Individual Artists & Social Justice Preconference

The preconference will take place at San Francisco's SOMArts—a multicultural, community-built arts space where cutting edge events and countercultures commingle with traditional art forms—and will bring together a rich mix of artists, activists, cultural organizers, funders, and social justice advocates.

Registration for this preconference is limited to sixty.

Participants in the Individual Artists & Social Justice Preconference will depart by bus from The Fairmont San Francisco at 7:45 AM and return Sunday evening for the Opening Reception.


7:45 Bus Departs from the Fairmont San Francisco

8:30-9:00 Breakfast

A breakfast of mobile comfort food will be provided by Oakland-based Nick's Wheely Good Breakfast.

9:00-5:00 Daylong participatory art project with Allison Smith

Organized by Ute Zimmermann, program manager, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue.

Allison Smith investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment and the role of craft in the construction of the national identity. She produces interactive sculptures and public events that encourage participants to "take history into their own hands." Smith will present a daylong craft project that attendees will be invited to participate in throughout the preconference.

Artist's Website:

9:00-9:30 Keynote: Rhodessa Jones

(Jones will continue to address the Preconference throughout the day, providing feedback on and insights into the proceedings.)

Organized by Ron Ragin, program officer, performing arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Drawing from her extensive experience utilizing the performing arts to work with incarcerated and HIV-positive women nationally and internationally, Rhodessa Jones will deliver a keynote presentation on the use of theater as a healing tool. Jones will address how art, creativity, and collaboration initiate dialogues and she will detail the methodologies, impacts, and challenges of art practiced as social activism. She will also read short excerpts from her upcoming book, Nudging the Memory: Creating Performance with The Medea Project: Theatre for Incarcerated Women, which chronicles the creative process of working with incarcerated women and disenfranchised populations around the world.

Cultural Odyssey
The Medea Project

9:30-10:30 Plenary Session

CultureStrike: Cultural Strategy and Cultural Organizing For Social Change

Organized by Diane Sanchez, director of grantmaking and donor services, East Bay Community Foundation.

Presented by Jeff Chang, executive director, Stanford University Institute for Diversity in the Arts; Erin Potts, executive director, Air Traffic Control; Favianna Rodriguez, artist,

Culture is the realm of ideas, images, and stories; it is where people make sense of the world, where they find meaning and forge community. History shows that when the culture changes, politics follows. CultureStrike, consisting of Art Strike and Wordstrike, organizes artists and writers to create and collaborate on work that sheds new light on issues of migrant justice and immigrant rights. This session will provide an overview of how activist-minded artists, writers, and musicians, following the pioneering work of Air Traffic Control, are advancing theories and models of cultural strategy and cultural organizing.

10:30-11:00 Break

11:00-11:50 Breakout Artist Conversations

Weston Teruya and Taraneh Hemami

Organized by Ute Zimmermann, program manager, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue.

What does it mean to be a visual artist in the context of new political realities, domestically and internationally? What are the differences and similarities in how artists are working locally and in global centers of conflict? Taraneh Hemami and Weston Teruya are active as both visual artists and as curators and will discuss these questions by presenting both their own practice and those of the artists they have worked with internationally. They will also touch upon the legibility and impact of art pieces in different cultural contexts, as well as the challenges of securing funding and institutional support for international projects.

Weston Teruya Website
Taraneh Hemami Website

L. Frank Manriquez

Organized by Tia Oros Peters, executive director, Seventh Generation Fund.

L. Frank Manriquez of the Tongva/Ajachemen Nations is a frontline community activist and renowned multi-disciplinary artist who explores, expresses, and expands the definition and framework of Indigenous Peoples, Re-indigenization, and Indigenous-ness through her dynamic art and cultural expression. Working in sculpture, song, storytelling, weaving, painting, and carving, Manriquez has decades of experience in community, national, and international arts arenas. She will share her experiences, arts practices, and unique perspective as an Indigenous California artist engaged in identity-based, culturally-centered, place-based arts-making. She will also introduce her evolving roles in cultural revitalization, language recovery, and creative development as key trajectories for social justice.

The L. Frank Project

11:50-1:00 Lunch

Lunch will be provided on the patio (weather permitting) by San Francisco's popular food truck Roli-Roti.

1:00-2:10 Plenary Session

Rhodessa Jones

Feedback from morning sessions

Brett Cook and Amy Franceschini

Moderated by Jaime Cortez

Organized by Diane Sanchez, director of grantmaking and donor services, East Bay Community Foundation; Ute Zimmermann, program manager, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue.

Brett Cook distills his diverse experiences with art, education, science, and spirituality into murals and other community-based, collaborative public projects. His work addresses shared local narratives, both historical and contemporary. Amy Franceschini is a pollinator who creates formats for exchange. Overarching themes in her work are a perceived conflict between humans and nature and the effects of globalization on local systems. In 1995, Amy founded Futurefarmers, an international collective of artists with a common interest in creating work that challenges current social, political and economic systems. Artist Jamie Cortez will facilitate a discussion between Cook and Franceschini about their practices, their intentions, and the different communities who inform and are informed by their work.

Brett Cook

2:20-3:10 Breakout Artist Conversations

Film for Change: Inspiring Social Justice through Film and Media

Organized by Maurine Knighton, program director, arts and culture, The Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Patrice O'Neill is an award-winning film producer and director dedicated to creating stories that spark audience members to become change agents in their communities. As CEO of The Working Group, she has produced successful national series on PBS for fifteen years and led a multi-platform approach utilizing documentary film, grassroots engagement, educational outreach, and social media to ignite dialogue and action. Her work seeks to embolden and honor unsung heroes whose everyday actions can lead to social change, and her films push people out of their comfort zones, at the same time providing a narrative road map for changemakers. O'Neill will show clips from her latest film, "Not In Our Town III: Light in the Darkness," as well as short films and transmedia applications from the social media site,

The Working Group

Sergio De La Torre

Organized by Ute Zimmermann, program manager, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue.

Sergio De La Torre is a photographer and performance/installation artist who grew up in the Tijuana-San Diego border area and migrated to San Francisco. Through his art practice, he has focused on issues of diaspora, tourism, and identity politics. De La Torre will discuss immigration, presenting his own work on this subject (both successful projects and those that didn't succeed) and work by other artists.

USF Faculty Page

3:10-3:45 Break

3:55-4:55 Plenary Session

Las Jornadas de la Semilla Caminante, 2009-2011

Organized by Ron Ragin, program officer, performing arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In this interactive presentation, Cherríe Moraga and Celia Herrera Rodríguez will address the ways Mesoamerican and Indigenous thought, as well as a two-spirit (queer) worldview, are integral to their current work as performance, visual art, and creative/critical literature artists. A short video presentation of an excerpt of the play, La Semilla Caminante, a kind of "living codex," designed by Herrera and written and directed by Moraga will be presented, as well as video footage of Las Jornadas de la Semilla Caminante. These "Jornadas," conducted during a full year's travel in 2009 by Herrera Rodríguez, involved visiting Indigenous & migrant communities in the Western States and Chicago and served as the foundation for the performance work.

5:15 Bus departs for the Fairmont San Francisco