Balay Kreative launches projects, grants for SF Bay Area artists
SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino Cultural Heritage District, Balay Kreative (Creative Home) launched a series of projects and grants for 2021 as a way to “creatively adapt to meet the needs of Bay Area artists.”
The initiatives are in line with the organization’s overall vision of focusing on “the potential of the arts as an economic engine for SOMA Pilipinas,”
Led by Kulativate Labs, a non-profit economic development and arts organization, Balay Kreative is a future Filipino American arts hub and cultural center.
The building of Republika SF, a central hub with a multi-purpose event space, a food court, a visual arts gallery, and artist’s space, has been placed on hold due to the pandemic.
With plans of hosting a Balay Kreative art gallery in the future, Republika SF “will be formatted as a pop-up artist’s workshop giving Filipinx creatives a place to produce new work that will attract audiences across the region to visit SOMA Pilipinas,” Desi Danganan, Executive Director of Kultivate Labs, says.
“As our society starts to recover from the devastating mental and economic effects of COVID-19, arts and culture will draw people back into the city. Our arts community will be a beacon welcoming the public back to SOMA Pilipinas,” he adds.
Along with the Balay Kreative Artist Pop-up Studios are programs and grants for artists and entrepreneurs. The first is the Kapwa Gardens Mural Residency at Kapwa Gardens, a new wellness community space in SOMA Pilipinas.
Some $15,000 will go towards completing two murals with up to $500 in material expenses including six months of studio space at the Balay Kreative Artist Pop-up Studios at Republika SF.
The second is the Kapwa in Excelsior program where artists have an opportunity to display their work through window panels of an open storefront in the Excelsior district.
Sponsored by Make it Mariko events, this program “is seeking art that can bring energy and life to a busy corridor, reflect on the Filipino community experience in Excelsior and/or their love for the Filipino community.” The artist stipend of $1,200 is inclusive of materials and artist fee.
Both applications for Kapwa Gardens Mural Residency and the Kapwa in Excelsior program are due on February 12, 2021.
The third is the Balay Kreative Streaming Hub program, “a multi-media studio for DJ’s and Chef’s to hold online streams around cooking and music. The streaming hub will be designed to support the growing trend of DJ’s hosting music events on Twitch and Food Entrepreneurs growing their audiences with live online cooking workshops anddemos. The first series of cooking demos will feature the chefs of #FilipinosFeedTheFrontlines, showcasing healthy Filipino cooking techniques starting in March.”
All this is a continuation of Balay Kreative’s programs and grants to provide crucial support to Filipino American Bay Area artists that began in 2020. Over $50,000 was granted to artists from various disciplines including dance, film, music, and puppetry.
Among the 2020 grantees were Erina Alejo for her project A Hxstory of Renting that “examines the impact of a culture of gentrification and displacement, and the resilience of the Yelamu in San Francisco” and public arts projects such as We Live Here by South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and artist Mel Vera Cruz that “aims to empower the Filipino-American community through education in the history of San Francisco’s SOMA Pilipinas.”
Local grantees had also partnered with Balay Kreative in launching their projects that deal with critical topics to the community including mental health, sustainability, and identity.
Among these projects are the children’s books, Lapu Lapu and Gabriela Silang, by Robin Aquilizan and Tata Ponsi Alfonso of Bayani Art; the community wellness workshop series, Celestial Journeys, by Dr. Jeannie Celestial; and the dance film, Hinga (Breath), by interdisciplinary artist, SAMMAY.
“Being a Balay Kreative Grantee hits home,” SAMMAY said. “The responsibility I felt in carrying out Hinga amidst a global pandemic was rooted in my responsibility to SOMA Pilipinas and the greater Bay Area Pilipinx community that has raised me into my adulthood, witnessed me in my (r)evolution, and continues to elevate my spirit in all that I am meant to re-become as an artist, healer, and cultural worker. It truly takes a village and Balay Kreative is a beautiful example of how we might lift up artists in the darkest of times.”
On top of that, in order to foster “growth and sustainability of the Filipinx artist community in the Bay Area,” Balay Kreative launched a workshop series, Kreative Growth Masterclass, “to educate their artist cohort on finance fundamentals, grant writing, marketing, and leadership.”
Balay Kreative won over $70,000 in grants through the support of six foundations and government agencies. This was instrumental in Balay Kreative’s partnership with local arts organizations on various virtual events.