In a Bay Area Awash in Wealth, the Zellerbach Family Foundation is Looking Out for Artists

In our recent funder profile of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, we noted that with the exception its Community Arts Program, the foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals.

Well, as luck would have it, the foundation just began accepting applications for this very program, so we figured now's the time to give our Bay Area readers a gentle nudge in Zellerbach's direction.

The foundation's Community Arts Program provides project support to small and mid-sized arts organizations and individual artists for the creation and presentation of "new and innovative work that is representative of the diverse cultures and communities of the Bay Area."

These organizations primarily operate in San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties, with priority given to artists and organizations in the City of San Francisco, and western Alameda and Contra Costa counties. These grants support the following fields: dance, theater, visual arts exhibitions, music, poetry, literature, publications, and festivals.  

Grants are project-based and range from $1,500—$7,500. The requested amount must not exceed 50 percent of total project budget. Lastly, artists and organizations (excluding fiscal sponsors representing multiple organizations) may apply multiple times but are only eligible to receive funding once in each calendar year.

The foundation will stop accepting applications on June 30th for September 16th decisions. Then, on September 1st they'll begin accepting applications for December 2016, and so on.

Click here for the rolling submission periods and additional application information. When you do, also check out the foundation's Arts Loan Fund, is a collaborative program of the members of Northern California Grantmakers that provides quick-turnaround, low-cost financial assistance to regional arts organizations.

Ultimately, these resources would be a vital lifeline to any arts organizations, regardless of their location. But we're talking San Francisco here, an increasingly wealthy city whose artistic soul hangs in the balance—hyperbole unintended.

This battle for the city's soul takes place on multiple tracks.

While "highbrow" arts organizations throughout the city—think the San Francisco Ballet or the San Francisco Opera—try to cater to the finicky demands of the city's millennial and "nouveau riche" dollars, smaller organizations with far smaller budgets struggle to engage with their respective demographics. Zellerbach's $1,500—$7,500 grants ensure that these players, integral to the region's larger arts ecosystem, don't get pushed out.

Which is a nice parting segue to similar news, courtesy of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation's Open Spaces project, which will support temporary place-based public art projects in Oakland and San Francisco that "engage communities, showcase artistic experimentation, and energize public spaces."

And so the fight for San Francisco's soul continues...