Three years ago, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission, a major five-year, $8 million initiative to commission “50 exceptional works of performing arts.” Each year since, the foundation has awarded 10 grants to Bay Area nonprofits that work with artists for the creation of new works.
The Hewlett Foundation announced this year’s awardees, all in the field of dance and movement-based performance, on Tuesday. The 10 awardees will receive $150,000 each to bring their projects to fruition over the next three years; they include organizations in the Bay Area both small and large, such as the EastSide Arts Alliance in Oakland and the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. A full list is below.
“While the projects awarded today were conceived and planned before the pandemic or the current Black Lives Matter protests across the country, the themes they will tackle—including racial justice, inequality and rising xenophobia around the world—are strikingly relevant to the challenges our society confronts today,” according to a press release announcing the $1.5 million in grants, chosen by a national panel of dance experts.
The arts have the ability to “infuse people’s lives with beauty, offer solace and build empathy—and that’s especially important right now,” Emiko Ono, Performing Arts Program Director for the Hewlett Foundation, said in a statement. “At a time when our country is grappling with its failures and trying to chart a path forward, these artistic projects can illuminate the lives of individuals and our diverse communities, provoke debate and help reimagine our shared future.”
Since its founding in 1967, the Hewlett Foundation, based in Menlo Park, has awarded more than $375 million to arts organizations. (The foundation also supplies funding for KQED Arts.) Previous awardees in the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission include the disciplines of music composition, theater and spoken word performance; future grants for folk and traditional arts, film and media will be announced in the future.