About Creatives In Place
Even before Covid-19 caused so much to grind to a halt and intensified the urgency in artistic communities, the Creatives in Place listening project began with this question. In a time of such economic and racial disparity, what do creative and cultural communities need in order to continue to be rooted in the Bay Area?
It was our intention to listen for answers in new ways. We wanted to make space for the voices of Bay Area artists representing various geographies, artistic and cultural practices, ethnicities and races, and gender identities and sexualities, and with varying relationships to formal arts and funding institutions. We wanted to name assets, not only challenges. We wanted to focus on process, not only product. We wanted to hold artists as whole people, embedded in families (blood and chosen) and networks, and serving as connectors within and between communities.
We began by reaching out to various communities throughout the Bay Area and identified 22 artists – with incredible diversity of identity, background, practice, and career stage – all sharing a deep rootedness in the Bay Area and in their communities. Our intention was to explore what it feels like to survive and thrive in the Bay Area during a time of great upheaval – of gentrification and displacement, racial justice uprising, and physical disconnection due to the pandemic.
We offered to support each artist with a $10,000 stipend to participate in a journey of discovery with us and with each other, without requiring an application or credentialing. In keeping with our values, we offered these resources with trust, encouraging each artist to use the funds as they needed: for materials, rent, support family, debt payments, and especially rest. Our intent was to foster a spirit of reciprocity rather than transaction, an invitation rather than a demand. In our opinion, this foundation – beginning with a gesture of abundance rather than scarcity – made it possible for the great wisdom, generosity, and creativity of these artists to shine.
What has become clear through our listening is that the picture each of us holds when we say “Bay Area culture” is upheld by a powerful network of artists, activists, healers and culture-keepers. This community’s creative process is often hidden beneath the colorful bloom of our region’s dances, murals, music, posters, paintings, and poetry. But this bloom is more than a vehicle for new ideas, viewpoints, and stories; it is the expression of the vitality and health of a metaphoric mycelial network. Cultivating the foundation that nourishes these networks not only helps it to thrive but is essential for our collective healing and liberation.
We have learned so much from the Creatives in Place artists over these past months. The insights we gained from this project will inform our advocacy for artists and their communities. Rather than attempting to distill these lessons into a few digestible bullets, we invite you to explore this website and trace your own path. We hope that this site will allow the artists’ words, works, and (virtual) presence speak for themselves.
For Artists & Cultural Institutions
If you are an artist or cultural institution, please note that Creatives in Place was a research project and is not an ongoing program. As such, we are not accepting inquiries about funding or support at this time.
For Foundations & Donors
We are at a significant moment for reimagination. It is vital that we do not lose the very thing that makes our region unique, culturally vibrant, and rich with diversity. Philanthropy, individuals, public and private sectors have an opportunity to develop new and innovative ways to support and sustain the Bay Area’s vibrant art and cultural movements.
Join us and continue the critical work that shapes our culturally rich and thriving region.
In The News
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