The African American Art & Culture Complex (AAACC) is getting a new program designed to counteract the outflow of artists and the black population from San Francisco. The Resident Art Incubator, made possible with funding from The San Francisco Foundation, is a three-year program starting this summer with goal of giving emerging art companies with black founders a place to create and grow.
We caught up with Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, AAACC’s executive director, about the Resident Art incubator Program to hear his vision for what is to come.
“We started talking about this program last summer, before I was even the executive director," Bilal explained. "Artists talked about the need to move [from San Francisco].” He presented the idea to different artists and they thought it was good so they created the program.
To counteract increasing real estate prices and less available space for creative endeavors, it will provide shared offices, administrative support, and subsidized rehearsal and performance areas. Applications are being accepted until this coming Monday.
“The biggest qualifier is that there is one black founder.” said Bilal. Applicants must also fit the criterion of artistic quality, sustainability, creative ability, and cultural application. They must also work with the mission of the AAACC.
The community center already houses three arts organizations, including the African American Shakespeare Company, the AfroSolo Theater Company, and Cultural Odyssey. The program seeks to expand that imprint, bringing in five companies to nurture a fertile creative ground. “Our space gave arts organizations a runway, and I wondered why we weren’t providing [more of] that”
The program will have a different focus for each of the three years. Year one will focus on skill building, year two will focus on mentorships and collaborations, and year three will focus on production and presentation. “Our goal is not just to have artists here, but to build them up.” Bilal told us. “We’re trying to establish a group of black arts companies that will be around for the next 30 years.”
As far as how AAACC will benefit from this program, he sees the center becoming a sort of salon. “I’m curious to see the artistic manifestation that will come in the next 3 years.”
The deadline to apply for the Resident Art Incubator Program has been extended until Monday, June 8. To submit your application, just follow this link.