Sector-Wide Capacity: Advocacy and Infrastructure

Matías Muñoz-Rodriguez
Fellows receiving feedback on their proposed initiatives from project consultants at the February 2017 ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Leadership Program training session hosted by Self Help Graphics & Art, a community arts center in Los Angeles.


To fully realize our strategies over the long-term, we believe we need to build the sector’s capacity in two areas: Advocacy and Infrastructure. These efforts are not separate grantmaking strategies so much as tools to strengthen the overall health of the arts sector in the Bay Area. Our Advocacy and Infrastructure grantmaking and our beyond-the-grant-dollars activities, such as workshops and convenings, are intended to be opportunistic and responsive.

Advocacy. Arts and culture leaders know they must work to overcome the marginal role to which artists and the arts are often relegated, and part of that work is becoming more effective advocates for their organizations and the critical importance of the arts. Even more than that, if Bay Area communities are to renew their support of the arts, arts leaders must see themselves as civic leaders engaged with the hard work of building and sustaining thriving communities, lending their voices and creative energy to efforts to realize their communities’ priorities.

Infrastructure. The arts and culture sector needs resources to support its ongoing effectiveness, including capacity to adapt to changing conditions. Yet today’s economic realities are exceptionally unfriendly when it comes to experimentation and change, whether evolving an existing effort or launching a new one. New and more targeted forms of infrastructure support will encourage activities and ideas that help the sector renew itself and become more adaptive and inclusive.


Build the capacity of arts and cultural leaders to understand and proactively influence issues impacting the arts and community vitality.

Ensure there is adaptive and inclusive infrastructure to support the artistic and cultural vibrancy of communities throughout the Bay Area.

Our Team

Emiko Ono
Emiko Ono 
Program Director
Amanda Artru 
Performing Arts Fellow
Tom DeCaigny 
Program Officer
Adam Fong 
Program Officer
Nathan Jae-Sun Large
Nathan Jae-Sun Large 
Program Operations Manager
Leeanne Oue 
Grants Officer
Lalitha Rajan 
Program Associate
Pooja Kadakia Raval 
Senior Counsel
Heath Wickline
Heath Wickline 
Deputy Director of Communications

Learn More

Our efforts to build the capacity of arts leaders to become more effective advocates consist of three activities. First, providing knowledge and training on effective advocacy to artists and arts and culture leaders. Second, investing in research and policy analysis to identify opportunities and help advocates generate compelling stories to make their case. Third, seeding opportunities for artists and arts leaders to build alliances with other community leaders by advancing cross-sector and community-driven initiatives as they arise.

We provide targeted infrastructure support in three ways. First, we support strategic restructuring of interested organizations through an initiative designed to reach them, not just grantees. By helping organizations evolve — through activities such as mergers, the restructuring of business or leadership models, or responsible dissolutions — we encourage the sector’s ongoing adaptation and renewal. Second, we invest opportunistically in new forms of infrastructure that respond to the evolving ways in which people are engaging with the arts and help address some of the sector’s most pressing problems. Third, we are modestly expanding our current efforts to foster financial and facility planning, including financial training and services, and real estate planning. We also work with an intermediary to distribute a modest number of capital grants each year, continuing to prioritize projects led by organizations with limited access to capital that serve low-income and under-resourced communities.

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