A partial guide to the treasures in Ernesto’s collection of articles for Dance Discourse Project 21


With this conversation we hope to engage with participants, panelists and the community at large on large questions around agency and self efficacy.  How are we implicated in the current state of our communities? We call upon you for support, for advice, for dialogue and knowledge share; for your practical, poetic and aspirational assessments of what is happening now and could happen later within the Bay Area Dance Ecology.   

Ernesto Sopprani – Cultural worker and Co-Curator FRESH FESTIVAL


A Partial guide to the treasures in Ernesto’s collection of articles for Dance Discourse Project 21: Dreaming the Future Landscape
By Mary Armentrout

Here is my very short, but hopefully somewhat useful guide to the contents of Ernesto Sopprani’s compilation of articles supporting ddp21.  Ok, there is A LOT of stuff here, and much of is it good, but the sheer number of pages is daunting.  I will give you my quick run downs of the pieces in the hopes that that will make it easier for you to choose what you’ll want to read.  Ernesto has amassed a huge amount of stuff documenting the recent work of ABBA (Arts for a Better Bay Area) in advocating for and successfully causing a $7 million increase to the San Francisco budget for the arts for the next two years.  

This is an amazing development for the bay area and also a great case to study for further progress on these matters, which of course should not stop here.  In addition, Ernesto has added further readings at different levels of policy/strategy/generality, many of which I find very useful for my own thinking on these topics.  Happy reading to you, and hope to see you at ddp21!

[To view the full folder follow this link]

Within this cache we  have 4 folders and 4 single items

APFYDN03> [Folder #1 link]
Two main ABBA documents:

-1 An earlier version of their budget proposal and
-2 Their final ABC (Arts Budget Coalition) Recommendations. I would highly recommend reading the later, and if you want more of the ABBA story, also check out their website which has more of the timeline of the process:  http://betterbayarea.tumblr.com/.


APFYDN03> [Folder #2 link]
Additional reading.

-1. Is an agenda from a recent SF Foundation meeting discussing strategies for promoting equity in the arts
-2. Is an article describing the activities of PolicyLink, an organization in Oakland working to advance equitable policy change through arts and culture. (I found this very helpful)
-3. Is a meditation on the “political ecomony of art,” arguing that a fluid but empowered manner of being an artist might be more successful or satisfying than the current model of “professionalism.” (I also found this thought provoking)
-4. Is the report from the SF working group on non-profit displacement – it looks dry but meaty, and at 107 pages long I regret to say that I haven’t looked into it much – post some comments if you do!
-5. Is a rather long (40 pages) 6 essay report from Andrew Horwitz of Culturbot – a critique of innovation in the arts (I love this kind of stuff and find this a pretty thorough thinking through of a lot of the aspects of the current performing arts situation with reasonable proposals for moving in a better direction – take a look and see what you think)
-6. Is an article about outcome-oriented philanthropy by the outgoing head of the Hewlett Foundation


APFYDN03> [Folder #3 link]
Two articles working with the dance ecosystem metaphor

-1. Is a flow chart from artswave
-2. Is the working paper from consultants WolfBrown “Towards a Healthy and Sustainable Dance Ecosystem” that was generated during Dancers’ Group’s last strategic planning cycle.  This is also long – 39 pages – but I find it quite thorough and illuminating.

APFYDN03> [Folder #4 link]
Various documents from/about Grants for the Arts

-1. Is their 2014-15 Annual Report
-2. Is a list of the 2015 Grantees who remain underfunded
-3. Is a report, requested by Supervisor Mar, analyzing Grants for the Arts funding allocations over the past 25 years, specifically tracking funding allocations to group of people of color and underserved populations.  (This is fantastic although both sad and enraging in its clear depiction of how these allocations are clearly out of line with the city’s demographic breakdown – in a city that is now roughly 50% people of color, the % of grants to organizations of color has not budged in 25 years)



APFYDN03The 4 single items:

-1. The Arts Alliance letter in support of the ABBA budget recommendations (the Arts Alliance is the leaders of SF’s largest arts and cultural organizations)
-2. ABBA budget information updates after the increases were approved
-3. Press release from the Mayor’s office announcing the increase in arts funding
-4. SFAC first annual grants convening meeting agenda, summary of trends from 1995-2014 and ideas for going forward

(first three worth a glance for filling in pieces of the ABBA story)

We hope you find some of these informative and that they help you formulate questions and stay active in what is to come in the next couple of years.  Lets us then dream our future, together.  – FRESH FESTIVAL