What follows is additional information from the Artist Meeting we held on Monday November 15 regarding the Festival's moving to San Francisco State University in June 2023.
Click on THIS LINK for a PDF version of the power point presentation from Monday and pasted below is a compilation of all the questions and comments generated from the Chat and the Jam board. It might be best to download the PDF and read it in conjunction with Q&A list for everything to make sense.
Artist Questions from Monday November 15 2021 presentation (questions in red)
Will there be a festival in 2022?
We have received a number of enquiries from artists about this.
The plan for 2022 was / is to present a cultural series featuring one artist at a time in June and perhaps putting together a single outdoor weekend similar to the ones we planned for October 2020 and 2021.
However, there is a new stream of city funding for outdoor work. So we may try to access this for a summer 2022 program out of doors. I will share news of this as we find out more.
What is the festival theme for 2023?
The theme for the Festival for the foreseeable future is “IN DIASPORA: I.D. for the New Majority”
There is more information on our website at this link https://www.sfiaf.org/in_diaspora_id_for_the_new_majority
The theme speaks to promoting and celebrating the richness and strengths of multicultural and multi-racial societies. For SFIAF this includes presenting work by white artists – who (we hope) are also feeling inspired by the shifting demographics of the country and what that might portend for domestic politics and the position and role of the United States vis-à-vis the rest of the globe.
The theme is also a statement about migration, refugees and inclusion within international frameworks—which is a human rights issue that can sometimes transcend colour, depending on the part of the world in question and who is migrating.
We take a broad view in regards to adhering to the theme. Keep in mind we are an arts festival, not a political conference. By its nature artistic work does not always manifest itself literally. An artist’s interpretation of an idea can end up in a diversity of forms and outcomes. To that end, we need work that speaks to a variety of ideas and emotions. We want to offer audiences a rallying cry and profound insights into important issues—but we also want to allow space for fantasy and even comic relief.
Will there be opportunities for site-specific performances?
Will SFIAF do pop up performances/actions with various departments as a way to build SFIAF presence on campus?
For year one (and ongoing), we will support artists in any way we can to facilitate site-specific performances at SFSU.
After year one, if we gain traction on campus, we may try to initiate site-specific or pop-up performances in collaboration with the departments.
Can artists reach out directly to their on-campus connections to initiate projects, collaborations and / or educational activities?
YES, if you want your work to be presented in the Festival at SFSU and it requires you to interact with one or more individuals or departments, you can reach out to them directly. But do not blindside us. Please talk to SFIAF first to discuss your project to make sure it fits within the rest of the Festival’s parameters and we can accommodate you BEFORE approaching your on-campus contact.
Even if SFIAF does not coordinate specific collaborations between individual artists and the university. It is helpful to know if (for example) multiple artists plan to separately target the same department or faculty member.
Other artist suggestions for collaborations
College of Ethnic Studies
Student Groups (there are 308 official student groups on campus)
Longmore Institute on Disability
Per the question on contacting the university, we welcome all ideas for partnering with elements within the university. Especially if artists have personal contacts on campus. In addition to LCA, SFIAF has already reached out to Ethnic Studies, the School of Business, Associated Students and the Dream Resource Center.
We also have existing relationships with three departments in LCA regarding working with students and interns. We have identified about 36 different internship programs in LCA departments.
Can SFIAF develop a year-long / year round program with students?
We would like to. Perhaps eventually. But it is a little premature to try to do this now.
With the festival in the summer, would it still be possible to engage students in the production and dove-tail that with a teaching engagement?
If we get the NEA Rescue grant that we applied for, that is certainly something we will discuss for 2023.
Otherwise, see the answer to the previous question—assuming that an artist would have to go through a faculty member or department in order to access their students.
Also, the position of the Dean of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts is that if individual departments want to engage in this type activity, they can. But the college is not compelling them to do so and any costs would have to come out of the department’s existing budget. This does not rule out this type of arrangement from happening. But it would be at the discretion of individual department heads using their own funding.
Will there be online programs as part of the festival?
The goal is to be onsite at SFSU and we are not planning broadcasting online work, but we will consider live projects that have online components. E.g. projects that include virtual reality technology or that feature live interactions with artists who are operating remotely.
Is concurrent live streaming possible?
Yes, we want to work with SFSU students to live stream as many performances as possible.
It was suggested we broadcast with https://howlround.com
Which venues come with piano availability?
SFSU has multiple pianos (grand, baby grand and upright) that can be made available in most Creative Arts and Associated Student venues.
The preferred SFSU piano maker is Steinway.
Note: SFSU only has one piano tuner on staff, so they cannot guarantee tuning each instrument when we need them to. SFIAF will pay for a piano tuner at the outset of the Festival to set up any piano we plan to make extensive use of. But if having a piano tuned immediately prior to your using it is important to you, you should include this in your production budget and bring your own tuner.
How do we make the festival accessible to the students? Minimize the financial impact on them?
SFIAF will research possible sponsors that might underwrite the cost of student tickets.
In addition, the university may try to specify reductions in ticket prices for students in our negotiations with them in return for space access.
Keep in mind that it is the individual artists who set their ticket prices and (unless we get a sponsor or the university mandates something that sets a rule across the board) discounts for students will be at the discretion of each participating production.
How integrated are you looking to become with SF State curriculum / programming? Are there opportunities to do workshops, residencies, or even a rotating ensemble/class for students?
Per the bullet on page one of the power point presentation
Most importantly we want to work with SFSU to enrich the experience of students at SFSU and ultimately to have a positive impact on undergraduate enrollment and recruitment.
Which means we want to be as integrated as we can be.
However, this is not necessarily straightforward.
Financial aid is not as readily available for summer courses as it is for the spring and autumn semesters, so students often have to pay out of pocket.
Course credit towards degrees is not always a given for summer courses.
We have to figure out things such as open university accreditation and letting students from throughout the Cal State system take classes (for credit) to try to boost numbers. I do not know the intricacies of trying to do this (I am asking), but apparently it is not as straightforward as we might like.
All of the above means that, despite having the best of intentions, it may not be easy to get into the curriculum. But addressing the potential problems is on our radar and we hope to made some headway in the coming year.
What are the costs to artists / individual producers for the typical (prior year) average costs for the shared marketing and publicity campaigns?
At no cost to the artist, SFIAF provides PR for each artist as part of the Festival in the following ways: inclusion in our press releases (which may or may not generate advance features or reviews), listing in the SFIAF brochure, an individual artist web page, a Facebook event page, inclusion in approx. three email blasts to 13,000 addresses (20% – 25% open rate).
SFIAF also secures media sponsorships and shares the resulting cost reductions with artists. Although individual artists / productions can elect not to participate in any joint marketing plan or campaign. This is entirely at the artist’s discretion.
Some examples of costs from May 2020, the minimum cost for boosted calendar listings with photo on SF Weekly / The Chronicle / SF Gate and websites was $45 for 5,000 exposures.
The minimum cost for postcards is $49 for 1,000.
Paid feature stories $80 - $100
Again, to reiterate from the power point presentation
More than 50% of attendees only see one performance at the Festival. SFIAF audience surveys suggest that at least 70% of Festival attendees are fans of individual artists and came to see the artist regardless of the artist’s participation in the Festival.
What this means is that, at best, individual artists can expect SFIAF PR to account for up to 25% of their audience. This means the artist will generate most of the ticket sales for their show.
Is there a possibility of extending partnerships to other institutions in the Bay Area (City College, UC Berkeley, St Mary's, CSU East Bay, etc.)?
Certainly in terms of being able to have students access the educational programs at SFSU during the Festival, this is something we will try to look at.
Perhaps if there are artists that teach at the above listed (and other) institutions of higher learning, that might be good points of contact to initiate a conversation regarding how this might happen.
Is there a possibility of examining a partnership with Stonestown Mall?
We will reach out to as many local businesses and organizations as we can.
We will start by contacting the office of Myrna Melgar, who is the District 7 Supervisor as a conduit to reaching businesses and other organizations and institutions in the surrounding area https://sfbos.org/supervisor-melgar-district-7
Will the food vendors stay open on weekends and evenings? they usually have very short hours in the summer.
This is something we plan to speak to the university about in the coming months.
Other ideas / suggestions / opinions / concerns
It can be difficult to find parking and the venues
We will create signage that will hopefully highlight where all the venues are.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of parking spaces at SFSU. In June most of them are available.
Start laying the ground work (building alliances/relationships, researching impact, etc) now. Starting this work next year already puts the festival at a deficit.
We have been doing our best to reach out to different departments in the University for the better part of a year. Sometimes it is slow going.
In each relevant department, identify a faculty liaison for the festival; this person would help the festival understand better how to fit with their curriculum structure.
These are the department heads / directors. We have been trying to work with nine in LCA plus individuals in Ethnic Studies and Business Studies.