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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Performing Arts Centers, Youth Development Programs

Mission: We generate culture that moves people.

Target demographics: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is a public benefit corporation located in the most culturally diverse region of the United States. The organization’s work spans the realms of contemporary art, civic engagement, and public life. YBCA believes that culture is an essential catalyst for positive change. Therefore, it is the responsibility of arts institutions to spur and support societal movement. By using culture as an instrument for social change, YBCA is redefining the role an arts institution can play in its community. As it reinvents the organizational model for a contemporary arts center YBCA hopes to inspire the creativity of all citizens to help shape the future of their community.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: YBCA’s mission is to generate culture that moves people, and it does this through five key platforms. The presentation of leading edge contemporary art: YBCA’s Visual Arts program hosts six to eight exhibitions annually, from monographic presentations to group shows. The Film and Video program screens 180 films, often with the filmmaker present. The Theater and Forum spaces are home to approximately 30 YBCA-presented performances, in addition to presentations by over 100 local dance and theater groups. Public art commissions include large scale arts installations onsite at the Center and in the community. The incubation of game changing creative ideas: Led by YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan as one of the founding partners, CultureBank draws together a diverse group of stakeholders from the arts, civic impact, and financial sectors to explore a new and radical investment model that will leverage a broad set of community-held assets to support social impact artists and enterprises. Convenings that bridge people, communities and sectors: The YBCA 100 list is an annual compilation of the people, organizations, and movements using their platform to create cultural movement. Since 2015, the annual YBCA 100 Summit brings together honorees in an afternoon of panel discussions and performances. Audiences members help name and interrogate urgent questions around public imagination, institutional transformation, the challenge of civil liberties, and more. Through open dialogue among participants, three lead questions emerge which drive YBCA’s creative inquiry. Commitment to inquiry, and asking the urgent questions of our time: The YBCA Fellows program brings together creative minds from across the Bay Area who deploy art and culture to instigate community transformation and drive new possibilities. Through a facilitated process of inquiry, dialogue, and project generation, the Fellows work together to tackle the questions identified through the YBCA 100 Summit. As solutions emerge through the fellowships, YBCA invests further in promising ideas, moving them from concept to implementation. Civic coalitions that create lasting change and policy shift: YBCA’s Civic Engagement program engages citizens in the conversations, actions, and policies that shape the future of the city. YBCA advocates for a culturally healthy and equitable community by actively engaging in local legislation, such as Proposition S in 2016, to civic coalitions such as the Healthy Corner Store Initiative in which YBCA’s Youth Fellows have joined forces with local artists and community organizations to improve food resources in the city’s Tenderloin. YBCA also sends Youth Arts staff and artist instructors into schools, guiding 700 K-8 students in the development of public art projects inspired by civic issues.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 4

Went this weekend to see the Office exhibit & the ton of computer mice woven into a rug. The Family and I enjoyed the videos about Brain work. I have been going to Yerba Buena for almost 20 years and enjoy the huge difference between the MOMO across the street and Yerba Buena.

-abe farag

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I went to the Valen-tiny Idea night on Feb 12 th and had a great time! It was such an awesome, new, and original idea on how to connect singles as well as couples in game interactions! The event was great and i would definitely attend another!

Donor

Rating: 5

working in cultural music and dances,eg giving traing tocultural music anddance,and composing diversified ethiopian musics with instruments.ok

nish

Volunteer

Rating: 4

While I'm a big SFMOMA fan, I've always been intrigued by the relative gallery-like feel of YBCA, just across the street; the latter being almost like that punky kid sister to the former. Over the years I've had the chance to serve on a few committees centered around some of their events and gatherings, and it's always been interesting to witness how they utilize volunteers and their respective connections/resources to bring something to fruition. There's a real sense of locality going on, and community. As with any organization, it does come down to the people behind it, and that's true here: I still remain in contact with Mary Beth Smith, who headed up their marketing efforts (and ironically who now does some work with SFMOMA). Emily Lakin, who I believe is still there, is another go-getter. Good people. And then, front and center, of course is the art. It's edgy, almost like a testing ground and/or launching pad for artists about to become huge. Most exhibits I've seen have been thoughtfully curated, but like I said before, it's their art happenings that truly bring this place to life.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

YBCA offers a unique arts experience in San Francisco, combining the visual and performing arts in a very contemporary context that engages the community. The programming is dynamic, thoughtful, and exciting. It is an American Kunsthalle, that is never stale or didactic.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We are members of YBCA mostly for the dance programs. We are enthralled by the breadth and quality of the programs. We are season ticket holders for the San Francicso Ballet, and YBCA dance adds so much to our appreciation of this art form. The programs are not available anywhere else. The people at YBCA are exceptional. Thank you YBCA!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a frequent and loyal audience member for YBCA's performing arts and film and video programming. There is nowhere else in the Bay Area where I can experience such adventuresome and accomplished work from around the world. Each year I see daring experimental theater and contemporary dance nearly to my heart and mind's content. Recent offerings from Japan, Uzbekistan, Mexico and London, as well as all the heavy hitters from around the US, enrich me enormously and make me glad and hopeful about art's capacity for intellectual and socio-aesthetic inspiration. The performing arts series, as does the film and video, presents a terrific balance of local as well as national and international work. Both programs, along with the visual arts program's Bay Area Now exhibitions,actively support the best of Bay Area art-making, with the performing arts series commissioning new local dance theater works. The film series also deserves special commendation for a bold curatorial vision, unearthing rarely seen treasures and some of the best independent international filmmakers that also inspire. Recent screening of television films by Michael Haneke, a restrospective by Argentina's Lucrecia Martel, and Bay Area premieres of works by Mexico's Carlos Reygadas and Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and the beautiful and only film by Jean Genet are just some of the highlights of the film programming. In other words, YBCA is one of the things most central to my life in San Francisco and is one of the main reasons I make the sacrifices I do to live here. YBCA definitely makes it worth it.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

Never boring, always interesting, often challenging and sometimes shocking! I appreciate the way YBCA pushes the boundaries of art and makes me think and feel. As a board member I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that is committed to excellence, but willing to take risks. In this day of economic hardship the organization has made the right moves and found ways to continue programming without raising prices and regularly offer up completely FREE events where 2,000 to 3,000 people routinely show up. YBCA is keeping Art at the heart of community life, because Art is needed in our lives more than ever. Thank you YBCA.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place is great. Great exhibits, affordable and fun events and performances. A wide range of engaging arts: At YBCA have seen many visual art exhibits, watched 'Objectified' the movie, seen dance, heard a panel speak about environmental projects, and been to evening events including a great election night party. Awesome place. Good location too. I look to YBCA to push places where organizations like SFMOMA may not be able to.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was recently invited to Akram Khan dance performance at YBCA. The performance was amazing. It strongly illustrates YBCA vision to support/promote the work of artists who strive to close the gap between cultures and counties. After the performance, I had the opportunity to meet with several board members and staff of YBCA and I am very impressed with their passion for this organization. We are very fortunate to have an organization like YBCA in our city that pushes the boundaries of art.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

i am a supporter and Board member of YBCA and try and go to as many of their events as i can. The center has a diverse menu of artistic offerings from visual to film to music to contemporary dance and performance. YBCA challenges me to see the world in new ways and opens challeging, timely, timeless and provocative questions. The level of artistry is excellent and at times truly profound. YBCA balances presenting global work with local Bay Area talent and provides a venue for emerging to world renown artists.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I truly enjoy and appreciate what YBCA brings to the San Francisco art community; I find many of the installations and performances provocative in the best possible sense. I want to be compelled to think and I want to have my perspectives challenged; YBCA frequently provides this level of stimulation. The diversity of programs and artists represented is a breath of fresh air.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Before I became a Board Member at YBCA I was a member and a frequent participant in their performances, films and art shows. I was never disappointed. Although every show was not necessarily in line with my personal artistic preferences, every show was either provocative or educational. When you support YBCA, you are never bored! This organization represents a core value in the San Francisco community: artistic innovation. If more people experienced at least one show, more people would become members. We owe that to YBCA, and to the cultural community at large.

4

Former staff

Rating: 5

Such a unique organization that fills a gap in the San Francisco museum scene. We are truly lucky to have an innovative venue unlike any other. I love that YBCA hosts events for contemporary music, dance, AND art.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

YBCA is a great organization - one that is truly dedicated to finding and promoting a variety of artists and their artwork.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YBCA offers so much to the public: art, music, dance and education. The accessibility to culture from around the world to us in San Francisco is outstanding.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined the board at YBCA after attending their programming for years. This organization is without peer in it's ability to present exhibitions and shows that highlight the web of cultural exchange all over the world. They pro-actively travel the world and bring some of the most thought provoking art to San Francisco. We're enormously lucky to have this kind of cross-disciplinary institution available to us, a place that clearly sets trends for the rest of the country.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I had very high expectations for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts when I joined as an upper-level member some years ago, and I am pleased to say that those expectations have been more than met -- they have been exceeded. Innovation, creativity, verve and edginess mark the programs in film, dance, music and the visual arts. One of the high points was the collaboration of the Margaret Jenkins dance troupe and Indian sacred dancers. Also fabulous was the production of "Wozzeck." And the key words project was a great exercise in cross-cultural feedback and collaboration. Also, as a donor, i have had a chance to meet such great artists as Bill T. Jones, among others. I would highly recommend Yerba Buena Center for the Arts!