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Opportunities for Participation

Yerba Buena

Miss Sarah at 100 years-old is dancing to the band, Chelle! and Friends, at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.  Pictured here is Donna Viscuso (pink top), Michelle Jacques (red top), and Bryan Dyer (white hat).


The San Francisco Bay Area is a mecca for artists in the United States. The Hewlett Foundation supports hundreds of the region's performing arts organizations-from theater companies to contemporary music ensembles, dance companies, and film, video, and new media projects. The Program hopes to make the arts easily accessible-to bring theater, music, and dance into people's everyday lives.

Twenty thousand opera fans – many of whom might not have otherwise attended the San Francisco Opera – saw Lucia di Lammermoor for free at the city's baseball stadium in 2008, thanks to a high-definition simulcast of the Hewlett Foundation grantee's stage performance.  Other grants have enabled the Stern Grove Festival, Yerba Buena Arts and Events, and Shakespeare San Francisco to present free productions of plays and concerts in parks, schools, and community centers throughout the Bay Area.

All told, the Foundation funds arts organizations in ten counties throughout the Bay Area including many that serve low-income communities. One such recipient is the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. Each year, the Center reaches 20,000 youth and families through recitals, performances, and requested presentations. And its nine ensemble companies – which range from West African music and dance, to chamber music, to American jazz – give back to the community with fifty to sixty performances a year.

Another Foundation grantee, the Young Musicians Program of the University of California, Berkeley, identifies musically gifted youth from low-income families and provides them with all they need to pursue their musical interests: instruction by world-renowned jazz artists,  academic support, and personal guidance.

As the Performing Arts Program supports more opportunities for participation in arts experiences, it also continues to focus on the range of educational and training opportunities available to young people.

The Performing Arts Program is not accepting unsolicited Letters of Inquiry for its Opportunities for Patricipation grantmaking at this time. We encourage Bay Area performing arts grantseekers to explore funding opportunities provided with intermediaries and regranters with which we partner.