Information is power.  Last Wednesday evening was the Creative Work Fund: Meet the Funders at The Lab in San Francisco.  Speakers included Julian Carrillo (Alliance for California Traditional Arts), Susan Tranbaugh (Creative Capital), Frances Phillips (Creative Work Fund), and Olivia Malabuyo Tablante (Gerbode Special Awards in the Arts).  Organizations working together to support the arts!


Since 1984, The Lab has been a refuge for the arts in San Francisco.  From their website: “The Lab gives funding, time, and space to traditionally underrepresented artists and art forms.  The organization intentionally focuses on supporting and amplifying the work of experimental artists who identify as African and African-American; Latinx; Asian and Asian-American; Arab and Arab-American; Indigenous American; Pacific Islander; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer; differently-abled; and female.  We seek to reach visionary artists whose economic and cultural realities have been ignored for too long, to the impoverishment of us all.”  The venue fosters creative experimentation for all.

The Lab.

Julian Carrillo of the Alliance for Traditional Arts stressed the importance of how “art forms reveal and communicate.”  The organization supports California master artists and apprentices with practices highlighting cultural traditions from the past and future.  The mission: “From Ohlone basketry and African-American quilt-making to cowboy poetry and Vietnamese opera, California is home to hundreds of diverse traditions.”

Frances Phillips discussed how grants from the Creative Work Fund focus on collaborations between artists and nonprofit organizations in the eleven Bay Area counties.  The fund: “…celebrates the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities.”  Building connections through art!

Creative Capital supports artists nationally that disrupt and take risks.  Susan Tranbaugh shared how artists are allowed time to realize projects with in-person and online programs.  Bottom line: “Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, gatherings, and career development services.  Creative Capital seeks to amplify the voices of artists working in all creative disciplines and catalyze connections to help them realize their visions and build sustainable practices.”

Olivia Malabuyo Tablante explained how Gerbode Special Awards in the Arts has been granting monies to Californian artists since 1987.  Despite recent restructuring: “The Foundation continues to support work in such fields as the environment and conservation, population and reproductive rights, civil rights, civic engagement and the arts among others and is committed to supporting new ideas and sometimes unpopular causes following the tradition established by its bold and passionate activist founder.”


At the end of the discussion, the audience asked questions and shared creative practices.  The panel offered handouts, valuable insights, and wisdom.  Artists and organizations desperately need financial support to realize projects.  Thanks to organizations like The Lab, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Creative Capital, Creative Work Fund, and Gerbode Special Awards in the Arts for believing in artists!