Dance Companies Wired by Cash Infusion
Wisner, Heather, Dance Magazine
Six San Francisco Bay Area dance companies and eight dancer-choreographers recently got what they needed most from Silicon Valley: CASH. Spelled out, that's Creative Assistance for the Small (Organization) and Hungry (Artist), a pilot grant program benefiting dance and theater artists.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have provided joint funding--$1,500 for each artist, $2,500 for each company--to performers selected by a peer-panel review. More than 200 artists applied for the first round of grants; the program will award a second round this spring, followed by an evaluation.
Theater Bay Area and Dancers' Group will work together to administer the program. Sabrina Klein, executive director of Theater Bay Area, noted that the foundations have offered the arts long-term organizational support, but said that this particular program, which promises $50,000 from each foundation over the next two years, offers a way to extend the financial impact. The pilot program will focus on how to best help the companies it serves, including nomadic companies, a growing concern in the Bay Area's volatile real estate market.
Unlike many grant programs, CASH also focuses on emerging performers with smaller budgets undertaking innovative, even risky, work. That approach "values the little guys," said Dancers' Group Executive Director Wayne Hazzard. "Sometimes people have this feeling that you have to have a machine behind you, but you can create quality dance works when you're small. …