The Arts

The Fund’s arts grantmaking helps Bay Area residents to appreciate and benefit from art’s full potential to build cross-cultural understanding, explore ideas, and enrich their lives.


Arts Education is Essential

All people — including children and youth — should share the opportunity to study and create art. We fund arts education efforts that:

  • Are led by professional artists, are of substantial depth and duration, and that mitigate the barriers that often limit low-income students’ full participation. Such programs may:
    • Take place in public schools and address state and district arts education standards;
    • Take place in safe and appealing after-school settings and incorporate excellent youth development and youth leadership practices;
    • Take place in juvenile detention facilities (proposals by invitation only).
  • Strengthen the role of teaching artists in and out of the classroom.
  • Promote policies and advocacy efforts that benefit children and youth with increasingly robust arts education programs.

Arts Build Resilient Communities

Arts participation unifies communities, fostering shared understanding and respect. We fund efforts that:

  • Reach an authentically diverse cross-section of local residents, involving them in shared arts experiences. Such programs are inviting, reduce barriers to participation, and collect audience demographic data to promote wider participation.
  • Use the arts to foster cross-cultural understanding and inclusiveness by engaging participants with different backgrounds and life experiences. These programs commit to building cross-cultural or cross-generational understanding over time rather than through individual events or presentations.
  • (NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS as of January 8, 2020. Please check back in late December 2020.) Strengthen the capacity of recent immigrant or Native California organizations to serve their communities, their artists, and the general public. These organizations foster the preservation and transfer of cultural traditions through the generations and/or support the creation and presentation of high-quality, contemporary or traditional artworks.

Artists Engage Us through Collaboration

Through the Creative Work Fund, we support the creation of new artworks that are developed out of collaborative partnerships between artists and nonprofit organizations. Principles guiding the Fund are:

  • Artists’ creativity merits philanthropic support.
  • Individual creativity is the source of cultural richness and diversity.
  • The arts can be a powerful vehicle for problem-solving and community renewal.
  • Collaboration among artists, organizations, and their constituents can generate a productive exchange of ideas and bring the arts to new audiences.

The Creative Work Fund is a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, also generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For a detailed program description and application information, please visit

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