January 28, 2021
Oakland, Calif. — Today, Tao Rising and the Akonadi Foundation announce the launch of Creatives in Place, a listening project featuring 22 Bay Area artists and their stories of surviving and thriving during a time of great upheaval. The digital platform gives expression to the lived experience, traditions and resilience of local creatives whose geographies, ethnicities and races, gender identities, and sexualities span the spectrum. The project provides a digital space for artists’ words, works, and (virtual) presence to speak for themselves.
“Our individual stories are embedded in the families — both chosen and blood — that nurture us,’ said Rashida Chase, an Oakland native and participant of the project. “Celebrating that symbiosis is what keeps a community strong, tight-knit and connected. Creatives in Place represents the complexity and entirety of where we come from and what we’re fighting for.”
Creatives in Place celebrates the artists behind the colorful murals, music, posters, paintings, dances and poetry that define the very essence of the Bay Area. Creatives in Place also highlights the vitality and health of large creative networks, co-creative endeavours, and community-based art making. Artists featured are: Andrew Wilson, Breena Nuñez, Diana Gameros, Dolores “Lolis” Garcia, Francis Mead, Francisco “Amend” Sanchez, Jessica Judd, Kev Choice, Kim Shuck, Lisa Evans, Micah Bazant, Nkeiruka Oruche, PER SIA, Rashad Pridgen, Rashida Chase, Ruby J. Fuala’au, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, SPULU, Sydney Cain, Tina Bartolome, Yonas W. Tesfai, Yosimar Reyes.
“The Bay Area has a history of fertilizing the sounds, lyrics, colors, style and movements that capture new generations of freedom fighters and visionaries,” said Tammy Johnson, who curated the project. “Thanks to Creatives in Place, we’ll have an unfiltered, historic account of this critical moment in time directly from the culture keepers.”
Even before COVID-19, artists have experienced the impact of economic hardship, gentrification, and displacement. According to the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) survey, 68% of individual artists around the Bay Area are at risk of displacement from their residences in the next one to six months.
“Funding for artists has always been difficult to come by, forcing artists to compete with each other to support themselves, even as we play a pivotal role in enriching our city,” said musician, performer and participant, Dolores “Lolis” Garcia.“ With the closure of theaters, venues, galleries, museums, and other public spaces, we have so few options to sustain ourselves and our work. Creatives in Place is as bold, imaginative, and unrelenting as we are, in making space for our voice, our expression, our record of history during this time.”
Structural inequities within Bay Area arts and philanthropy have limited access to resources and funding, and impact how art is made and who it is for. According to a 2017 report, “60 percent of arts funding goes to 2 percent of the cultural institutions, which present white and Western European art forms. Meanwhile, only 4 percent of arts funding goes to organizations with a mission to serve communities of color.”
With Creatives in Place, Tao Rising and Akonadi Foundation demonstrate an alternative model for cultural funding and for listening to artists directly, requiring no application or credentialing, offering support with no restrictions, and leading with curiosity, trust and abundance rather than scarcity. “Our hope is that funders, institutions, and patrons invest in our artists and culture-keepers to ensure that they can remain in the Bay Area and woven into the fabric of thriving communities,” said Vanessa Camarena-Arredondo, program officer at Akonadi Foundation. “Creatives in Place shows how arts and culture are part of a continuum of racial and social justice advocacy and healing. Art, activism, and community wellness are inseparable.”
Creatives in Place is a listening project, and is not an ongoing program or funding opportunity. For updates and additional information visit creativesinplace.org.