The Future Of Institutions
Sara Fenske Bahat, Deborah Cullinan, and Meklit Hadero of YBCA
July 27, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:30pm EDT
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) has reimagined the role of an arts institution by focusing on “building a home for artists that will strengthen their capacity to have measurable impact in their communities.” To invest in artists is to invest in the community-at-large. Join YBCA leaders to discuss their revolutionary mission and initiatives, including their new Guaranteed Income Pilot.
Artists, designers, nonprofit and for-profit leaders, arts administrators, cultural producers, systems-thinkers, economists, investors, activists, and change-makers are invited to learn from their experiences, ask questions, and engage.
About the Speakers
Sara Fenske Bahat came to design looking for a new way to solve problems. She worked in economic development in New York City as a bank regulator, then as a banker. As she looked at the challenges in economic and community development, she wanted the chance to solve these problems using the human-centered creative approach that design methods offer. Both a former fellow and a current Chair of the MBA in Design Strategy at the California College of the Arts (CCA), she uses her experience with social systems, economics, and iterative problem solving to sustain art and culture ecosystems, collaborate with businesses large and small, empower students, and foster mutually productive partnerships. She’s currently obsessed with rewriting Roberts Rules of Order for the modern age and is the board chair of YBCA. 
YBCA’s CEO Deborah Cullinan is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the pivotal role artists and arts organizations can play in shaping our social and political landscape, and has spent years mobilizing communities through arts and culture. Cullinan is committed to revolutionizing the role art centers play in public life and during her tenure at YBCA, she has launched several bold new programs, engagement strategies, and civic coalitions. Prior to joining YBCA in 2013, she was the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts. She is a co-founder of CultureBank, co-chair of the San Francisco Arts Alliance, Vice Chair of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy, and on the boards of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust and HumanMade. She is a Field Leader in Residence at Arizona State University’s National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation and a former Innovator in Residence at the Kauffman Foundation. She currently serves on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Jobs and Business Recovery Task Force.
Meklit Hadero is an Ethiopian American vocalist, songwriter, composer, and cultural activist making music that sways between cultures and continents. Her innovative take on ethio-jazz has taken her around the world, from her home base of San Francisco to her home city of Addis Ababa (where she is a household name). Hadero has founded and led many creative and cultural initiatives, from musical collaborations to performance series. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a TED Senior Fellow, former co-director of the Red Poppy Art House, and has served as an artist in residence at New York University and Harvard University. She is also the Chief of Program at YBCA.