Art in progress: A sneak peek at three Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions recipients

Commissioning a new work of art requires a leap of faith and a healthy imagination—from both the artists bringing something new into the world, and those supporting it. For our Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, we asked local nonprofits to partner with world-class artists on new work that will inspire, engage, and challenge audiences when it premieres here in the Bay Area, and then hopefully across the country and around the world.

But no amount of proposal narrative and budget templates can truly tell us what the new work will look and feel like, or how it will evolve during its development. To get a better sense of how the first group of commissions we awarded —for music composition in 2017—are coming along, we asked our colleagues at BAYCAT to document each artist’s progress, and give us a sneak peek into what we can expect when these works premiere, starting today with DJ Spooky’s QUANTOPIA, a “celebration of the history of the Internet” commissioned by Internet Archive.

As you’ll see in the videos below, these new works are evolving in exciting ways, filled with important themes and ideas conveyed with a thoughtfulness and artistry that makes us excited to see what happens when they premiere in communities across the Bay Area.

DJ Spooky and Internet Archive’s “Quantopia”

An acoustic portrait of the Internet.

DJ Spooky and Internet Archive’s “QUANTOPIA” premieres at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 25. Learn more here.

Jake Heggie and Music at Kohl Mansion's "Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope”

A work for soprano, solo violin and string quartet using historic instruments.

Jake Heggie and Music at Kohl Mansion’s “Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope” will premiere in Spring 2020. Learn more here.

Huang Ruo and Del Sol Quartet’s “Angel Island Oratorio”

A work inspired by immigrant poetry inscribed at the Angel Island barracks.

Huang Ruo and Del Sol Quartet’s “Angel Island Oratorio” will premiere on Angel Island in October 2020. Learn more here.

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