About Us

Our Mission

We generate culture that moves people.

YBCA believes that culture is an essential catalyst for change. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of arts institutions to spur and support societal movement.

Our mission is fulfilled through five key platforms:

  1. The presentation of leading edge contemporary art
  2. The incubation of game changing creative ideas
  3. A commitment to inquiry, and asking the urgent questions of our time
  4. Convenings that bridge people, communities, and sectors
  5. Civic coalitions that create lasting change and policy shift
Our Work

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is one of the nation’s most innovative arts institutions. Founded in 1993 as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens development, YBCA’s work spans the realms of contemporary art, civic engagement, and public life. By using culture as an instrument for social change, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the community it serves.

Each year, more than half a million people participate in programs at our downtown campus and throughout the community. Our curators and artist-collaborators present hundreds of programs annually, making YBCA a hub of creative energy throughout the year.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is not an art museum. While museums maintain permanent art collections, YBCA is a non-collecting organization – more like a European kunsthalle. This frees up resources that can be directed towards developing new, innovative cultural programs. Unlike museums, YBCA places equal emphasis on visual arts, performing arts, the art of film, and our civic engagement work. This means that each visit to YBCA can be a new and very different experience.

Our Community

As a civic asset and citizen institution, YBCA is committed to supporting the local arts ecosystem. Our annual calendar includes several programs presented by community partners, including LINES Ballet, ODC Dance, and Smuin Ballet. By providing these vital organizations with subsidized rental rates and world-class production support, we help ensure their work reaches Bay Area audiences.

Our community’s biggest challenges require collaborative solutions. That’s why YBCA works with over 40 local arts, advocacy, social justice, and community organizations. We work across sectors to advance the insights, ideas, and projects that can create real change. In addition, our multi-year partnerships with the San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Unified School District have yielded new ways to help citizens of all ages shape the future of their communities. Learn more »

Our Movement

YBCA wants to create a more inclusive and equitable culture; one that brings together citizens of all kinds from across the Bay Area and beyond in order to build cultural movement. Everyone is welcome at YBCA. All artists, thinkers, and makers. All model citizens, senior citizens, and soon-to-be citizens.

We never want price to be a barrier to participation. That’s why YBCA introduced the Pay What You Can level of Membership, and continues to offer discounts to teachers, students, non-profit workers, public transportation riders, and members of the military (just to name a few). Join our movement »

Our approach

Listen to CEO, Deborah Cullinan, describe YBCA’s framework for using culture as a tool for change.