What's the Big Idea? Day
(photo courtesy YBCA)
Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) is a sprawling aromatic herb of the
western and northwestern United States, western Canada and Alaska. What
is now San Francisco, California was originally named Yerba Buena by its
Spanish settlers in the 18th century because of the abundance of the herb
in the area.
In 1980, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) initiated plans
for a new neighborhood to be called Yerba Buena that turned a once dilapidated
area of the city into an urban oasis which today features housing, open
space, retail, cultural institutions and the Moscone Convention Center.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), the project's anchor cultural
complex, was developed as the result of years of community input and planning
with scores of Northern California artists, as well as cultural, educational
and civic leaders. YBCA's mandate was to feature culturally diverse, community-based,
national and international contemporary interdisciplinary arts, culture
and entertainment. YBCA was also designed to participate in experimentation,
change and the discourse and debate between the arts and public life.
Yerba Buena Gardens
(photo by Caitlyn Willows)
Incorporated in 1986, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was built by SFRA
using funds from private development in the Yerba Buena Gardens district.
Under an operating agreement, the Agency supports the security, operations
and maintenance of the facilities, and YBCA is responsible for raising
funds through contributed and earned revenue for its artistic and educational
programs. The non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, originally incorporated
as Yerba Buena Gardens Cultural Center, Inc., was created to operate and
program the facilities.
YBCA's two landmark buildings include Galleries, a flexible "Forum" space
and film/video screening room designed by Fumihiko Maki in association
with RMW, and the Novellus Theater designed by James Stewart Polshek.
YBCA opened to international acclaim in October 1993.
From the ground up, YBCA was designed to embrace and celebrate a diversity
of arts, cultures, and audiences. Created on the model of the European
Kunsthalles, with no permanent art collection, YBCA bridges the seemingly
contradictory worlds of pop culture, contemporary art, and community aesthetics.
Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance
(photo by Paul B. Goode)
Exhibitions, performance, film/video, and community engagement programs
are organized thematically in an effort to connect art and community life,
and a host of community engagement programs each year connect audiences
with art, artists and ideas.
Each year over a quarter of a million people attend one of hundreds of
YBCA exhibitions, performances, screenings and community enagement programs.
Major accomplishments include presenting and hosting the work of more
than 2,200 visual, performing, and media artists (the largest percentage
of whom are Bay Area residents) and commissioning and presenting 125 world
premiere exhibitions and performances.