7 Committed Organizations Promoting Art In The Bay Area

The Bay Area has a proud tradition of making art, from paintings and sculptures to film and theatre. Whether you're a creator yourself or an enthusiast, there are plenty of organizations that are worth looking into and supporting. The seven groups listed here are dedicated to promoting all kinds of art and supporting artists young and old. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Bay Area Groups That Promote The Arts

Organization Type of Art Mission
San Francisco Cinematheque Film Make experimental film a part of the larger cultural landscape through exhibition, publication, and education
Root Division Visual art Empower artists, promote community service, inspire youth, and enrich the Bay Area through engagement in the visual arts
Pro Arts Commons Various Support artists and cultural producers/organizers at all stages of their careers
The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art Visual art Promote greater awareness, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary art
West Edge Opera Opera Re-imagine tradition to create innovative experiences that respect the original spirit of the work
826 Valencia Writing Support under-resourced students with their writing skills and help teachers inspire their students to write
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival Film Educate the public about silent film as an art form and as a culturally valuable historical record

Tips For Being More Creative

  • Ask questions
  • Learn more about any topic you find interesting
  • Bring a sketch pad with you when you go out
  • Make time to play, no matter how old you get
  • Keep a journal
  • Don't be afraid to take risks
  • Carry a camera with you
  • Do something creative every day, even if it's small

8 Great Films About The Arts

  1. I, Don Giovanni (2009)
  2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
  3. Frida (2002)
  4. All About Eve (1950)
  5. Birdman (2014)
  6. Basquiat (1996)
  7. Surviving Picasso (1996)
  8. Amadeus (1984)

Notable Bay Area Artists

San Francisco's Mission District In The '90s

In Depth

Art defines culture and enriches our lives. It is a source of community building, political engagement, personal fulfillment, therapy, and entertainment. While funding for the arts is often limited, many nonprofit organizations are working hard to bring it to the forefront. In no particular order, here are seven organizations promoting art in the Bay Area.

First up at #1 on the list is the San Francisco Cinematheque, one of the most knowledgeable and respected showcases of experimental film and video in the world. Its intention is to make these works a part of the larger cultural landscape through three main areas of activity: exhibition, publication, and education. The organization's diverse programming includes contemporary, experimental, and historical works.

Since its founding in 1961, Cinematheque has continued to produce roughly 50 programs annually at various venues in San Francisco, and participates in numerous co-presentations with other organizations throughout the Bay Area. Supporters of the Cinematheque become part of a vibrant community that supports risk-taking art, cutting-edge artists and the boundless potential of creative expression. Those looking to help out can do so through direct donation, a yearly membership, or volunteering.

Supporters of the Cinematheque become part of a vibrant community that supports risk-taking art, cutting-edge artists and the boundless potential of creative expression.

At #2 is Root Division, a visual arts non-profit that connects creativity and community through a dynamic ecosystem of arts education, exhibitions, and studios. Root Division's mission is to empower artists, promote community service, inspire youth, and enrich the Bay Area through engagement in the visual arts. The organization's vision is to be a model of creative excellence, sustainability, and collaboration as it empowers emerging artists to amplify art's positive impact on society.

Root Division runs four interconnected programs - Studios, Youth Education, Adult Education, and Exhibitions and Events - which link diverse audiences and interests in mutually beneficial relationships. This organization's programs not only nurture creativity, but also foster volunteerism and community engagement that is vital to the social, economic, and cultural health of the Bay Area. Those interested in supporting these efforts can do so through direct donation or by volunteering their time.

Next up at #3 on the list is Pro Arts Commons, a multi-use space for the expanded field of art, debate, experimentation, and collaboration, in Oakland, California. Since its inception, Pro Arts has reflected the world through the prism of art. Through its work, the organization has supported more than 20,000 artists and cultural producers and organizers at all stages of their careers.

Through its work, the organization has supported more than 20,000 artists and cultural producers and organizers at all stages of their careers.

Pro Arts Commons houses exhibitions, symposiums, experimental music and film programs, literary events, reading groups, assemblies and community events, and short-term, research-based residencies. It is a local commons-centric network of autonomous organizations, collectives and individual artists and commoners. Those who want to help out can do so by donating or shopping from the online store.

At #4 on the list is The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, also known as the I.C.A., which is an energetic art space located in downtown San Jose, dedicated to promoting greater awareness, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary art. The I.C.A.'s ongoing series of site-specific installations makes it a destination for experiencing unique, immersive exhibitions that transform the gallery and engage, delight, and inspire its visitors.

Founded in 1980, the I.C.A. has long been committed to presenting solo and group exhibitions of visually compelling and conceptually challenging contemporary art in all media, as well as a variety of public programs that include exhibition tours, panel discussions, artist presentations, workshops, and demos, as well as impromptu conversations in the gallery. To support this organization, one can purchase a membership, make a donation, or volunteer their time.

To support this organization, one can purchase a membership, make a donation, or volunteer their time.

At #5 is West Edge Opera, a company that strives to look at opera in a fresh and innovative way, enhancing the experience for both performers and audiences. This nonprofit believes that everyone, regardless of age, circumstance or background, can discover the excitement and relevance of opera in their lives. It looks at the art form through a new lens, re-imagining tradition to connect with a modern audience.

West Edge Opera creates innovative experiences of the highest quality, that respect the original spirit of the work. Its repertoire includes new and unusual works as well as both favorite and lesser-known ones by well-known composers. The company has presented world, American, and west coast opera premieres, and commissioned several new translations and adaptations of classic pieces. Donating and volunteering are both effective ways of supporting West Edge Opera and its mission.

Next up at #6 on the list is 826 Valencia, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. The organization's services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

The organization's services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

Writing is a tool for processing experiences, building community, and bringing imagination to life. When students feel confidence and pride in their writing skills, they can access opportunities, tell their stories, and make the world a better place. 826 Valencia comprises three writing centers and three satellite classrooms at nearby public schools. All of its programs are offered free of charge. Those looking to help out can do so through donating, volunteering, or shopping from the online store.

Finishing off the list at #7 is The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about silent film as an art form and as a culturally valuable historical record. Throughout the year, SFSFF produces events that showcase important titles from the silent era, often in restored or preserved prints, with live musical accompaniment by some of the world's finest practitioners of the art of putting music to film.

The organization's founders wanted to share their love of early cinema with the world, and they knew that presenting silent films as they are meant to be seen, in beautiful prints on a big screen with live musical accompaniment, could thrill modern audiences. Today, their creation has outstripped their wildest dreams and grown into the largest and most prestigious silent film festival outside of Pordenone, Italy. Those interested in supporting The San Francisco Silent Film Festival can do so by donating directly, purchasing a membership, or volunteering.