SFAC Provides $4.6 Million In Grants To Local Artists

A camper at Aerial Dance Summer Camp offered by Zaccho Dance Theatre, the sole recipient of the SFAC's legacy grant. Photo courtesy of Zaccho Dance Theatre's Instagram page.

SAN FRANCISCO—On June 4, the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) announced the 154 recipients of its 2020 grant funding, which totaled over $4.6 million.

This year, $1.4 million in funds were distributed to 71 individual artists and $3.2 million to 83 art organizations. The funding will last for the fiscal year starting July 1 until June 30, 2021.

The grant application process saw 292 applicants, which were reviewed by 44 judges across nine panels. Each panel focused on a grant category, as well as a particular artistic discipline.

The grant categories included Creative Space, which was awarded to 11 art organizations; Cultural Equity Initiatives, which was awarded to 26 organizations; Individual Artist Commission, which was awarded to 70 individual artists; Organization Project Grants, which had 45 recipients; and the Artistic Legacy Grant, which was only awarded to Zaccho Dance Theatre, a company that was founded in 1980 and is located at San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point.

These grants are distributed through the Cultural Equity Endowment, a branch of the SFAC that is funded by revenue gained from hotel taxes.

According to the charter that established the fund, the Cultural Equity Endowment was founded to make arts funding in San Francisco more culturally equitable—that is, “When all the people that make up the City have fair access to the information, financial resources and opportunities vital to full cultural expression, and the opportunity to be represented in the development of arts policy and the distribution of arts resources.”

In the face of the financial instability posed on the art sector as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, these grants intend to offer support to help keep San Francisco artists going.

Pam Wong, the interim executive director at the Chinese Historical Society of America, which received $150,000 in total grants, told the San Francisco News: “The generous funding from SFAC allows for CHSA to plan for the future. The Creative Space Grant will help us transform the public spaces at CHSA and improve the visitor experience and the CEI [Cultural Equity Initiatives] grant helps us think strategically and reach our financial goals.”

For violinist Alisa Rose, who was awarded $20,000 from the Individual Artist Commission category, this grant will allow her to continue cultivating her musical craft—a process that has looked different in the age of coronavirus.

“In this time of isolation, I strive to tell personal stories and give voice to those who are not always heard through music,” Rose told the San Francisco News, “I believe music helps audiences experience the emotion within a story and the interconnectedness of human experience. This grant will allow me to write and premier a concerto with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony based on interviews with members of Bluegrass Pride.”

The SFAC will launch its next grant cycle in October of this year.