Cesar Guzman

The Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions: supporting the creation and premiere of 50 exceptional new works by world-class artists in partnership with Bay Area nonprofit organizations.

Launched in 2017 in honor of the Hewlett Foundation’s 50th anniversary, the five-year, $8 million initiative awarded 10 commissions annually in five performing arts disciplines. These artworks brought communities together in the Bay Area and have gone on to inspire, engage, and challenge audiences across the country and around the world.

Learn more about the initiative

Highlights from the awards

Media Arts

Jen Liu
"Ghost__World," an extended reality media project telling the stories of people whose lives have been made invisible.
Ben Levine
AXIS Dance Company
"Kinematic/Kinesthetic," a dance work incorporating disability robotics and exploring movement beyond the human body.
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Heesoo Kwon
Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco
"Leymusoom Mukkuli," imagining a space for the past and present to converge and creating a community process to heal from generational trauma.
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Gray Area
"They Sustain Us," a hybrid performative work bridging traditional First Nations food and dress culture across borders.
Stephanie Dinkins
Institute of Contemporary Art San José
"Data Trust Forest," combining storytelling traditions with emergent DNA technologies to transform conversations into a multimedia experience.
Eve Sussman + Simon Lee
The Long Now Foundation
"Naming Names," a theatrical and sonic performance investigating the act of naming.
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Susana Ruiz + Huy Truong
Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History
"The Last Chinatown," an interactive public memorial and augmented reality film focused on Santa Cruz's Chinatown.
Other Minds
"The Cello Quartet," a project exploring the interplay between humans and machines with a mechanized piano and self-playing "dancing" cellos.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg
The Exploratorium
"Xeno in Vivo," a multimedia performance and live film investigating the genetic engineering of pigs for human organs.
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"Cosmovisión," a generative music performance exploring relationships between land, community, and worldview.

Folk & Traditional Arts

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Marcia Treidler
ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco
“Cigarra,” a performance about pioneering women in Brazilian traditional arts.
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The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol
Art + Soul Oakland
“Blues, Baroque, and Bars: From the Streets to the Symphony," a work about Black Americans journey from Africa to the Great Migration.
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Mahsa Vahdat
Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music
“Woven Verses: Poetic Resistance and Resilience,” a work set to classical and contemporary Persian texts.
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Tsering Wangmo
“Celebration of the Great Shoton Festival of Tibet in the Bay Area” reimagines a traditional Tibetan opera.
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Susana Arenas Pedroso
Dance Mission Theater
“Raíces et Révolution,” a dance performance about Cuba and Guinea’s cultural and political relationships.
Devendra Sharma
Devendra Sharma Nautanki Folk Opera Ensemble
“Princess Nautanki,” the largest Indian Nautanki folk opera ever staged in the U.S.
CK Ladzekpo
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
“Hogbetsoto – Day of Crossing Over,” a piece commemorating the Anlo-Ewe people’s historic flight to freedom in Ghana.
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Charya Burt
Musical Traditions
"The Rebirth of Apsara," a dance-theater piece about the history of Cambodian arts.
L. Frank Manriquez
Queer Cultural Center
“Eyoomkuuka’ro Kokomaar,” the creation of a traditional ti’aat plank canoe.
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Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ
Vietnamese American Nongovernmental Organization Network
“Mekong: Life,” a multimedia work exploring how environmental change has shaped Southeast Asian cultures.

Dance & Movement-based Performance

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Joanna Haigood
Dancers’ Group
"The People’s Building" uses movement to investigate the history of San Francisco City Hall.
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Ishmael Houston-Jones
Circo Zero
"TRY," an experimental dance that aims to subvert traditional notions of race and masculinity.
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Margaret Jenkins
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
"Global Moves," a collaborative dance project exploring isolation and xenophobia around the world.
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Yayoi Kambara
Japanese American Citizens League
"IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage," a dance project about Japanese American incarceration during World War II.
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Liz Lerman
Green Music Center
"Wicked Bodies (Sonoma)," a dance-theater piece exploring depictions of women’s bodies across history.
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Patrick Makuakāne
Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu
"MĀHŪ," hula dance theater celebrating the role of transgender people in ancient Hawaiian society.
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Prumsodun Ok
Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants and ARTogether
"A Deepest Blue," a piece about humanity’s relationship with our threatened oceans.
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Alleluia Panis
Filipino-American Development Foundation
"Nursing These Wounds," a dance performance about the impact of colonization on Pilipinx health and caregiving.
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Vanessa Sanchez
Brava! for Women in the Arts
"Ghostly Labor," a work about the history of Chicana and Native women working in the US-Mexico borderlands.
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Amara Tabor-Smith
EastSide Arts Alliance
"This too shall pass," part of a dance-theater project about the sex-trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.

Theater, Spoken Word & Musical Theater

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Brenda Wong Aoki
"J-Town, Chinatown, Our Town," a work about personal and community history in San Francisco.
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Rafael Casal
“The Limp,” a performance piece at the intersection of musical theater, spoken word, and hip hop.
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Marcus Gardley
California Shakespeare Theater
"A Thousand Ships," a play about the Richmond shipyard workers of WWII.
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Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Destiny Arts Center
"The Black (W)hole" an elegy for Oakland youth killed before they turned 30.
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Taylor Mac
Magic Theatre
"Calamity Joy," a play about the founder of Christian Science and the playwright's mother.
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Weyni Mengesha
Stanford Live
"Treemonisha," a reimagining of Scott Joplin's ahead-of-its-time opera.
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Michael “Quess?” Moore
“We, the 100 Million,” choreo-poems about inequity in the U.S.
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Salomón Santiago
Teatro Vision
“Alas y Raices (Wings and Roots),” a community-driven work about migration.
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Árpád Schilling
The Imaginists
"The Gun," a play exploring the role of guns and gun violence in American society.
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Karmina Šilec
“BABA,” a vocal theater work about the “sworn virgins" of the Balkan highlands.

Music Composition

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Michael Abels
Kronos Quartet
“At War With Ourselves” explores race relations in America
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Taylor Eigsti
Community School of Music and Arts
“Imagine Our Future,” a jazz piece crowdsourced from students
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Jake Heggie
Music at Kohl Mansion
“Violins of Hope Bay Area Project,” using historic instruments
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Laura Kaminsky
Opera Parallèle
“Today it Rains,” an opera inspired by the life of Georgia O’Keeffe
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Dohee Lee
Peralta Hacienda
“MU巫: 9 Goddesses,” a mythological performance ritual
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Jimmy López
Cal Performances at UC Berkeley
"Dreamers," on the U.S. immigrant experience
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Meredith Monk
Mills College
"Indra's Net," a soundscape connecting people with nature
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Huang Ruo
Del Sol String Quartet
“Angel Island Oratorio,” inspired by immigrant poetry
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DJ Spooky
The Internet Archive
“Quantopia,” an acoustic portrait of the Internet
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Miguel Zenón
“Golden City Suite,” rooted in San Francisco's communities

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