Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions explore themes that matter to local Bay Area communities

A behind-the-scenes look at three theater and spoken word projects

The second round of our Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions supported 10 new works of theater, musical theater, and spoken word by world-class artists partnering with Bay Area nonprofits. And while the pandemic has disrupted plans for this round of commissions, all of the projects are making adjustments and adapting to a changed world.

We asked our grantee BAYCAT to document the development of these new works as they evolve through still photography and video, including interviews with the artists, organizational leaders, and others involved in the projects.

The videos below are just a sample of the exciting, deeply relevant work that the commissioned artists are creating with our funding. The projects featured in them represent the lived experience of three of the diverse communities that call the Bay Area home: a bi-national partnership of two theater companies exploring themes of migration, an elegy for young Black people who lost their lives in and around Oakland before the age of 32, and a series of choreo-poems about inequity in the United States.

The featured projects, like all of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions, showcase the work of the highest artistic standards created in close partnership with Bay Area communities. They also demonstrate an abiding belief in the power of art to reflect our communities’ lived experiences, address our most pressing challenges, and inspire us to take action.

PolicyLink and Michael “Quess?” Moore are working with community members in Oakland to create “We, the 100 Million,” a series of choreo-poems about inequality in the U.S.

“Raices: El Libro de los Caminos” is a new work of community-driven theater from Teatro Visión and Salomón Santiago that explores migration as a central part of the human experience.

“The Black (W)hole,” from Destiny Arts Center and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, is an elegy for young Black people who lost their lives in and around Oakland before the age of 32.

Search Our Grantmaking

By Keyword