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Assessment of Regranting Intermediaries Strategy: Exploring the Ecosystem of Support for Individual Artists & Small Arts Organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area

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In 2014, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program engaged Informing Change in partnership with Olive Grove to assess the effectiveness of the Foundation’s approach to support regranting intermediaries. The Foundation works with these regranting intermediaries to target San Francisco Bay Area small arts organizations, individual artists and communities or arts disciplines (e.g., folk and traditional arts) where the Foundation has limited capacity and experience.

This exploratory examination revealed several key takeaways, including:

From 2010 to 2013, Hewlett’s intermediaries regranted almost $7.4 million through 1,382 grants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and across art disciplines.

While the entire nonprofit sector struggles to be sustainable, the performing arts community in particular suffers from a specific mix of stressors that deeply impact their capacity for longevity in the community.

The way art is made continues to evolve, such that categories and frameworks traditionally used to separate artistic styles and types no longer fit much of the art emerging in the field. Artists are self-identifying as part of multiple performance groups or structures as well as remaining more independent, further blurring the lines to “pin down” art forms and boundaries.