ARC is excited to announce that Reid Hoffman and Michelle Yee have made a generous gift to support the research and programming of the Arts Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “I am absolutely stunned and thrilled to have this vote of confidence in our work,” says ARC Director Shannon Jackson, who notes that this generous gift will propel ARC’s ongoing exploration of the arts in a wider social ecology.
With this gift, ARC plans to continue its investigation of two inter-related themes: 1) how best to advance the role of the arts in addressing issues of social inequity and 2) how best to create a social and economic ecology that sustains the arts and cultural sector. ARC has taken up these issues in a number of forms–with community art projects in Richmond, in student internships with the Berkeley Cultural Trust, in think-tanks with arts leaders of Downtown Berkeley and the Central Market neighborhood of San Francisco, as the host of the Bay Area’s live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, and in conferences such as “Re-imagining the Urban” with the Global Urban Humanities Initiative. Most recently, ARC hosted “Valuing Labor in the Arts: A Practicum,” including a series of artist-led workshops on the precarity and sustainability of artist labor as well as an edited special issue of Art Practical.
After the 2009 budget cuts to the University of California, ARC came to rely entirely upon extramural grants to sustain its activity. While it has been successful in securing outside support, the donation from Hoffman and Yee represents the largest single donation to the Arts Research Center in its young history. This kind of funding allows ARC to be more expansive and more nimble in imagining future projects in the Bay Area and beyond. Look out for updates on the lectures, workshops, publications, and artist mini-residencies made possible by this gift.