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The Performing Arts Grantmaking Strategy and Arts Ecosystem

The Arts Ecosystem helps us understand the constellation of entities and people that create art, that experience it, and that build and maintain the arts infrastructure. It include the individuals and public and private sector institutions that support the arts, for- and non-profit arts and entertainment organizations that provide support and venues for arts experiences, artists that create and interpret works of art, and the general public, which participates in, experiences, and supports the arts. As in any ecosystem, these different actors are connected to and influence one another, and their vitality impacts the system's overall health. The arts ecosystem is impacted by environmental factors such as changing demographics, advances in technology, and the national economy.

The Strategic Framework illustrates the role of the Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program within the arts ecosystem. Our program seeks to achieve two ultimate outcomes:

  • To ensure that exceptional works of art are created, performed, and preserved.
  • To ensure that more opportunities for participation in arts experiences are available and accessed.

To achieve these outcomes, we contend that there must be a healthy arts ecosystem. We define the characteristics of the healthy arts ecosystem in some terms that should be familiar:

Supply – a community of diverse and high-quality artists live and work in the Bay Area.

Demand – there is robust public support for and appreciation of the arts.

Infrastructure – there are enough physical assets and intellectual resources available to provide for the creation and presentation of and participation in the arts.

Achieving a healthy arts ecosystem requires that we first pursue an even more specific subset of outcomes, and at the most detailed level we identify the activities and strategies that will help us achieve these outcomes. In 2010, the Performing Arts Program reviewed its portfolio and refined the criteria by which grantees are selected. Those criteria can be found here.

If you have questions about the Performing Arts Program Framework, please contact your program officer or the Performing Arts staff at