Intersection for the Arts

Funding Received: 2011
San Francisco, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 2, 2012

Intersection for the Arts is partnering with Forest City Development on its downtown San Francisco 5M Project— a thriving two-year old prototype community of 2,000 entrepreneurs, technology companies, artists and makers that are building the creative economy. Using art to instigate economic and community change, Intersection’s programs include creative collaboration and problem-solving involving large scale public art, arts-based community engagement, artist residencies, cultural entrepreneurship fellowships, and resource-matching.

Every generation or so, a new key idea (and buzzword) grips the imagination of an entire population of creatives.  There are whole schools of thought, for example, that dedicated their work to such concepts as endurance, body, memory, identity, performance-video, site-specificity, or collaboration.  Outliving the fleeting nature of art fashions, many of these investigations evolve and recur, appearing in the most delightfully unpredictable - and sometimes mainstream - of manifestations.  Such as: the feats of David Blaine, the videos of music group OK Go, flash mobs that occur worldwide, the Internet trend of “planking”, and the unlikely yet sensible pairing of cellist Yoyo Ma with street dancer Lil Buck.

Along with these expressions, the new millennium also has arts leaders deeply re-thinkinglocation, both physical and virtual; as a vehicle equally for commerce and culture; in terms of architecture as well as inhabitants.  Here we have the beginnings of a very interesting dialogue that is commonly referred to as Placemaking.  And like any practice, this exploration stands to present in a multitude of exciting variations, informed by countless elements - among them, certainly locality.

For Intersection for the Arts, relevancy to neighborhood has always figured prominently in its creation and outreach processes.  It’s especially core to the organization today since its April 2011 move from San Francisco’s Mission District to a somewhat still undefined part of town.  An area that to one person may be South of Market, to another, Downtown, and still to others, Mid-Market, each possessing its own persona and way of life.  As curator Kevin Chen points out, this space in-between, this yet unexplored territory "breeds the possibilities and that's just the beautiful thing."