Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was founded in 1993 out of an expressed need for an accessible, high-profile San Francisco venue devoted to contemporary visual art, performance, and film/video representing diverse cultural and artistic perspectives. Distinguished by its support for contemporary artists from around the world, YBCA is also recognized for the important role the organization plays in the San Francisco Bay Area arts ecology and in the community at large.
YBCA has demonstrated leadership as a presenter of national and international artists, as well as Bay Area artists of diverse aesthetic voices. YBCA has commissioned and presented more than 200 world premiere performances, exhibitions, and films; launched the careers of hundreds of emerging artists; produced nationally recognized education programs; and supported performances by several hundred Bay Area performing arts groups.
YBCA serves as a catalyst for local and regional artistic activity. From its award-winning youth arts and activism job training program, Young Artists at Work, to the acclaimed triennial Bay Area Now multidisciplinary arts festival, YBCA has established its leadership role as a champion of living artists working in the Bay Area. YBCA also maintains an active community partnership program that makes performance spaces available for rent to a wide spectrum of Bay Area performing arts organizations.
YBCA is a center of creativity in the Bay Area; recognized locally, nationally, and globally for its dedication to artistic innovation, its imagination in the exploration of ideas and its sustained commitment to creatively engaging the community in contemporary art. YBCA’s stated long-term vision is to place contemporary art at the heart of community life.
YBCA also serves as a hub for innovative thought in the Bay Area, hosting corporate sponsored activities in its venues with such leading-edge firms as Apple, Google, Twitter, Salesforce, Adobe, and Audi, partnering with community organizations and professional associations on such events as the Game Marketing Summit, the AIGA Gain Conference, and the annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration.
Artistically, YBCA is decidedly “cutting edge,” presenting and exhibiting work by artists who are pushing the boundaries of their art in form and/or content. With fierce determination, YBCA supports artists’ adventuring, recognizing the risk involved in such an approach. There are only a few multi-disciplinary contemporary arts centers like YBCA anywhere in the United States. Within that cohort, with whom YBCA regularly collaborates, YBCA is a leader for its organizational stability as well as its programmatic adventurousness. This combination makes YBCA an important player in the national arts scene.
With a budget just under $10 million, YBCA is a “mid-size” organization. We view this as a strength that allows us to collaborate with and learn from organizations both larger and smaller. A program or project piloted at YBCA can serve as a model for other organizations, regardless of size. In the last few years, YBCA has assumed a stronger leadership role in the Bay Area arts community by convening groups of artists, arts administrators, arts workers, and arts lovers around issues of importance to the community.