Third Annual 'Night of Ideas' Pulls Together Leaders, Thinkers, Artists

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Kyziah Shavers, Amber Julian and dancers from Destiny Arts Center, which is part of this year's Night of Ideas.
Kyziah Shavers, Amber Julian and dancers from Destiny Arts Center, which is part of this year's Night of Ideas. (Yoram Savion)

Although we may not be able to gather physically to experience it, the Bay Area’s creative spirit and artistic drive has persisted throughout the pandemic. On Jan. 28, KQED and its partners present a unique opportunity to congregate virtually and keep that spirit alive during the third San Francisco edition of the Night of Ideas. An initiative of the Institut Français, more than 200 Night of Ideas will occur on one evening in over 35 cities across the world, from Finland to Sydney to South Africa.

While typically held in person at the San Francisco Public Library as a seven-hour marathon of speakers and performances, this year’s event has been adapted into a free two-hour virtual event featuring some of the Bay Area’s most prominent leaders, thinkers, and artists. Meditating on the theme of “closing the distance,” San Francisco’s performers and speakers will explore how we can create a better future with more inclusive and equitable civic spaces.

The program includes a special conversation between KQED’s own Mina Kim and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, an intergenerational collaboration between the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company and the Elders Project, performances from young poets with Youth Speaks and Chapter 510, and much more. Taking full advantage of the virtual format, speakers from beyond the Bay Area will participate as well, including farmer, artist, and writer Nikiko Masumoto, who will join from her family farm in the Central Valley.

To be broadcast globally from France as part of a 24-hour program by the Institut Français, San Francisco’s Night of Ideas also includes tributes to our essential workers and artists, and features some of the Bay Area's iconic scenery. “This Night of Ideas will remind us of everything that we love about our city,” said Mayor Breed. “And hopefully provide some fun and joy during an otherwise challenging time.”

The third annual Night of Ideas takes place on Jan. 28, from 7-9pm PST. Details here.