5 Bay Area Groups That Promote Art & Culture

All members of society deserve access to the healing power of art, and that includes both the chance to create and the chance to experience art in the community. These groups are dedicated to ensuring the artistic legacy of the Bay Area stays alive through vital programs that inspire understanding and compassion among participants and audience members. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Cultural And Artistic Organizations In The Bay Area

Name Headquarters Focus
Berkeley Art Center Berkeley Collaborates with some of the Bay Area’s most promising artists to showcase local work through exhibitions in Live Oak Park
AXIS Dance Company Oakland Contemporary dance ensemble featuring disabled performers that advocates for inclusion
Creative Growth Art Center Oakland Provides studio and exhibition space for artists with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities
Richard Diebenkorn Foundation Berkeley Promotes and fosters appreciation for the work of Richard Diebenkorn through publications, archives, and online resources
Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra Berkeley Brings free choral concerts to the community and offers local singers a chance to participate

Performance by AXIS Dance Company

Famous Artists Of The Bay Area

The Impact Of Creative Growth Art Center

In Depth

The Bay Area, which includes San Francisco and the surrounding cities, is a cultural hub and home to many vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. It is no surprise that this region is home to many nonprofit organizations working hard to bring unique cultural experiences to the local communities, and to advance arts globally. Here, in no particular order, are five exceptional Bay Area groups that promote art and culture.

#1 on our list is the Berkeley Art Center, a nonprofit that supports Bay Area artists to explore the social and political concerns of their diverse community. Founded alongside the counterculture movements of the 1960's, this organization helped Berkeley to become a mecca for creative experimentation. Since 1967, it has been a home for the most promising contemporary artists and curators from throughout the region to respond to the issues of their time.

This nonprofit hosts thousands of visitors each year through an ambitious slate of exhibitions, performances, lectures and workshops, including an annual luncheon celebrating artists at the heart of the Bay Area's creative scene. The gallery and most of its events are free to the public. If you would like to support this group, you can become a member, make a one-time donation, or volunteer with the center.

The gallery and most of its events are free to the public.

At #2 on our list, we have the AXIS Dance Company an acclaimed ensemble of disabled and non-disabled performers based in Oakland, California. This organization has been at the forefront of the field of integrated dance, building a bridge between contemporary dance and disability culture since 1987. It creates opportunities locally and abroad for people with disabilities by championing access, inclusion, and equity.

Alongside its artistic performances, this group provides education and outreach programs. Its youth programming includes interactive school assemblies and residencies in which students work with an instructor over the course of several weeks. This organization also teaches both recreational and professional classes, building access to dance education for people of all ages with and without disabilities. To support the AXIS Dance Company, you can donate on its website.

In the #3 spot is the Creative Growth Art Center, a non-profit based in Oakland, California that serves artists with disabilities by providing a professional studio environment for mentorship, gallery exhibition, and representation. Founded in 1974, this organization is a leader in the field of arts and disabilities. Artists working with this group are provided with high-quality materials and space to work in a variety of media.

Founded in 1974, this organization is a leader in the field of arts and disabilities.

Many artists produce exhibition quality work, and pieces made at this studio have been acquired by prominent collections worldwide. As a non-profit gallery, each sale is split equally between the artist and Creative Growth, which uses the proceeds to purchase materials and keep the program running. This non-profit also provides a youth program for young adults ages fifteen to twenty-two with developmental disabilities. For those who would like to support this group, you can donate online, become a member, volunteer, or buy something from its gift shop.

Next up, at #4 is the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in Berkeley, California. Its mission is to expand knowledge and foster appreciation of Richard Diebenkorn's art. In 2016, in association with Yale University Press, it published a definitive resource of the artist's works. It also maintains an online catalogue that provides access to his monumental body of work, as well as an archive of personal documents.

The archives put out a quarterly publication which highlights moments in Diebenkorn's life, and contextualizes them among crucial artistic and global developments of the twentieth century. This foundation collaborates with museums on exhibitions, and its staff works directly with scholars, historians, and students to assist them with appropriate projects. You can request access to research materials, or browse the publicly available materials, on the foundation's website.

You can request access to research materials, or browse the publicly available materials, on the foundation's website.

And finally, in the #5 spot is the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, or B.C.C.O. for short. The goal of this non-profit organization is to offer anyone in the community the opportunity to sing and hear great choral music. This group is committed to inspiring singers of all abilities to sing significant choral works at the highest level, and as such, members do not have to audition in order to join. It performs each winter and spring, bringing free music to the general public.

The chorus performs with the accompaniment of a full orchestra, comprised of community members, including professional musicians associated with the Berkeley Symphony. In addition to the cornerstone ensemble, there is also a women's chorus and an a cappella group that performs at diverse local venues, such as senior residences, hospitals, and a variety of community functions. To support the B.C.C.O., you can donate in a variety of ways, apply to be a volunteer, or join the orchestra itself.