Arts Infrastructure

Overview

To have a healthy and vigorous performing arts ecosystem, artists and arts organizations must have the resources they need to be effective and thrive. Too often, arts organizations find themselves undercapitalized relative to their aspirations, and coordination problems make it difficult to build and maintain shared resources.

Art organizations with inadequate capital or talent tend to take a defensive, risk-averse posture. This can lead to stunted artistic ambition and lack of organizational creativity. The Hewlett Foundation invests in critical infrastructure and organizing efforts to encourage solutions to the needs of the performing arts field.

Goals

Connection

Boost cooperation and sharing of information about best practices across the field by making grants that enable arts organizations and artists to solve collective problems and needs. A small portion of this funding includes conference sponsorships and workshops.

Field information

Close the gaps in tools, standards and services for collecting, organizing and accessing useful data about the state of the performing arts in the Bay Area. Artists, arts administrators, funders and policymakers can make better decisions when they have reliable and up-to-date information.

Human and financial capital

Help arts organizations attract, train and retain quality staff by addressing organizational capacity issues across the field. This includes grants that build capacity for distributed leadership, as well as for multiyear general operating support.

Our Grantmaking

Cultural Data Project
for general operating support
Fractured Atlas Productions
for Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces
Dancers Group
for Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces
Theatre Bay Area
for Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces

Our Team

Jon McGuirk
John McGuirk 
Program Director
alexa_hall
Alexa Hall 
Program Fellow
Aleina Hammonds [Headshot]
Aleina Hammonds 
Program Associate
Jessica Mele 
Program Officer
 @JessCMele
Kerry O’Connor 
Program Associate
Emiko Ono
Emiko Ono 
Program Officer

Learn More

As part of our funding of arts infrastructure, the Hewlett Foundation recognizes the importance of art leaders to the health and vitality of the sector. In 2015, the Hewlett Foundation published a report, Moving Arts Leadership Forward, and announced an expanded focus for our grantmaking in this area. Building on six years of work that helped to better prepare and retain emerging arts leaders, the goal of Arts Leadership Forward is to strengthen the arts ecosystem in San Francisco Bay Area.

New economic pressures, increased professionalization of the field, and generational differences in how individuals perceive and practice management are just some of the challenges that art leaders face. How individuals and organizations respond to societal changes are critical to the arts remaining vibrant and relevant to the communities they serve.

We believe that the nonprofit arts field as a whole must reimagine how it understands and invests in leadership. Our grantmaking supports the development of individual career pathways, builds capacity for distributed leadership, and fosters the shared values of diversity and innovation.

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