Can you believe it’s been over a year since I started as executive director at Queer Cultural Center? It’s true! Over the last 15 months, I’ve learned and grown alongside our team of now FOUR FULL-TIME staff members, plus our intrepid board of directors, seasonal festival staff, fiscally sponsored project lead artists, at least one murmuration of National Queer Arts Festival artists, our contractor workforce, community partners, and a whole horde of volunteers. THANK YOU to everyone whose work has paved the way for us to be in this moment of organizational success. This is the village that it takes to keep meaningful, powerful, intersectional queer and trans communities thriving in troubled times.
During this ongoing moment of cascading collective trauma, finding a balance between fighting like hell for the living, mourning the dead, and living an every-day life all at the same time is no simple task. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that one thing that has gotten me through all of my toughest days so far is my chosen family of queerdos. It is such an honor to get to spend my daily life making space for queer artists and culture makers to burn lights for our beautiful communities to follow through troubled times.
While not every day in arts administration brings the same breathless moments as a night of performance and celebration in community, caring nerds like me relish the opportunity to shepherd an organization (its people, resources, and programs) through the off-season maintenance work it also takes to keep us going strong year after year. This year, for the first time ever, QCC took a few months to gather insights from current and former QCC artists, staff, board members, and other community leaders about how well we’re making our mission a reality. Combining that input with the results of the NQAF audience surveys, we’re making some big changes to adapt our work to better meet the needs of the current moment.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more details about how these changes will unfold, how to get support as an artist, and how to get involved as a community member. The biggest changes are that our beloved National Queer Arts Festival will now happen twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, and our longtime artist development program, Creating Queer Communities, will branch into cohort-based training at two levels, one for emerging artists, and one for established artists and arts collectives. Curious to learn more about what’s changing? Keep reading! The next few weeks are bringing opportunities including TWO SEPARATE OPEN CALLS for queer and trans artists from nearly all disciplines starting very soon, and a THIRD ONE opening up in a few short months.
Looking forward to sharing more as we move forward together!
Yours in community,
Queer Cultural Center
What does Queer Cultural Center do?
Queer Cultural Center promotes social justice and the artistic and financial development of queer art and culture. We steward artists whose programs nourish, connect, and mobilize trans & queer communities in San Francisco and its diaspora. QCC’s services for artists include fiscal sponsorship and hands-on training with financial literacy, fundraising, and capacity building. Since our founding in 1993, QCC has served an estimated 125,000 LGBTQIA2S+ San Franciscans and the 350,000 LGBTQIA2S+ residents of the greater regional SF Bay Area. We’ve curated 26 consecutive month-long National Queer Arts Festivals featuring work from more than 2,500 LGBTQIA2S+ artists. QCC’s artist services has supported over 50 Bay Area LGBTQIA2S+ artists and arts organizations to secure over $9.2 million in programmatic and general operating funds. From May through September 2023, QCC gathered insights from current and former QCC artists, staff, board members, and other community leaders about how well we’re making our mission a reality. Combining that input with the results of the NQAF audience surveys, we’re making some big changes to adapt our work to better meet the needs of the current moment.
What’s staying the same?
QCC still produces an annual festival of national queer artistic excellence, still provides fiscal sponsorship and artist professional development services to SF Bay Area queer and trans artists and culture makers, and still brings a radical political consciousness to our curatorial process.
- The National Queer Arts Festival will now feature a cluster of events twice a year, once in Spring and once in Fall each year. In 2024, the Spring and Fall Queer Arts Festivals will include a total of approximately 15 total events, to accommodate a shortened program year (we’re doing a 12-month program cycle in 9 months this first time around).
- Creating Queer Communities, our longtime artist professional development program and prep program for many NQAF lead artists, is back and better than ever. CQC will now run as a 12-month training program for emerging and established QTBIPOC SF Bay Area artists tailored for the needs of artists at those differing levels. CQC First Level artists will apply for program cycle starting and ending in the Fall, while CQC Second Level artists and artist collectives/collaboratives will apply for program cycle starting and ending in the Spring. (Confused? Remember it like this – First level in the Fall, Second level in the Spring). More details about what’s in it for artists coming soon!
- In addition to showcasing the work of these peer training cohorts of CQC first- and second- level artists, QCC will round out programming for the Fall and Spring Queer Arts Festivals by curating a smaller number of longer-term collaborative projects with seasoned QTBIPOC leaders. The main anchor for 2024 is the culmination of 3 years of collaboration between QCC and tongva queer / two-spirit artist L. Frank Manriquez for the creation of the second tiaat (wood plank) canoe build in the last 200 years. Stay tuned for WAY more information about this beautiful, life-affirming project.
What will QCC’s programming look like after the changes go through?
Beautiful QTBIPOC-centered art in themed seasons of programming spread out with time to catch it all. A revamped Creating Queer Communities artistic development program for emerging and established QTBIPOC SF Bay Area artists. Two cohorts of artists featured alongside season anchors in Fall and Spring and Fall National Queer Arts festivals every year. Fiscal sponsorship for emerging and established QTBIPOC artists (more on fiscal sponsorship soon!). More opportunities for artists and audiences to connect more often.