About Us

SFIAF Mission

The San Francisco International Arts Festival celebrates the arts through an annual gathering that brings together a global community of artists and audiences. The organization presents and produces innovative projects that are focused on increasing human awareness, understanding and appreciation. We develop long-term relationships with Bay Area artists participating in international collaborative projects and also present ground-breaking artists from around the world, many of whom have rarely or never previously performed in the United States.

Core Values

Our core values are based on principles of cultural and economic equity. We are dedicated to coordinating the shared resources of multiple organizations to reach mutually beneficial goals. In addition to working with larger institutions, we place a high priority on the participation of smaller and culturally diverse entities. Activating and supporting relationships between such eclectic enterprises and individual artists is a key component of SFIAF.

Investing in Local Artists

The Bay Area is the home of many cultural practitioners ranging from master artists and teachers to many thousands of young people from all over the world drawn to San Francisco because of its great reputation as an artistic incubator. We serve this community by working with multiple local artists to help leverage funds that create opportunities for them to create and develop new work, at the same time understanding that many of these opportunities will happen outside the Bay Area.

Taking Advantage of Our Assets

San Francisco has a small geographic footprint in common with many of the world’s great festival towns (e.g. Edinburgh, Charleston and Avignon). Most of these cities must import nearly all of the projects that comprise their festivals. San Francisco is different. We have the cultural infrastructure of a major state capital. The City takes advantage of its assets by playing host to the Pride Parade, Bay to Breakers, Oracle World, and other large spectacles that attract tens of thousands of attendees and change San Francisco’s physical make-up. As yet, the City does not have a defining arts event with a similar draw. SFIAF is trying to change that. If San Francisco could strategically realign its existing artistic infrastructure, augment this with some key international projects, and market the whole, the city could have one of the best arts festivals in the world…at a fraction of the cost.

Learning from Other Cultures & the Outside World

We understand that exposure to different communities and perspectives can expand our experience and world-view. SFIAF makes it a priority to present international ensembles from traditions and cultures that are sometimes different from our own. SFIAF invites artists who, as one critic put it, "Are all grappling with the same issue of living in the world and seeking, if not answers, at least new ways to look at the problems."

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