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API Artists Futures Fund


 

About API Artists Futures Fund


During the height of Anti-Asian hate, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (CCC) advocated with the City and State to empower API voices through investment in artists. This resulted in the establishment of the API Artists Futures Fund to empower creativity and build cultural infrastructure for underserved API artists in San Francisco.

The API Artists Futures Fund is an artist-centered and accessible funding model that recognizes and supports existing cultural work and resilience in the City. Unrestricted grants and a low-barrier application process are among its unique grantmaking features to address the invisible barriers that API Artists face.


In 2022, 28 exceptional San Francisco API artists from diverse disciplines and neighborhoods were awarded the inaugural API Artists Futures Fund, hailing from neighborhoods like: Chinatown, Tenderloin, SoMA, Sunset, Excelsior, and Visitacion Valley, and more. The program underscores the importance of API artists in envisioning a future that is free of anti-Asian hate–with hope, joy, and creativity.


Join us on May 4th for the awardee celebration event!


API Artists Futures Fund Celebration

Thursday, May 4, 2023 | 5:30 PM

Mercy Housing, Malosi Community Room

290 Malosi Street, Visitacion Valley, SF


 

Community-Based Process

The API Artists Futures Fund was realized in collaboration with 7 community-based organizations that informed the grant design process and acted as nominating organizations–including Kearny Street Workshop, SAMMAY Productions, Bindlestiff Studio, SALT Pacific Islander Association, Wildflowers Institute, Clarion Performing Arts Center, and Balay Kreative. Artists and culture workers: Rachel Lastimosa and Diana Li of Asian American Women Artists Association, and Hoi Leung of CCC served as panelists


 

Money is a mental issue, it changes how we walk and see other people. The Futures Fund being an unrestricted grant took away what money has to look like for a lot of us [artists]...there’s a new way of thinking [about funding] that is artist-centric. You all got to the heartbeat of what this is about...Having the Futures Fund really validated me for the first time. I’ve worked as an artist for 20 years. When I got the grant I felt like I got paid for the first time. It unraveled the heart of my value. I tell myself: 'You just got paid. Just breathe.'"

Jay Malvar, API Artists Futures Fund Awardee
 

Community Needs Through conversations with partnering CBOs, we identified the following shared barriers that API artists in marginalized communities face:


Lack of Time — Artists have to juggle multiple jobs in order to meet basic livelihood costs in addition to supporting their art practice. Grants research and grants seeking can be taxing on time and energy on top of multiple jobs and art practice.


Lack of Unrestricted Funding — Project-based artist opportunities may not always allocate sufficient funds towards artists' compensation, leading to additional stressors as they may need to personally cover project expenses. Artists who are already financially marginalized are oftentimes excluded.


Lack of Confidence — “I’m not going to get the funding” is an echoed sentiment; emerging artists highlight the need for guidance on how to effectively communicate their artistic vision to potential funders, as well as to navigate the funding landscape in general.


Lack of Community-Minded Application Processes Challenges with grants outreach and application processes include language and technological barriers, as well as a lack of cultural specificity and competency for immigrant and BIPOC communities.


Lack of Expanded Definitions for "Art"The limited scope of inclusion in recognizing the breadth of cultural practices as "arts" poses a challenge for some disciplines.

 

How do you continue to find good people who may continue to be missed in the margins? I feel this personally, because this was me in my twenties...I never got these opportunities. No one ever pointed me in that direction. Where can exceptions be made [when seeking artists who need the support and have not received grants before] ? So that this opportunity finds people who can have this as a stepping stone that leads to other opportunities.”

Jason Bayani, Kearny Street Workshop
 

Outreach Process Seeking a more equitable funding methodology, API Artists Futures Fund not only grants unrestricted support but also addresses the invisible barriers that API artists encounter when seeking resources. A notable feature of its grantmaking was a nomination process that worked in collaboration with API neighborhood-based arts and culture organizations across the City to intentionally uplift artists without previous grant support for their work.


These criteria were outlined in the nomination guide with partnering CBOs and informed through community conversations with artists and culture workers:

- Currently live in San Francisco;

- Have artistic practice in historically marginalized communities in San Francisco for at least 2 years;

- Are not currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program of any kind;

- Identify as Asian or Pacific Islander descent;

- Self-identify as not being familiar with the grants application or have been unable to receive grants before;

- Self-identify as a community-based artist;

- Self-identify with one or more of the following demographics: low-income/immigrant/LGBTQ /disabled artist

 

“API Artists Futures Fund was very inclusive, the most extensive outreach I’ve ever seen. The fact that we [panelists] met with artists face to face was a tremendous feat. Seeing people who work in arts [administration], artists, and their activism, ensured that all parts of the community were seen and supported. This process touched the soul in a different way.”


Diana Li, Asian American Women Artists Association
 

Artists Selection The API Artists Futures Fund also broke away from a written application process and developed a more accessible and empathetic application experience that deepens the understanding of adversity and challenge for San Francisco’s API artists. Once artists were nominated, they were invited to meet with panelists. The approach was that this was a conversation - where the artists speak about themselves, their art practice, and how they engage with local communities through their art. The series of artist meetings took place over a span of 3 months.


Panelists reviewed nominated artists and agreed upon the following set of rubrics to evaluate artists:

Commitment: Artist demonstrates consistency and vision in their art practice and development.


Community meaning: Artist’s work engages and/or collaborates with community members. This artist works with community members to promote a sense of agency in storytelling and belonging. The artist contributes to community well-being through their art practice and has an enduring commitment to their communit(ies).


Resiliency: This artist uses their art practice to imagine new narratives, recover old wisdom, and develop a sense of action that fosters racial, gender, or class justice.


Resourcefulness: Artists identified what resources they wish they could have to help expand their art practice and are able to articulate the kinds of support, resources, or skills they need at this stage in their career to expand their art practice.

 


From start to finish, as a mid-career but somewhat invisible artist ...it felt special to have a colleague nominate me in recognition of my work… While I felt unsure if I was expressing and demonstrating my art and impact, I felt guided by the interviewers and their straightforward questions paired with enthusiastic directions for opportunities that would fit my practice. As soon as I exited the community-based Chinese Culture Center…in historic Chinatown, I felt more confident in articulating my art practice, connected to place and people, and inspired to create, innovate and build community.


Solitaire Miguel, API Artists Futures Fund Awardee
 

Meet the Artists!


These artists come from a variety of backgrounds and creative fields, forming a talented and diverse group of poets, filmmakers, writers, photographers, educators, and other multidisciplinary artists. They are artists from Chinatown, Tenderloin, SoMA, Sunset, Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, Bayview Hunters Point and Richmond.



AJ Schnettler

Amihan Redondiez

Ava Tong

Carlie Mari Algas

Ciriaco Sayoc

ClarizeYale Revadavia

David Ragaza

Dennis Tavake Pulu

Eakapong (Tan) Sirinumas

Edward G Mabasa

Jay Landayan Malvar

Jibril Alvarez

Judith Ferrer

Julie Munsayac

Kate "Been Milky" Buenconsejo

Le Feng

Leland Wong

Ling Sherri Lu

Mariel Paat

Marlene Yee

Mary Claire Amable

Nathan Aurellano

Nicole Aquino

Rea Lynn de Guzman

Sekio Fuapopo

Solitaire Miguel

Tonilyn A. Sideco

Wesley Wang


 

Acknowledgments


Supported by:

California Natural Resources Agency

San Francisco Arts Commission


Additional Support by:

#StartSmall Foundation, Grants for the Arts, Asian Pacific Fund, San Francisco Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Crankstart Giving Fund, Zellerbach Family Foundation, CCC Contemporaries


Partners:

Kearny Street Workshop

SAMMAY Productions

Bindlestiff Studio

SALT Pacific Islander Association

Wildflowers Institute

Clarion Performing Arts Center

Balay Kreative

 


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