The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary by giving millions of dollars to Bay Area organizations for the purpose of making more art.
The Hewlett Foundation announced its Hewlett 50 Arts Commission Tuesday -- a five-year, $8-million initiative aimed at commissioning "50 exceptional works of performing arts."
Starting this year, 10 grants per year will be awarded to local nonprofits that work with artists to create new work. The nonprofits applying for the grant program do not need to be arts organizations themselves. For example, an environmental conservation organization might commission a site-specific musical piece to premiere in a regional park.
Each year the grant-making will focus on a different performing arts discipline: music, theater, dance, folk and traditional arts, and film and media. This year, the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission is accepting applications for music compositions.
A major initiative
The new program is one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the United States. But as John E. McGuirk, the director of Hewlett's performing arts program, puts it: "You don't turn 50 every day."