ICYMI: Zellerbach Family Foundation announces inaugural Community Arts Fellow

The Zellerbach Family Foundation is thrilled to welcome Chibueze Crouch as its first Community Arts Fellow. An Igbo-American artist & writer, Chibueze Crouch (they/she) performs and creates immersive, experimental live art spanning ritual theater, song, movement, video, and text. 

“We’re thrilled to introduce this new fellowship and Chibueze’s selection for its inaugural year,” shares Zellerbach Family Foundation President and CEO, Allison Magee. “The fellowship is part of a broader commitment the foundation has made to deepen its engagement with the arts community and reaffirm the important role arts and culture hold in the health, vitality, and future of our region.”

Chibueze organizes with BlaQyard, a land collective centering QTBIPOC in the East Bay, and they perform with BANDALOOP, an internationally touring vertical dance company. They also curate and produce shows with the Performance Primers, KH FRESH Festival and Queering Dance Festival. They are co-director of OYSTERKNIFE, a postdisciplinary performance company, with Gabriele Christian. Chibueze is also the 2019 RHE Foundation Artistic Fellowship recipient, and a 2021 California Arts Council Established Artist Fellow.

The Community Arts Fellowship emerged from the foundation’s effort to activate its strategic framework: an integrated approach to grantmaking that promotes belonging, connection, and a shared sense of safety among people and communities across the Bay Area and California. In their role as Community Arts Fellow, Chibueze will help the foundation actualize its belief in the power of arts and culture to bring people together, change hearts and minds, and imagine a better future. 

“The Community Arts Program at the Zellerbach Family Foundation has a long-held commitment to collaborative decision making,” says Margot Melcon, who leads Arts and Culture grantmaking for the foundation. “We engage a panel of artists from the community to recommend how funding is meaningfully distributed to artists and arts organizations across the Bay Area. This Fellowship is an extension of that commitment, a way for us to further bring the community into our grantmaking process, to transparently share who we are as a foundation, and to learn from the valuable insights community members bring to our work. Chibueze joins the foundation with years of experience as a practicing artist, community organizer, and activist, and we are so excited to build this Fellowship together.”

The Community Arts Fellowship is a new opportunity for learning and professional development in arts philanthropy. This compensated, year-long fellowship provides on-the-job training in arts administration and arts philanthropy, supporting all aspects of the Community Arts grantmaking program, including operations, project management, communications, and learning and evaluation, as well as individual mentorship and experience with participatory grant-making and collaborative decision-making models. The foundation intends to make the fellowship an annual opportunity to engage with an arts leader for mutual sharing and learning.

This fellowship opportunity is offered in partnership with Independent Arts & Media (IAM), a San Francisco-based nonprofit community organization. IAM currently supports over 100 affiliate projects dedicated to non-commercial work in media and the arts, including publishing, theater, dance, music, visual art, film and video, journalism, history, and public-events production. The partnership with IAM is a key component to ensuring an equitable recruitment process and assurance that the foundation was continuing to work closely with the community. “This program promises to offer the fellow a unique perspective into the grant-making process through direct engagement with one of the Bay Area’s key arts and culture funders. We are excited and honored to support such an innovative opportunity,” said IAM Executive Director Lisa Burger.