State of the Arts - 2018

In the late summer, early fall of 2017, The Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA) leadership team, agreed that the time was nigh for a comprehensive gathering and convening of the Bay Area arts community. In the past, events bringing together the broader community have come in the form of town hall meetings to inform voters about mayoral or supervisorial candidates and their level of support for the arts. But, there has been no critical mass of arts and culture workers, advocates, and supporters gathered in one forum – for the sake of collectively learning, engaging and celebrating in one place. 

A productive, creative and tenacious event committee of nine arts and culture workers began working on the concept and structure of the event in November 2017. The planning culminated in a robust occasion on April 12, 2018, State of the Arts, including welcoming addresses, keynote presentations, educational sessions, an awards ceremony, networking hour and live performances.





Keynote presenters included: Roberto Bedoya, Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager discussing the Belonging in Oakland, A Cultural Development Plan; Tom DeCaigny, San Francisco Director of Cultural Affairs reviewing various initiatives in support and preservation of local arts and culture and artists; and thoughts and reflections on local arts and culture by Lex Leifheit, ABBA co-founder and San Francisco Board of Education candidate; and, Honey Mahogany, Compton’s Transgender Cultural District.


Breakout Sessions


Brief education sessions on topics chosen by the community were offered, with topics of: Professional Development by Amy Kweskin, Artsightful; Fiscal Resources by Randy Rollison, Intersection for the Arts, Anne Huang, World Arts West, and Lisa Burger, Independent Arts & Media; Local Arts Advocacy by Katherin Canton, Emerging Arts Professionals, Rachel Lastimosa, SOMA Filipinas; Equity in the Arts by Vinay Patel, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center; Influencing City Policy by Tony Kelly, District 10 Supervisor candidate, Jean Johnstone, Teaching Artist Guild, and Jessa Moreno, California Alliance for Arts Education; and, Housing Resources by Karoleen Feng,  MEDA, and Jim Brown of the Tannery Arts Center.

Notes collected from each of the sessions can be found here – thanks to our many note-takers!


Arts Enabler Awards


A noted highlight of the event for many was the Arts Enabler Awards, where individuals and organizations in our arts community who go above and beyond, were recognized. Twelve awardees were selected and honored from 130 community-chosen nominees as the 2018 Arts Enablers. Read the full press release on the awards here. Stay tuned for monthly showcases including bios and details from each awardee in the coming weeks!

2018 Arts Enabler Awardees:

Tracy Camp
, Actor/Educator (Activism/Advocacy)
Michelle Holdt, Founding Executive Director, Arts Ed Matters (Arts Education)
Anne Huang, Development Director, World Arts West (Heritage)
Beatrice Thomas, Artist/Consultant, Authentic Arts and Media (Impact/National)
Peacock Rebellion (Impact/Local)
Jason Bayani, Poet & Artistic Director, Kearny Street Workshop (Literary Arts)
Māhealani Uchiyama, Founder & Artistic Director Māhea Uchiyama Center for International Dance (Dance)
Shawna Virago, Artistic Director, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival/ Musician (New Media)
PianoFight (Theater)
Allison Snopek, Program Director, ArtSpan (Visual Arts)
David Bustamante, Musician & Director of Da Island Way (Music/Heritage)
Krissy Keefer, Artistic Director, Dance Brigade and Dance Mission Theater (Legacy)


Once again, we thank all participants, supporters, attendees, and enablers that helped make the inaugural event memorable and successful! It is clear that there is a significant amount of momentum in continuing an event and initiative to connect, inform, celebrate, strategize and work collectively.

See photo highlights of the event, Visit the STATE OF THE ARTS Facebook page here

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Watch the Video Archive of ABBA State of the Arts 2018 


State of the Arts 2018 Event Committee members: Susie McKinnon, Joen Madonna, Kevin Seaman, Alex Randall, Ernesto Sopprani, Cristina Ibarra, Kelsey Issel, Patrick Simms, Kathy Zarur

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