ABOUT THE YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is one of the nation’s most innovative contemporary arts centers. Founded in 1993, YBCA’s mission is to generate culture that moves people. Through powerful art experiences, thoughtful and provocative content, and deep opportunities for participation, YBCA is committed to creating an inclusive culture that awakens personal and societal transformation. YBCA presents a wide variety of programming year-round, including performing arts, visual arts, and civic engagement. For tickets and information, call 415.978.ARTS (2787). For more information, visit ybca.org.
Art+Action—San Francisco’s first coalition for civic participation that spans art, creative, community, business, technology, philanthropy, activist, and government sectors—has launched a citywide arts-driven campaign that positions artists as catalysts to humanize the issues around the 2020 US Census. In partnership with trusted institutions and messengers, including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)—their headquarters and a lead partner—and ignited by support from San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA), they’re galvanizing communities to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census to receive their fair share of resources and political representation. Although the movement is starting locally, the goal is to set off a national spark. www.ComeToYourCensus.us
Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?
A digital Art and Civic Experience at YBCA.
What does it mean to be counted? What does it mean to belong? How do we stand with those who are not seen, heard, and included?
Come to Your Census: Who Counts In America? is an art and civic experience designed to mobilize the Bay Area around the urgent, long-term impact of the 2020 Census.
The United States Census—a count of our national population—is the only fully-inclusive act our democracy offers to assess and meet the needs of each person living in our country. Everyone, citizen or not, has the right to safely participate. When you fill out the Census, each person in your household brings $20,000 into your community over the next ten years for affordable housing, healthcare, education, essential emergency services, infrastructure, job training, and more. You also protect your voice, voting power, and equal representation in government.
In 2020 there are historic obstacles to a safe and accurate count. Significant threats such as escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric, language barriers, digital literacy, and cybersecurity concerns put all of our communities—and especially those most vulnerable—at risk of not being counted.
With the belief that art has the capacity to move people to act, YBCA has incubated and partnered with Art+Action—a cross-sector coalition for civic participation—to explore how artists can inspire all communities to ignite the 2020 Census as an opportunity for agency, belonging, and resistance.
YBCA has engaged Bay Area artists working across a range of disciplines to offer explorations of identity, visibility, and citizenship against the backdrop of a region that many marginalized and undercounted communities call home. Ranging from site-specific and participatory installations to paintings, films, ceramics, and photographs, the works interrogate the social, political, and cultural implications of being counted.
Recognizing the role of artists as first responders to any social crisis, and in response to the potential of COVID-19 to dampen Census turnout, YBCA and Art+Action have quickly reimagined the physical opening of this art and civic experience—developed by a coalition of curators including Martin Strickland, YBCA’s Associate Director of Public Life; Sarah Cathers, YBCA’s Director of Public Life; Amy Kisch, Art+Action Founder + Artistic Director of Social Impact; Brittany Ficken, Art+Action Executive Producer + Project Director; Candace Huey of re.riddle; and independent curator and cultural organizer Ashara Ekundayo—supported by Art+Action’s Curatorial Committee.
Together, we are amplifying the COME TO YOUR CENSUS campaign and its artists on digital platforms to underscore that the Census is an essential service which ensures our communities’ long-term health and strength. Right now, it is more important than ever to continue to offer inspiration and tools to our communities to claim their power, in the face of the overwhelming isolation and powerlessness. Not only do we hope to instill a sense of hope and future-forward thinking to help our communities envision the next decade, but to help them understand how vital the Census is every day—and particularly in times in which we are all more vulnerable.
The Come To Your Census digital engagements will take a variety of forms, including interactive video games, virtual gatherings, newly commissioned written and filmed artist responses, and more.
We invite you to become a 2020 Census participant and to exercise your civic muscle in the hope that we can all strengthen our communities and secure our collective future.
Digital Content for Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?
Leah Nichols, 73 Questions, 2017
Cece Carpio, Actual Enumeration Series, 2020
June Grant, WE SEE OURSELVES, 2020
Sanctuary City, Who Counts in America?, 2020
Lukas Brekke-Miesner, Yueqi Chen, Chris Hamamoto, and Takeshi Moro, Breaking ICE: A Community Response to a Citizenship Test, 2017/2020
Yesica Prado, Home Is Where Your Heart Is, 2020
Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Between Memory and Landscape, 1105-D, 2017
James Hosking, Beautiful By Night, 2014
Dorothy R. Santos, Con•sense•us in the time of Dis•sense•us, 2020
Student Photography from First Exposures:
Artist Lava Thomas with independent curator Ashara Ekundayo
Artist Leah Nichols with YBCA Associate Director of Public Life Martin Strickland
Artist Maria Paz with YBCA Director of Public Life Sarah Cathers
Artist Cece Carpio with YBCA Curatorial Project Manager Fiona Ball
Architect June Grant with YBCA Marketing Manager Leslie Irwin
Artists Arleene Correa Valencia and Ana Teresa Fernández with YBCA Curatorial Project Manager Fiona Ball
Artists Chris Hamamoto and Takeshi Moro with YBCA Associate Director of Public Life Martin Strickland
9 Question Artist Responses:
Angela Hennessy & Tahirah Rasheed
Yerba Buena Center For The Arts
701 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103
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