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Northern California
Post-Graduate Performance Program

San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) is interested in presenting the work of recent graduates from arts programs at Northern California's Institutions of Higher Learning. The vehicle through which the organization is developing to do this is the Northern California Post-Graduate Performance Program (the Alumni Project for short).

Northern California is situated within the confluence of a number of pervasive determining factors that have had an impact on the nature of the performing arts that are practiced here. One of them is the spirit of artistic innovation and experimentation that has flourished since at least the 1950s; a second is a rich history of civil rights and social justice action; a third is the fact that the region is one of the international driving forces in the computer and internet technology industries.

Among the most vital places that these different (and sometimes opposing) value and technology systems are being fused, dissected, remade and re calibrated is in the arts departments of the Bay Area’s university campuses. As such they are sometimes turning out graduates creating forms of expression hitherto unseen.

As we begin to focus on the third decade of the 21st Century and these graduates have embarked on their own careers as artists, some of them will take these forms to new places; re-imagining what the performing arts are and what their relationship to audiences can be. The Festival is interested in presenting examples of this development—and other post-graduate artists whose work shows exceptional promise.

The premise behind the Alumni Project is that there are numerous arts degrees being offered by institutions of higher learning in Northern California, but there is not much evidence to suggest that many of them include basic business practice as part of their respective curricula. As such most of their students graduate with knowledge and skills in regards to art making, but with little understanding of the business fundamentals that are just as important to charting a successful creative career in the performing arts industry.

Program Goal
The goal of the program is to offer low-risk opportunities for younger people who are at a stage of their careers where they have decided to become generative performing artists. Specifically those who are in the process of creating an external or formal structure to sustain and manage their careers (i.e. an ensemble, band, 501(c)(3), sole proprietorship or another form of support mechanism) that will enable them to build a place for themselves in the performing arts business. The program coordinator for the Alumni Project is Nola Mariano of Circuit Network.

Call the Festival office at 415-399-9554 or send an email message to [email protected] for more information on:

- The rationale and reasoning behind the program
- When the most opportune time for individual artists to consider participation might be.
- The curatorial priorities and the types of artist and work the Festival is interested in.
- The opportunity cost of participation.
- The application process and how to be nominated by your school.

SFIAF 2021
For more details on the Festival program in 2021 please click on this link.

Associated Institutions:
California State University East Bay
California Institute of Integral Studies
Embark Arts
Mills College
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco State University
Sonoma State University
Stanford University
University of California Berkeley
University of California Davis
University of California Santa Cruz
University of San Francisco

The Alumni Project grew out of the Festival's relationship with Embark Gallery starting in 2016. Embark Gallery was located at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and created residencies with and for MFA graduates. Some of those artists included performance in their repertoire and Embark Gallery presented these projects as part of the Festival at Fort Mason. The first prototype calling itself the Alumni Project was staged in May 2019.

             Artists who have participated in this initiative as it has evolved include:
Zulfi_Ali_Bhutto_-_Silent_Crisis_For_Website.jpg Yvette_Dibos_Image_1_Cropped.jpg Us_In_the_U.S._Image_2.jpg
Jessica_La_Rel_Image_2_for_web.jpg Jessica_Fertonani_Headshot_Cropped.jpg Lili_Weckler_Portrait_One_for_web.JPG
Pictured (clockwise from top left): Zulfi Ali Bhutto, San Francisco Art Institute Class of 2016, SFIAF 2017; Yvette Dibos, California College of Art Class of 2017, SFIAF 2018; Us in the U.S. California State University East Bay (multiple graduation years), SFIAF 2019; Lili Weckler California Institute of Integral Studies Class of 2017, SFIAF 2019; Jessica Fertonani Cook San Francisco Art Institute Class of 2018, SFIAF 2019; Jessica la Rel Stanford Class of 2014, SFIAF 2019.

San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109



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