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The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in San Francisco has announced a new cohort of 10 artists, mostly from the Bay Area, who will join the organization for a year-long residency. Dubbed the “YBCA 10,” the cohort will collaborate on projects around themes of racial equity and climate justice. Each artist will receive $50,000 and additional funding for materials to realize their projects.

The chosen artists are Binta Ayofemi, Alex J. Bledsoe, Leticia Hernández, My-Linh Le, Nikiko Masumoto, Ayodele Nzinga, Hasain Rasheed, Darryl Ratcliff, Dorothy Santos, and Deanna Van Buren. They represent an array of disciplines, from visual art to film, performance, theater, and architecture.

“This is an extraordinary group of 10 individuals, with diverse artistic backgrounds yet united in their social and environmental activism,” said YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan in a statement today, April 15. “We selected these artists not only for their creative talent, but also for their ability and willingness to collaborate amongst themselves and with their communities.”

The announcement comes on the heels of YBCA’s Guaranteed Income Pilot, launched earlier this year with the Office of Racial Equity at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the Arts Impact Endowment. The pilot program will provide monthly payments of $1,000 over a period of six months to 130 San Franciscan artists who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Applications are open now on YBCA’s website.)

Partnering with the city of San Francisco, YBCA has also piloted the San Francisco Creative Corps, a program that commissioned 30 local artists to create public health-themed murals on storefronts across the city. Another 30 artists were employed as “community health ambassadors,” engaging in educational activities about COVID safety.

According to the center, the new cohort of artists has evolved from its annual YBCA 100 Summit, which celebrates 100 artists, activists, and community leaders for their “extraordinary commitment to building sustainable, equitable, and regenerative communities.”

The new cohort of artists will develop “prototypes” of systems and structures that “build equitable communities.” Their work will be open to public feedback, allowing Bay Area communities to be directly involved in the process. The prototypes will first be shared with the public during YBCA’s Public Squares program in June 2021.

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an...