Grantee Highlight: Bayview Opera House

Every month, we highlight a grantee that we’ve recently funded through our Equity Grants Program, which advances racial and economic inclusion in the Bay Area. 

As the community’s cultural anchor, Bayview Opera House (BVOH) revitalizes Bayview Hunters Point by supporting and organizing culturally relevant art exhibits, performances, and community festivals – appealing to multiple generations of both long-term and new residents. BVOH also offers arts education to young people in a neighborhood where the arts have largely been eliminated from the school curriculum, building the capacity for arts appreciation and artistic skills for self-expression.  In addition, they provide local artists with their first opportunities to perform.

BVOH primarily serves the Bayview Hunters Point community. The audience is largely low-income and African American. Most live in the community, but it’s also a magnet for African Americans from throughout the Bay Area. Approximately 85% of their audience are people of color. They highlight the rich cultural heritage of the long-time, deeply rooted African American community, as well as the growing segments of new residents: Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and other communities. Many events are free or discounted community tickets are made available.

BVOH also spurs the development of local businesses, supporting scores of emerging local artists and entrepreneurs and increasing job opportunities.

The Opera House, which provides the central, most recognized location in Bayview Hunters Point and is on the National Register of Historic Places, re-opened in 2016 after two years of extensive repairs and renovation, including fixing structural problems, making it ADA compliant and creating a beautiful new garden and outdoor performance space. State-of-the-art theatre technical equipment was installed along with new sound, lighting and projection equipment, thus allowing the community to experience art in the way in should be seen – professionally produced.

One of the foundation’s Place pathway strategies is to support anchor community cultural hubs. The foundation’s recent grant to BVOH does this with high quality programs in the San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, creating a sense of place, belonging, community engagement, and pride for residents and community members.

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