By Jeff Jones and Russell T. Cramer
April 20, 1989


This report analyzes San Francisco's annual municipal funding allocations to nonprofit arts organizations in FY 1987-88 and FY 1988-89, including the proportion of funds received by large budget arts institutions, and by multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations. Statistics were compiled from the City's operating budget, published news articles, previous studies and interviews with the staff of arts funding agencies and nonprofit arts organizations.

At least 23 separate San Francisco departments and agencies operate arts programs, yet no one in City Hall compiles arts funding data from all sources. This report represents the only known compilation of San Francisco's annual allocations to nonprofit arts organizations.

Only an audit of San Francisco's annual arts expenditures could provide a completely accurate overview of the City's arts funding patterns; in the absence of an audit, we have compiled the available arts funding data. Any municipal agency or arts organization disputing our figures is invited to provide detailed documentation.

Throughout this report the term "multicultural"* is used as a substitute for "minority." Multicultural is the term used by national, state and local arts funders to describe nonprofit arts organizations whose artists, boards, staffs and artistic products are predominantly African-American, Asian American, Latino or Native American. The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, the Asian American Dance Collective, the Mexican Museum and American Indian Contemporary Arts are examples of San Francisco-based multicultural arts groups.

Lesbian/gay arts organizations are rooted in the City's lesbian/gay community; most have formed and matured over the part ten years. Theatre Rhinoceros, the S. F. Band Foundation and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus are examples of San Francisco lesbian/gay arts groups.

Women's arts organizations have predominantly female boards and staffs and present works performed and/or created by women artists. The Bay Area Women's Philharmonic and Brava! for Women in the Arts are examples of San Francisco women's arts groups.

Small-to-mid-sized arts organizations are those with annual budgets of less than $1 million. The San Francisco Mime Troupe,m the Margaret Jenkins Dance company, Theatre Artaud and the Kronos Quartet are examples of small-to-mid-sized Sand Francisco arts groups.

Large budget arts institutions are those with annual budgets of more than $1 million. San Francisco's nine large budget arts organizations are the Symphony, the Ballet, the Opera, the Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Arts Museums, the Asian Art Museum, American Conservatory Theater, the Exploratorium and the War Memorial Board.

The San Francisco Arts Commission and a variety of City agencies and departments also receive public funds to operate arts programs. Since they do not systematically regrant City funds to nonprofits arts organizations, their revenues and allocations were not included in this report.

This report was not underwritten by a federal, state, county or local funding agency, nor by a foundation or corporation; the authors worked solely as volunteers.

* Multicultural arts organizations are those "based within an ethnic minority community, as reflected in its staff, board of directors, audiences and content of artistic programming. Multicultural applicants are defined as being deeply rooted in and reflective of an ethnic community, such as a Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander of Native American community." (California Arts Council, Multicultural Advancement Program Guidelines, summer 1986, page 4)


The City and County of San Francisco will distribute $17,512,500 in public funds to the City's nonprofit arts organizations in the current fiscal year (1988-89).

Multicultural (minority) arts organizations will receive $884,900 (5.1%) of municipal arts funds: Asian American groups will receive $237,000 (1.4%); Latino groups, $330,100 (1.9%); African-American organizations, $239.000 (1.4%); Native American groups, $78,800 (0.4%).

Lesbian/gay arts organizations will receive $96,000 (0.5%); women's arts groups will be awarded $63,700 (0.4%); small-to-mid-sized arts groups (non-multicultural) will get 2,305,900 (13.2%).

San Francisco's nine large budget nonprofit arts institutions will receive $14,162,000 from the City in FY 1988-98 (80.9% of the City's total arts allocations).

Nonprofit arts organizations receive municipal funds from three primary revenue sources:

1. The City's operating budget: $5,804,000 in FY 1988-89 is allocated as line items to the Fine Arts Museums ($4,604,000) and to the Asian Art Museum ($1,200,000).

2. Property taxes: the San Francisco Symphony receives 0.5% of the City's annual property taxes ($524,000 in FY 1988-89) for Pops Concerts organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission.

3. Hotel taxes: The War Memorial Board receives 10% of the City's annual hotel tax revenues ($4,740,000 in FY 1988-89) to subsidize the Civic Center arts facilities: Davies Symphony Hall, the Opera House, Herbst Theatre and the Veteran's Building. Another 17% of the City's annual hotel tax revenues goes to Grants for the Arts, a municipal arts funding agency administered by San Francisco's Chief Administrative Officer. The agency will distribute $7,558,700* to nonprofit arts groups in FY 1988-89 (about 40% of the City's total municipal arts funds to nonprofit arts groups). Of these funding sources only Grants for the Arts supports multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations.

* This report can account for only $6,444,500 of Grants for the Arts FY 1988-89 funds because the agency would not provide a list of annual allocations for its other programs, including the Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund, Arts Spaces Initiative, non-recurring events and mid-year requests. The agency awards an additional $499,300 to non-arts groups such as street fairs, parades and promotional organizations.


The purpose of this report is to call public attention to institutionalized discrimination in San Francisco's municipal arts funding patterns and to the funding procedures that foster it. When patterns, policies of practices within an institution or governing body have a negative impact on minorities, lesbians/gays, women or any other group, the term institutionalized discrimination is used to describe the problem. It can be a result of ignorance, neglect of hostility by an institution's or governing body's leaders.

Institutionalized discrimination denies San Francisco's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations an equitable share of municipal arts funds and equitable access to the City's subsidized arts facilities.

During the current fiscal year (1988-89), San Francisco's multicultural arts organizations will receive only 5.1% of municipal arts funds, even though racial minorities now constitute about 60% of San Francisco's population.*

Compounding this funding inequity, multicultural arts groups do not have equitable access top San Francisco's Civic Center arts facilities, which are publicly subsidized at nearly $5 million annually.

Lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations are also denied an equitable share of municipal arts funds. In FY 1988-89 lesbian/gay arts organizations will receive 0.5% of the City's arts funds; women's arts groups will get 0.4%; small-to-mid-sized arts organizations (non-multicultural) will receive 13.2%. Lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations also are denied equitable access to the subsidized Civic Center arts facilities.

San Francisco's nine large budget arts institutions will receive 80.9% of the City's total municipal arts funds in FY 1988-89, the subsidized Civic Center arts facilities are readily available to them.

Because no San Francisco agency is responsible for compiling and reporting arts allocations from all municipal sources, institutionalized discrimination in the City's arts funding patterns has not been apparent to elected officials or to the public. Nor is any San Francisco agency of official held accountable for the City's overall arts policy.

San Francisco's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations are unable to participate in funding and policymaking procedures, because there are no public procedures. Municipal arts funders make their allocations without holding public hearings, without peer review of grant applications and without procedures to appeal funding decisions. These behind-closed-doors decision-making procedure foster institutionalized discrimination, which flourishes in the absence of public input or scrutiny.

Over the past twenty years the City and County of San Francisco has systematically fostered the development of a ballet, an opera, a symphony, a repertory theater and three museums that are now considered world class institutions. San Francisco has not yet committed itself to systematically develop its multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations into world class institutions.

In 1989 San Francisco is at a fork in the road. The City faces two distinct choices, two possible futures:

San Francisco can promote the integration of its prominent arts institutions; require an equitable distribution of municipal arts funds and equitable use of subsidized facilities; initiate public procedures for making arts funding and policy decisions. Or:

The City will promote polarization of its arts communities, intensified political conflict over municipal arts funding and policy, and perhaps provoke litigation like the class action lawsuits which forced San Francisco to integrate its police and fire departments.

To assist the City to eliminate its discriminatory arts funding and policymaking procedures, the authors offer five recommendations:

1. The Mayor and Board of Supervisors should pass legislation requiring municipal arts funding and policy issues to be debated and decided in public.

2. The Mayor and Board of Supervisors should pass legislation mandating an annual audit of municipal arts allocations and expenditures.

3. The Mayor should appoint a Deputy Mayor for the Arts to coordinate the City's 23 separate arts programs.

4. The City should systematically integrate its Civic Center arts facilities and the War Memorial's Board of Directors.

5. The City should develop a plan to foster the organizational development of multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations. The plan should mandate annual increases in the proportion of municipal arts funds allocated to these groups.

*Association for Bay Area Governments and the San Francisco Planning Department; reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 5, 1988.


In FY 1988-89, 80.9% of City funding to nonprofit arts groups will be awarded to nine large budget organizations; the San Francisco Opera, the Fine Arts Museums, the San Francisco Ballet, the San Francisco Symphony, the American Conservatory Theater, the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Exploratorium and the War Memorial Board.

As demonstrated in a report* issued last year, these organizations (except the Asian Art Museum) have only token minority representation on their boards, employ virtually no minorities in executive or managerial positions and produce programs that attract almost exclusively white audiences.

To address this problem, last August the S.F. Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution establishing a twenty-seven member task force to consider and make recommendations on the following items:

1. How to increase minority participation of the boards of the City's largest arts organizations.

2. How to increase minority employment in their work forces.

3. How to reach and increase minority audiences for these institution's programs.

The task force is charged with presenting a written report by August 1989. The establishment of this task force marks the opening of a nationally significant public policy discussion about the board composition, employment patterns and programming decisions of prominent arts institutions subsidized by public funds.

Because San Francisco is a trend-setting arts center, the City's efforts to integrate its leading arts institutions could provide a model for the nation's prominent arts institutions, most of which face similar problems.

Last year William Wong, Associate Editor of the Oakland Tribune, criticized San Francisco's "arts apartheid policies."** Institutionalized discrimination in San Francisco's municipal arts funding patterns is of national significance because the City is one of the nation's leading arts centers and is home to the nation's most diverse multicultural, lesbian/gay and women's arts communities. By addressing this problem, the City's elected officials can initiate a nationwide debate about the criteria utilized by federal, state and local arts funding agencies to determine their annual allocations.

* "San Francisco's Prominent Arts Organizations: Why Aren't They Equal Opportunity Employers?", by Jeff Jones, March 1988.

** William Wong, Associate Editor of the Oakland Tribune, in a published speech given at the fall 1988 dinner of the Asian Heritage Council of Santa Clara County.


Institutionalized discrimination is fostered by San Francisco's uncoordinated arts funding and policy-making mechanisms. Because 23 separate San Francisco departments or agencies make arts policies without any central coordination, there is no overview of the City's arts funding patterns.

San Francisco's arts policies are decided by a bewildering array of City agencies:

"When surveyed in 1988, 23 departments or commissions within the government structure of the City and County of San Francisco indicated that they have department policies or programs which are directly related to the arts. Each of those departments -- the Airport Commission, the Asian Art Museum, the Bureau of Building Inspection, the California Academy of Sciences, the Chief Administrative Officer, the City Attorney's Office, the Commission on Aging, the Department of City Planning, the Department of Public Health, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Fire Department, the Mayor's Office of Community Development, the mayor's Office of Housing, Economic Development and Small Business, the Police Department, the Public Library, the Public Utilities Commission, the Recreation and Parks Department, the Arts Commission, the Community Colleges, the Unified School District, the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, the Redevelopment Agency, and the Government Operations Committee of the Board of Supervisors -- has its own policies, procedures, guidelines, or requirements which apply in various ways to arts organizations and artists. Each has its own purview, and for the most part, each arts independently."*

Since San Francisco's arts funding decisions are made through the twenty-three uncoordinated channel outlined above, the City's elected officials and appointed policy-makers have no comprehensive overview of how their decisions impact the City's residents and arts communities. This lack of coordination and impact analysis is a disservice to the City's artists, nonprofit arts organizations and taxpayer. Because the City's arts funding decisions are departmentalized rather than coordinated, accountability is virtually nonexistent. The problem of institutionalized discrimination has developed because no one inside City government is responsible for developing a overview of municipal arts programs or for analyzing their collective impact.

From a public policy perspective, taxpayers have a right to expect that policy makers who are paid to allocate the City's resources should examine the assumptions implicit in their decisions and should be held accountable.


The Mayor should appoint a Deputy Mayor for the Arts to coordinate the City's various arts funding and policy-making bureaucracies and to develop public policy-making procedures.

* San Francisco Arts Policy Plan, first draft, February 1989, page 18; prepared by the Arts Commission's State and Local Partnership Program and the Department of City Planning.


Most of San Francisco's arts funding decisions are made behind-closed-doors, without any public procedures which would permit artists, community members and taxpayers to express their views.

Grants for the Arts will distribute more than $7 million to nonprofit arts organizations this year without a public process to discuss grant allocations, to evaluate its programs or to receive public input about its policies. Nor is Grants for the Arts accountable to a board of commission.

Grants for the Arts is not a typical San Francisco agency because it is administered by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) instead of the Mayor. In San Francisco, commissions appointed by the Mayor participate in public funding and policy decisions for departments or agencies in the fields of health care, seniors' services, the port, mental health, criminal justice, parking and transportation, employment/training, parks and recreation, the airport and most other municipal departments. Mayoral commission are required by law to hear public testimony, and commissioners must vote in public. In contrast, Grants for the Art's funding and policy decisions are made by its staff and the CAO in private.

The War Memorial Board is the largest single recipient of municipal funds to nonprofit arts groups, receiving nearly $5 million this year. All eleven board members are white. The War Memorial Board does not hold public hearings on how its monies are spent and it operates facilities largely inaccessible to the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts groups.

Each year, 0.5% of the City's property taxes are allocated to underwrite nine Pops Concerts organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission; the S.F. Symphony receives these funds for performing. This allocation is set by a Charter Amendment; thus there is no public process.

The Fine Arts Museums and the Asian Art Museum receive their annual municipal allocations as line items in the City's operating budget. Consequently, this is the one municipal arts funding procedure which provides and opportunity for public participation (through the Board of Supervisors' and the Mayor's budget deliberations).

San Francisco's arts funding policy procedures originated when the City was predominantly white. These procedures continue to award most municipal arts fund to non-integrated institutions which serve largely white audiences. Nowhere else in City government are decisions about public expenditures made without regard for the substantial demographic changes that have occurred in San Francisco during the past twenty-five years.


San Francisco's primary arts funding mechanisms and revenue sources are governed by the City's Administrative Codes:

I The War Memorial Board

Paragraph 15, Part III, Article 7, Section 515 of the City's Administrative Code specifies that 10% of the monies collected from hotel taxes shall be appropriated to the War Memorial Board to defray the cost of maintaining, operating and caring for the War Memorial buildings and grounds. These buildings include San Francisco's most prestigious venues: the Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall and the Herbst Theatre. Also, by Charter Amendment, the Museum of Modern Art is provided free space in the Veterans' Building.
All eleven War Memorial Board members, who are appointed by the Mayor, are white. Three of them also sit on the boards of the large budget arts institutions which monopolize the Civic Center facilities. No representatives of the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's or small-to-mid-sized arts organizations sit on the War Memorial Board.

The War Memorial Board's Decision-Making Process

In 1988-89 the City awarded $4,740,000 to the War Memorial Board to operate the Civic Center arts facilities. The way the War Memorial allocates its public funds embodies institutionalized discrimination in its most obvious form. Although these funds are theoretically allocated for the benefit of the entire arts community, the board's policies guarantee the facilities almost exclusive use by only four large budget organizations: the Symphony, Opera, Ballet and Museum of Modern Art. These funds are not spent to support or present the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's or small-to-mid-sized arts organizations; instead they are utilized to subsidize high priced performances attended primarily by affluent white audiences.

In 1989 the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the only event that annually showcased large numbers of multicultural artists in the Civic Center performing arts complex, decided it could no longer afford to present at the Herbst because of prohibitive costs. In addition, even when small-to-mid-sized arts organizations are ready to take the financial risk of performing in Civic Center venues, they usually discover that dates are unavailable because the Opera, Symphony or Ballet have first choice.


We recommend that the Mayor use his future War Memorial appointments to create a board which includes representatives of San Francisco's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations.

In addition, we recommend that the War Memorial Board be required to develop a facility access grant program which would set aside a specific percentage of its annual allocation (we suggest at least 20%) to underwrite productions At Davies Symphony Hall, the Opera House and the Herbst Theatre by the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations.

II. Property Taxes

As another example of institutionalized discrimination, San Francisco's Charter specifies that one-half of one percent of all property taxes be used to pay a symphony orchestra to perform at the arts Commission's annual Pops Concerts. The San Francisco Symphony is always given the job; there is no application procedure through which any other orchestra can apply. In FY 1988-89 taxpayers will antee up $524,000 to pay the Symphony to perform in nine Pops Concerts. The existence of this subsidy is a testament to the Symphony's City Hall clout; no other social service of cultural organization is specifically awarded a percentage of the City's property taxes. This allocation can be changed only by referendum.


We recommend that the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors develop a Charter Amendment to establish a competitive application procedure open to all nonprofit arts groups who want to apply for funds generated by the annual 0.5% in City property taxes.

III. San Francisco's Operating Budget

Each year the City's operating budget includes two large budget nonprofit arts organizations as line-items: the Fine Arts Museums (the DeYoung and the Palace of the Legion of Honor) and the Asian Art Museum. As with every other budget line-item, the Mayor proposes a specific funding recommendation, which the board of Supervisors can either lower or delete but not increase. This process is governed by the City Code's budget-making policies.

Neither the Fine Arts Museums or the Asian Art Museum are designated "multicultural" by local, state or federal public funding agencies. The Asian Art Museum originated when the late Avery Brundage donated his valuable Asian art collection to the City. Until recently, the Asian Art Museum's board and staff were almost exclusively white and the Asian American community did not participate in the organization. But now the museum is making progress.

The Asian Art Museum is San Francisco's only large budget nonprofit arts institution with substantial multicultural representation on its board and staff: 5 of 22 board members are Asian; and Asian American is board chair; 4 of 13 artistic personnel are Asian American; 4 of 16 administrative staff positions are held by minorities. Frequently the Museum provides meeting and performance space for Asian American groups. The Asian Art Museum's commitment to programs serving the City's diverse residents provides a model for other San Francisco large-budget arts institutions to study and imitate.

In contrast, the Fine Arts Museums have an embarrassing track record: only 3 of 47 board members are minorities; all 19 artistic personnel are white; only 11 of 65 administrative personnel are non-white. The City-subsidized Florence Gould Theatre, located in the Palace of the Legion of Honor, is under-utilized by the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts groups.


The mayor and the Board of Supervisors should closely monitor the board and staff composition of the Fine Arts Museums. In addition, the Fine Arts Museums should make the Florence Gould Theatre available at subsidized rates for use by the City's multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts groups.

IV. Grants for the Arts

Under Part III, Articles 7, Section 515, Paragraphs 10 & 11 of the Municipal Code, the Board of Supervisors allocates 17% of the total annual revenues generated by the Hotel Tax to the City's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) "to be used for publicity and advertising purposes…and for cultural and promotional organizations." Grants for the Arts, a municipal arts funding agency administered by the CAO, distributes these funds to nonprofit arts organizations, promotional organizations, parades and street fairs.

San Francisco's Chief Administrative Officer is appointed to a ten-year term by the mayor; the City's current CAO, Rudolf Nothenberg was appointed by former Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Grants for the Arts' director Kary Schulman was hired by former CAO Roger Boas.

Grants for the Arts will distribute more than $7 million to San Francisco nonprofit arts groups in FY 1988-89. The agency also makes grants for the renovation of nonprofit performance spaces and galleries. Although the monies awarded by Grants for the Arts represent about 40% of the City's annual arts funds, it is the only program that provides financial support for multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized nonprofit arts organizations.

Grants for the Arts' Behind-Closed-Doors Decision-Making Process

In a brochure published in 1988, Grants for the Arts describes its decision-making process:

"Staff of Grants for the Arts review applications, then present evaluations to the Citizen's Advisory Committee that meets monthly to assess the eligibility of each organization. Staff members make site visits and consult experts in the field, critics and other funders to help them make funding recommendations.

"Appointed by the CAO Chief Administrative Officer), the nine members of the broadly-based Advisory Committee offer their fiscal and management expertise and funding knowledge to the grant-making process. They provide guidance and advice on the staff's recommendations.

"In July, the Grants staff and the Advisory Committee present their recommendations to the CAO, who reviews them, makes final determinations and, in August, notifies groups by letter of the funding decisions."

In practice, Grants for the Arts' two staff members decide most of the agency's funding allocations. The staff solicits advice from an appointed Advisory Committee whose meetings are not open to the public; not is a public record kept of the committee's deliberations. The staff's recommendations are given to the Chief Administrative Officer, whose deliberations are not a matter of public record either. When the CAO announces allocations each August, no public process is available for arts organizations to ask questions or appeal decisions.

Grants for the Arts' decision-making procedures are radically different from those employed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the California Arts Council (CAC), the City of Oakland, the Alameda County Arts Commission and many other county and municipal arts funding agencies. Most public arts funding agencies utilize a peer review system in which working artists and arts administrators participate in the evaluation of grants proposals and recommend funding allocations.

For example, the California Arts Council's funding decisions are made based on the evaluations of peer review panels, which are representative of the state's diverse arts communities. Panelists evaluate each grant proposal, watch videotapes, discuss the arttistic merits and organizational viability of the organization, and assign a rating to each application. The CAC makes its individual allocations based on the panel ratings. Panel meetings are open to the public; the CAC announces its allocations at public meetings.

In contrast, Grants for the Arts makes its decisions in private. Its behind-closed-doors decision-making process is no substitute for a public process providing hearings, peer review and an appeals procedure.


The Chief Administrative Officer should change Grants for the Arts procedures so that arts funding deliberations and policy issues can be discussed and decided in public. The CAO should institute a peer review process to evaluate grants applications and to recommend funding levels. In addition, an appeals procedure should be established.

We urge the CAO to hold public hearings to solicit input from the arts community about the structure of the Citizen's Advisory Committee and its role in Grants for the Arts' decision-making process. We recommend that a commission be established to make policy for and to oversee Grants for the Arts. The commission should hold public hearings; commissioners should be required to vote in public.


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the California Arts Council (CAC) have established programs to foster the development of multicultural nonprofit arts institutions. In 1986, when the CAC established its Multicultural Advancement Program, the program's statement of purpose accurately described the challenges for public funders:

"For most (California multicultural arts organizations) major funding support from private and public sources has been extremely rare. This can be explained through a combination of factors: limited connections to foundation and corporation funders; the inability to hire appropriate personnel for such activities as board development, capital campaigns, long-range planning, marketing and public relations; a lack of training and career development opportunities; an absence of adequate facilities; and a commitment to their own artistic expressions which lie outside the scope of traditional Western European art forms and thus outside of major funding.

"The California Arts Council recognizes that efforts must be make to weave the life of such organizations into the fabric of the larger community. Multicultural arts institutions must take their place alongside the established arts institutions, if we are to recognize the realities of a diverse California."*

Three years after the CAC developed a program designed to address the funding problems of California's multicultural arts organizations, San Francisco has yet to initiate a systematic program to achieve the same ends. Last year Grants for the Arts collaborated with the NEA and the San Francisco ?Foundation to fund a program called the "Bay Area Multicultural Arts Initiative." The funders did not hold public hearings to solicit the arts community's views regarding the program, which funded only three San Francisco multicultural arts groups.


We recommend that the City establish effective programs to systematically develop its leading and emerging multicultural, lesbian/gay, women's and small-to-mid-sized arts organizations; these programs should be designed with full participation of the City's arts community.

* The California Arts Council's 1986 guidelines establishing the Multicultural Advancement Program.


San Francisco artists and performers represent cultural resources which the City cannot afford to under-develop. San Francisco is home to more than 100 ethnic dance companies, a nationally-recognized black theater company, many accomplishes Asian American artists and performers, the finest Mexican museum in the country, an excellent lesbian/gay theater company, a nationally respected women's philharmonic, and a variety of ethnic festivals, parades and cultural events which annually attract millions of visitors and residents.

San Francisco's multicultural arts organizations, its lesbian/gay and women's arts groups, and it small-to-mid-sized groups will thrive and proliferate once they receive an equitable share of municipal arts funds, have access to the City's subsidized facilities and are allowed to participate fully in public arts funding and policy-making decisions.

San Francisco's large budget arts institutions will also experience a bright future if they integrate their boards, staffs, institute programming which attracts minority audiences, regularly present the works of multicultural artists, loosen their control of municipal arts funding procedures and share publicly subsidized arts facilities.



In this report the word "multicultural" is used as a substitute for "minority." "Multicultural" is not used interchangeably with "multi-racial" or to describe arts organizations representing a variety of cultures; instead the tem refers specifically to nonprofit groups whose artists, boards and staffs are African-American, Asian American, Native American of Latino, and whose artistic products reflect a non-Western European cultural tradition.

This restrictive use of the word "multicultural" first emerged in the California arts community to describe artists who grew up with one foot in American culture and another foot in a non-European cultural tradition. In this context, the word accurately reflects artists and arts organizations whose creations incorporate elements of mainstream American culture with stylistic elements derived from African, Asian, Latino and Native American art forms.

The genesis of the usage is related to demographic changes in California cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, where racial minorities collectively have become the numerical majority. In these cities using the word "minorities" to describe the majority of the population is linguistically obsolete. "Multicultural" has emerged as its replacement, at least in the arts world.

The authors recognize that "multicultural" is not the perfect descriptive adjective because the word's popular connotation is "multi-racial". However, "multicultural" is the word these artists use to describe themselves, and the arts funding world is now adopting the tem to refer collectively to African-American, Asian American, Latino and Native American arts organizations and artists.

For example, in 1988, Grants for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts developed the Bay Area Multicultural Arts Initiative, which funded only organizations whose boards of directors, staff and artistic products are African-American, Asian American, Latino or Native American. The California Arts Council's Multicultural Advancement Program, both in 1986 and 1988, used a similar set of eligibility criteria: multi-racial groups such as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and the San Francisco Mime Troupe were ineligible because their boards of directors and management staff are predominately white.


Jeff Jones is a free-lance fundraising and long-range planning consultant who been working in the San Francisco arts and social services communities for ten years. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, he taught at the University of Texas and Austin Community College for 14 years.

For more than six years, Jeff Jones has been the primary fundraising for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Ethnic Dance Festival, the Bay Area Women's Philharmonic, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater. He also provides ongoing planning and fundraising services to a number of outstanding arts organizations, including Kulintang Arts, George Coates Performance Works, La Peña Cultural Center, the Oakland Youth Chorus, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the Asian American Dance Collective, the Jewish Film Festival, the Dance Brigade, Redwood Cultural Work, the Mandeleo Institute, Kitka: an Eastern European Women's Chorus and other nonprofit arts groups.

Russell T. Cramer is a public relations and marketing consultant who has been working with Bay Area civil rights groups, feminist organizations and nonprofit arts groups for the past 11 years. His current clients include Association for Retarded Citizens, San Francisco, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Scottish Gathering and Games. Past clients include Grants for the Arts (1986-88), the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (1982-88) and the Women Police Officer's Recruitment Project (1983).

Cramer is a former board member of the National Organization for Women, San Francisco, and served as the co-chair of its public relations committee (1978-81). As a NOW member, Cramer participated in the class action lawsuit which forced the San Francisco Police Department to hire and promote women and minority police officers. Subsequently he worked with the department to publicize a targeted recruitment of women and minority police officers.

The authors thank the many people who assisted in some aspect of the preparation of this report, especially the following:

Ellen Gavin
Theresa Bonner-Payne
Julie Silliman
Paul Lord
Kim Euell
Marion Roth-Cramer
Judith Blair
Alleluia Panis
Lynn Rogers
Jennifer Ross
Marie Acosta-Colon
Bruce Davis
Elizabeth Min
Dennis Rumsey
Margie O'Driscoll