$7.7 million grant to Bay Area arts

October 31, 2007


Contact: Mary Trudel
Senior Communications Officer
The Wallace Foundation




The Wallace Foundation Funds The San Francisco Foundation and SF’s Grants for the Arts to Enhance Audience Participation

San Francisco, October 30, 2007 – The Wallace Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and Grants for the Arts announced today an innovative, far-reaching, multi-year model of arts funding designed to foster growth in public attendance and participation in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Eleven San Francisco Arts Organizations will receive $6.3 million, and another $1.47 million will support audience-building in the nine Bay Area counties. In recognition of their commitment to community and audience building activities, The Wallace Foundation has given its prestigious Excellence Awards to Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the Center for Asian American Media, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ODC/San Francisco, San Francisco Girls Chorus, SF JAZZ, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Opera, World Arts West and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which will receive grants ranging from $275,000 to $750,000. The awards were announced today at City Hall by Mayor Gavin Newsom, The Wallace Foundation President, Christine DeVita and the San Francisco Foundation President, Dr. Sandra Hernandez. The San Francisco Girls Chorus performed to kick off the event.  For more information about the San Francisco Excellence Award grantees, click here

These Excellence Awards and regional program support represent one of the largest single arts funding initiatives in national non-profits arts philanthropy in recent years, and is a visionary partnership of a major national foundation, arts organizations, a local community foundation and public arts agencies.

“The Excellence Awards honor organizations that have made a commitment to engage more people deeply in the arts part of their DNA,” said Christine DeVita, President of The Wallace Foundation. “We created these awards to draw national attention to the importance of engaging more people in the arts, to encourage organizations to sustain and expand the impact of their work with local constituencies, and to generate an assortment of useful, broadly-applicable lessons and practices that will be helpful to the field.”

“The San Francisco Bay Area is already an extraordinarily arts-rich region. This visionary partnership with the Wallace Foundation can transform our audiences and nonprofits to a level of enthusiasm and engagement that could be a national model,” said Dr. Hernández.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said, “San Francisco has always recognized our arts organizations as among the most valuable institutions enhancing the quality of life of our residents, making the City one of the world’s favorite cultural destinations. This innovative partnership acknowledges excellence in the arts, and I commend the recipients for their artistic contributions that touch all of our lives.”

The Wallace Foundation Excellence Awards were created to support exemplary arts organizations to pioneer effective practices to engage more people in high-value arts activities. The Awards are an important part of the Foundation’s efforts to develop and share effective ideas and practices for enhancing arts participation and bringing the powerful benefits of the arts to all. 

In addition to the Excellence Award grants to 11 arts organizations, The Wallace Foundation is collaborating with The San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts over the next four years (2008-2011) to create a learning network for all San Francisco Bay Area arts organizations and to foster arts engagement. The collaboration, funded by a grant of $1,47 million to the San Francisco Foundation from Wallace, will inform and support the participation-building work of many arts organizations throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. 

The San Francisco Foundation is partnering with Grants for the Arts, the local public agency that manages Hotel Tax funding for the arts, to operate the learning network in the Bay Area. Other key partners in this effort will be Theatre Bay area, the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs, East Bay Community Foundation and the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. Important features of the collaboration include:

  1. Developing a combined mailing list data resource for San Francisco organizations;
  2. Expanding the website of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Arts and Tourism Department (SFArts.org) to include internet discount ticket sales; and
  3. Commissioning a number of regional artists, arts leaders and prominent members of the public to create working papers about cultural participation that will generate new ideas to spark discussion at learning network meetings and then be shared broadly.

By adding further support to local arts organizations and the Bay Area’s arts “eco-system,” the collaboration will promote the effective exchange of knowledge – extending the benefits of this work to many other organizations beyond those that receive individual awards. The initiative will include a series of seminars/workshops and technical assistance on market research and evaluation of audience development efforts.

The Wallace Foundation takes a city-based approach to its arts funding to help improve arts participation across a whole community. Wallace chose San Francisco as one of four sites for this effort because of the city’s high concentration and variety of arts organizations. The city stood out among other sites because of the robust collaboration among local funders and arts organizations around informing and supporting cultural participation. Philadelphia is the other city chosen for Wallace Excellence Awards grants in 2007.  Chicago and Boston were chosen in 2006.

2006 Wallace Excellence Award recipients were:
In Boston – The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Lyric Opera, From the Top, The Huntington Theatre Company, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

In Chicago – The Beverly Arts Center, The Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Sinfonietta, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, Hyde Park Art Center, Merit School of Music, Music of the Baroque, Steppenwolf Theatre, and the Victory Gardens Theater.

In 2005, two exemplary San Francisco organizations, the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Performances, were honored with Wallace Excellence Awards.

The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its three current objectives are: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; improving out-of-school learning opportunities; and building appreciation and demand for the arts. The Foundation maintains a Knowledge Center of free publications on what it has learned at http://www.wallacefoundation.org/.

The San Francisco Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948 with current assets of more than $1 billion. Through the generosity and vision of our family of donors, TSFF awarded grants totaling $89 million in fiscal year 2007. Bringing together donors and building on community assets through  grant making, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development, TSFF addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. The San Francisco Foundation is a community foundation serving San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

Grants for the Arts 
Established through a combination of City and State legislation, and approved by the City's Board of Supervisors, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) has evolved into a national model of arts funding. Since its inception in 1961, GFTA has distributed over $160 million to hundreds of nonprofit cultural organizations in San Francisco. In 2007/08 over $11M has been allocated to 225 groups and activities. This economic investment in diverse arts and promotional organizations enhances San Francisco’s attractiveness to visitors and provides employment and enrichment to the City's residents.