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Mayor London Breed Announces Over $12 Million In Funding for Arts Organizations

Grants for the Arts funding priorities the City’s commitment to economic recovery and community activation by supporting local parades and festivals

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Female Artist Works on Abstract Oil Painting, Moving Paint Brush Energetically She Creates Modern Masterpiece. Dark Creative Studio where Large Canvas Stands on Easel Illuminated. Low Angle Close-up

Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu announced on Monday over $12 million in general operating support grants to fund arts and cultural organizations. This year’s Grants for the Arts (GFTA) funding is primarily dedicated to the general operating support for arts organizations and also aims to support community parades and festivals to help restore the City’s cultural vibrancy and drive its economic recovery.

“We know that the pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it has been especially difficult for our city’s artists and cultural organizations,” said Breed. “The arts are part of what makes San Francisco so special and create an inclusive atmosphere for all who live in and visit our city. During this critical time in our economic recovery, we need to do everything we can to bring back our community festivals that are loved by so many, and support those who contribute to our city’s vibrant culture.”

As president of the Board of Supervisors, Breed spearheaded Proposition E, which was passed by voters in 2018 and allocated 1.5% of hotel tax revenue to the arts. Due to the loss of hotel tax revenues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Breed allocated funding from the General Fund to backfill losses during this year’s budget cycle. Breed’s budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 also includes $12 million for GFTA to support arts organizations, as well as parades and festivals.

“Cultural festivals and arts have always been an essential part of San Francisco’s vibrant community. They draw people to San Francisco, bring communities together, and in many ways, define our experiences here,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “Supporting our arts organizations during these challenging times is key to our City’s recovery.”

The City Administrator manages GFTA, a program that has provided a stable and dependable source for general operating costs to support the City’s arts and cultural organizations since 1961. Since its inception, GFTA has distributed over $400 million to hundreds of arts non-profits and cultural organizations. GFTA funds over 250 arts organizations each fiscal year, including those organizing and supporting parades and festivals throughout the City.

Committed to serving San Francisco’s diverse communities, this is the first year GFTA implemented a funding process that used a strong equity lens to focus on art organizations deeply rooted in and serving diverse populations.

“Having art and cultural events around every corner in the City is why people live here and it’s why people from all over the world visit San Francisco. Art and culture is the soul of San Francisco,” said Vallie Brown, director of Grants for the Arts. “As San Francisco slowly comes out of our long COVID nap, it’s vital that we support our arts organizations and our community’s parades and festivals.”

“Cultural live music and dance has been missing from our community throughout the pandemic,” says Roberto Hernandez, CEO of Carnaval San Francisco. “We appreciate Mayor Breed and Grants for the Arts for providing funding for all communities as we begin to recover and heal.”

In addition to parades and festivals, GFTA funds other essential arts activities, specifically those that capture and reflect the experiences of the City’s diverse communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and cross-cultural collaborations.

“We are blessed to live in one of the best cities in the world that cares about BIPOC stories, artists, and arts organizations by putting actionable effort into funding them,” says Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., artistic director of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO). SFBATCO is a Black, Latin, Asian-led non-profit organization producing compelling theater that builds community, fosters cross-cultural dialogue, and promotes social justice.

A complete list of GFTA’s Fiscal Year 2022 grants can be found here.

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Art

Richmond Art Center Announces Trio of Winter Exhibitions

Community members can check out Art of the African Diaspora Jan. 18 through March 18 in the RAC’s Main Gallery, with the opening reception being held Saturday, Jan. 21 from 2 – 4 p.m. The exhibition will spotlight the work of more than 120 artists of African descent “through representation, professional development and building a creative community,” per the RAC.

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The Remembrance Project (left). Caption 2: Amanda Ayala Ancestor Wheel 2020 (center). Fulfillment by Cynthia Brannvall, 2021 (right). Images courtesy of the Richmond Art Center.
The Remembrance Project (left). Caption 2: Amanda Ayala Ancestor Wheel 2020 (center). Fulfillment by Cynthia Brannvall, 2021 (right). Images courtesy of the Richmond Art Center.

 

By Kathy Chouteau | Richmond Standard

The Richmond Art Center (RAC) has announced its lineup of three winter exhibitions, including Art of the African DiasporaConnected Always and The Remembrance Project, on display at its galleries Jan. 18 through March 18, 2023.

Community members can check out Art of the African Diaspora Jan. 18 through March 18 in the RAC’s Main Gallery, with the opening reception being held Saturday, Jan. 21 from 2 – 4 p.m. The exhibition will spotlight the work of more than 120 artists of African descent “through representation, professional development and building a creative community,” per the RAC.

Artists Derrick Bell, Cynthia Brannvall, and Pryce Jones will be featured in the exhibition and community members can find the Art of the African Diaspora print catalog at the center for info about open studios and satellite exhibitions off-shooting from the RAC event. Learn more about the exhibition https://richmondartcenter.org/exhibitions/art-of-the-african-diaspora-2023

Amanda Ayala’s exhibition, Connected Always, will take place in the RAC’s South Gallery Jan. 20 through March 11, 2023. An opening reception is set for Saturday, Jan. 21 from 2 – 4 p.m., while a free Ancestor Wheel Workshop and artist talk open to everyone will be held by the artist Saturday, Feb. 18, 12 – 2 p.m.

Connected Always will see Ayala — who identifies as a Xicana indigenous visual artist — explore our ancestral connections through her latest works. The interdisciplinary Santa Rosa artist runs workshops “that combine artist liberation and social justice for people of all ages,” per the RAC, and will have one as part of her continuing Ancestor Wheel project during her RAC exhibition. Find out more about Ayala’s exhibition at: https://richmondartcenter.org/exhibitions/connected-always/.

The third winter exhibition, The Remembrance Project, will be shown in the Community Gallery Jan. 18 to March 18, with the opening reception being hosted Saturday, Jan. 21 from 2 – 4 p.m. The Remembrance Project Workshop will be held Saturday, Jan. 28 from 2-4 p.m. and a book talk with Sara Trail will happen on Saturday, March 4, from 1-2:30 p.m.

The Remembrance Project is not only “a cloth memorial of activist art banners commemorating the many people who have lost their lives to systems of inequity and racist structures,” per the RAC, but also two special events for community members — the aforementioned workshop and book talk.

The Social Justice Sewing Academy is presenting the cloth memorial, which has been created by volunteers nationwide “to help educate and inform communities about the human impact of systemic violence,” said the RAC.

The community can coalesce with others fighting for social justice and remember those lost to violence, while also learning about the academy’s work, through two related special events. A workshop on Saturday, Jan. 28 will blend craft, art and activism, while the founder of the academy, Sara Trail, will give a talk and book signing of her work Stitching Stolen Lives on Saturday, March 4. The events are free and available to community members of all ages. Learn more about The Remembrance Project at https://richmondartcenter.org/exhibitions/the-remembrance-project

The RAC is located at 2540 Barrett Ave. in Richmond. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the exhibitions and events are free and open to the community.

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Activism

What Took So Long? Statue of Henrietta Lacks Will Replace Robert E. Lee Monument

In a video of a December 19 press conference posted on the city’s Facebook page, it was announced that a statue honoring Henrietta Lacks will be unveiled in fall of 2023 in the very place that once held a monument dedicated to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The new statue’s permanent home, which was once named Lee Plaza, was renamed Lacks Plaza in Henrietta’s honor.

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Henrietta Lacks / City of Roanoke Facebook page.
Henrietta Lacks / City of Roanoke Facebook page.

The Black woman whose cells have helped advance medical research will be honored in her hometown

By Angela Johnson

The city of Roanoke, Va., is honoring a Black woman who made tremendous contributions to modern medical research without her knowledge or consent.

In a video of a December 19 press conference posted on the city’s Facebook page, it was announced that a statue honoring Henrietta Lacks will be unveiled in fall of 2023 in the very place that once held a monument dedicated to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The new statue’s permanent home, which was once named Lee Plaza, was renamed Lacks Plaza in Henrietta’s honor.

Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, who was on hand for the press conference, said the new Lacks statue is a step toward healing some of the racial divisions of the past. “In the past, we commemorated a lot of men with statues that divided us,” he said. “Here in Roanoke, Va., we will have a statue of a Black woman who brings us all together.”

Fundraisers collected over $160,000 for the project. Roanoke artist Bryce Cobbs created the sketch for the 400-pound bronze sculpture based on two photographs.

And Larry Bechtel, a Blacksburg, Virginia, artist, will sculpt the statue of Lacks who was a Roanoke native.

“I really wanted to have a distinguished, powerful pose. And I wanted her looking up. I always remember, like, looking up as being something like a feeling of proudness and of having that confidence in yourself and the strength in who you are,” Cobbs told NPR.

Henrietta Lacks was undergoing treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 when doctors sent portions of her cancerous tissue to another laboratory without her consent. Lacks passed away in October of that year at age 31.

Researchers used her tissue to harvest a line of living cells known as HeLa cells that are still used in medical research today.

According to Johns Hopkins, the HeLa cells have contributed to several major medical developments over the past several decades, such as the development of polio and COVID-19 vaccines and the study of leukemia and AIDS.

Johns Hopkins says they have never sold or profited from the HeLa cells and have shared them freely for other scientific research.

That is little consolation to the Lacks’ family, who is still seeking justice on Henrietta’s behalf.

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Art

U.C. Berkeley Student Artist Eniola Fakile’s Work Takes on Chaos as Theme

As a Master of Fine Arts student in the Department of Art Practice, Eniola Fakile says she feels encouraged by the faculty to go further, to push herself into new depths of self-exploration. It’s something she has been compelled to do since she was a kid — to put herself and her ideas out into the world, no matter how painful it might be.

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Eniola Fakile (pictured) is a second-year Master of Fine Arts student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice. This photo is from her series Mo ṣe fun e (I did it for you).
Eniola Fakile (pictured) is a second-year Master of Fine Arts student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice. This photo is from her series Mo ṣe fun e (I did it for you).

By Anne Brice | Excerpted from the Berkeley News

Eniola Fakile’s creations live in another world.

Fakile is a photographer. A performance artist. A filmmaker. A sculptor. A costume designer. She works in textiles, ready-made objects and assemblage. She’s not constrained by what has been or should be. Instead, she expands outward to see how far she can go. When an idea flashes in her mind, she imagines a new universe in which that idea, that creation, lives.

“I’m addicted to making things complicated,” she says. “I can never make something basic and easy. I like chaos of my own making because I made it.”

She builds sculptures. Some that people wear — and that she wears — and often posed meticulously. The harder the costumes are to build, the better. They might be made of fuzzy, neon-colored fabric. Or long, fluffy wigs. Or cotton balls and beads and crumpled tissue paper. Right now, she’s trying to figure out how to build a dress out of concrete — with an emphasis on the word “try,” she says.

As a Master of Fine Arts student in the Department of Art Practice, she says she feels encouraged by the faculty to go further, to push herself into new depths of self-exploration. It’s something she has been compelled to do since she was a kid — to put herself and her ideas out into the world, no matter how painful it might be.

Berkeley News spoke with Fakile about the process of creating art — “It’s 0.1% bravery and the rest is, like, I need to get it out,” she says — and how she’s learning to accept her wide-open nature, even when she doesn’t want to.

Berkeley News: Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

Eniola Fakile: I grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I have two lovely immigrant parents who would do anything for me. My parents are from Nigeria. Even though I was born in America, the vibe in my house was like, “Don’t forget that you’re Nigerian. Don’t forget culture and family.” I’m exactly the same as how I was when I was a kid. I wasn’t the kid who everyone was like, “Oh, they’re going to be an artist.” I just did weird stuff. I liked to play outside, and I liked to talk to trees, play in the dirt. I was a bubbly kid. I cried a lot. I still do.

Have you always been interested in creating art?

I feel like I’ve always been doing art. I had an active imagination as a kid. The first time I really got into it was my freshman year of high school. My parents got me my first digital camera when I was a freshman in high school. It was this basic little point-and-shoot thing. I always had my camera with me. I was always taking photos. I took photos of my friends. I took endless photos of trees. I took photos of my feet. I took photos of my hands. I took photos of food. I just really wanted to reintroduce myself to the world through a camera lens.

As a sophomore, I took a film photography class. I fell in love with how physical of a practice it is. It’s learning how to handle things with care, working with chemicals, going out and making mistakes, going out again, making it better.

(Using herself as the ‘model,’ Fakile worked on a video series. Part of one is her exploration of what it means to be a Black woman.)

Eniola Fakile: With each video, I wanted to dig deeper, but then, I also wanted the filming to get better. So, I was trying to progress as a videomaker. I made it over a year, and during that time, I started to become more and more comfortable with myself in front of the camera, talking about these things. And I’m always trying to be really careful about how I talk about being Black in my work because the way I feel about it is complicated.

Don’t get me wrong — I love being Black. But I feel like I want to make work about being Black without being exclusionary. So, I try to make work with little markers that I know other Black people can identify with, but then also everyday things that I know other people will respond to, so that it’s work that anyone can feel connected to. But especially Black people.

So, the series is about all those things. It’s about me as a Black woman dealing with my body image issues or how to deal with my hair. But it is also about me as a person dealing with the stress of everyday life, imposter syndrome, not feeling like I’m good enough. All of those things.

Berkeley News: How do you approach creating art? Once you get an idea, where do you begin?

Eniola Fakile: Every time I start a new series of work, I buy a journal, and I write down what I want to talk about. The process involves a lot of crying. It involves watching the same things over and over again to get the design juices flowing. Like, I’ll watch New Girl over and over again. I’ll watch Cruella — love that movie. The Devil Wears Prada. There’s a show called A Discovery of Witches with a season set in Elizabethan England.

When I get an idea for a sculpture or costume or whatever you want to call them — I still don’t have a name for them — it’s like a quick flash in my mind. I’ll do a really quick, messy sketch. Then, I try my best to build it. And it changes along the way.

My ideas manifest out of everyday things, like a hamburger. I’ll think: What is a hamburger? What if that hamburger had feelings? How do I turn that into a shoe? It sounds ridiculous. It involves a lot of fantasy and imagination, and I love doing it.

See more of Fakile’s work on her website and  Instagram page.

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