating a platform for sophisticating collaboration across differences. House Artists CounterPulse maintains a curated fiscal sponsorship program, nurturing 10 local arts and performance organizations, known as House Artists, by providing financial oversight, business training, and capacity-building to help them achieve greater impact.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Godwin Q.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

THE MOST RECENT RESOLUTION IN ART INDUSTRIES AND SUPPORT FOR OTHER ART PROGRAM IS SOLIDIFY BY THIS ETHIC OF PROGRAM DESIGNS METHOD OF IDEA RECONDITION IN FIELD OF ART BRIEFS AND CREATION IN OTHER NON PROFITS PROJECTS.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE deserves recognition for not only their excellent programming, history of community building and fierce support of experimental arts, but also for their commitment to pushing the field forward. The staff and board and interns stay connected to the power of people + ideas + creative collaborations.
I enjoyed learning from each contributor for the last four months. As their Program Intern, I helped with the office and administration aspects, while helping out with a few programming and marketing items.
Like a good school or community space, the culture at CounterPULSE stimulates discussion, problem-solving and an attitude of 'we can do it!'. Without this type of healthy environment, non profits may not survive in this competitive economy. I appreciate how the staff always seeks ways to improve methods of making and working. This shows a great command of leadership and strong consistent development.
One of my favorite moments while working here was attending the their special program "Performing Diaspora", where artists working in traditional or folkloric forms were commissioned to make full length feature works. I appreciated how the artists' points of view challenged and intrigued my sensibility as an artist and as a viewer. The director of CounterPULSE has a great insight on international innovation and the power of human connection speaking to many audience members. I feel lucky to have felt the heartbeat going strong at CounterPULSE.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE has been an inspiration to me as an aspiring artist and community organizer. I worked closely with Executive Director Jessica Robinson as an intern, as was continuously inspired by her passion and dedication to supporting art and activism. The entire CounterPULSE team is a dedicated a supportive group, their love of the work they do carries through to the artists and the community they support. I continue to volunteer and see shows at CounterPULSE, and work as a contractor for the 2nd Sundays program. I always miss it if I have been away too long!

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE is a fierce advocate for artists as valued cultural workers and activists as community leaders. You could flip all those words around and it would still all be true. CounterPULSE's dedicated staff, board and community are actively supporting and creating engaged cultural discourse through arts and activism in the SF Bay Area and beyond. In 2005 I was a resident artist and in 2008 CounterPULSE co-presented my work in the San Francisco International Arts Festival. CounterPULSE's staff, board, volunteers and especially ED Jessica Robinson Love did a crazy brilliant job that allowed me to focus on my artistic work in a way that is rare in our culture. Thank You is simply an understatement.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE is one of the main reasons I am still making work as a choreographer. I had the honor and privilege of being an artist in residence there in the winter of 2008/2009. The generous support and encouragement that I received revived my inspiration to keep choreographing. CounterPULSE supports artists to push their own boundaries and supports risk taking. Their commitment to supporting the artistic process through the work in progress showings that accompany the Artist in Residence and Performing Diaspora programs really provides the constructive feedback which helps an artist see their work from a different lens. It is a space that is an absolute joy to both present work and to see work. The over all programming at CounterPULSE truly represents the cultural diversity of the bay area in every sense. Being an artist in residence there was one of the most positive and productive experiences I have had as a choreographer.

9

Board Member

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE is a remarkable community space for performance and other creative work. With a passionate and talented staff who do a wonderful job curating exemplary artists, CounterPULSE acts as an incubator for new work, launching new careers and projects. Their track record is exceptional - artists who have started as "unknowns" at CounterPULSE have gone on to prestigious careers in dance, theater and visual arts. The organization itself is stable and well-managed. The very talented Executive Director, Jessica Robinson Love, leads a terrific staff of professionals, interns and volunteers to accomplish great things on a very small budget.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

CounterPulse continues to serve as a model for how other small to midsize performing arts presenters can not only thrive but function as an inspirational home for both audiences and artists. CounterPulse rocks it!

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE provides a wide array of artists with a platform for developing, sharing and presenting really exciting new works. It plays an important role in supporting emerging artists in the SF area. With this support, artists are able to really shine. Plus, they have an unbeatable dance performance space that's huge and intimate at the same time.

9

Former staff

Rating: 5

CounterPULSE is wonderful. I was an intern over the summer and loved it so much, that when the internship was over, I applied for another position. I was so lucky to find CounterPULSE, not only for the programs that they offer, the performance space and great shows, but also because of the incredible people who work and volunteer there. It is a very important part of the artist community in San Francisco.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was an Artist in Residence at CounterPULSE and without their support I would not be at the level in my career as an artist that I am today. They took a risk on accepting me, a relatively new choreographer, and gave me all the necessary resources to launch my first production in a theater, not at a wedding or cultural event, as I was used to. CounterPULSE gave me space to rehearse free of charge, a budget for technicians and costumes, as well as money to pay the artists I worked with, 3 nights of shows in their theater with their staff free of charge, and 1/4 of the box office. Their staff also did the marketing and publicity for the show, allowing us to free our time to work on the performance itself without being bogged down by administrative work. I have never worked in such a supportive environment and I fully believe that CounterPULSE is a vital incubator for new and cutting edge art in the Bay Area.