This is Intersection

Testimony – History

In the 1960’s, when the visionary men and women who founded Intersection for the Arts were gathering in cafes and church basements dreaming this organization into being, the country was engaged in a tragic war in Vietnam; the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Peace Movements were all rising; the Beatles played their last live concert at Candlestick Park; the construction of BART began; and, among so many other things, Indians of all Tribes occupied Alcatraz.

In the midst of such epochal and passionate times, Intersection’s founders envisioned a place that would embrace the limitless possibilities in art to test and transcend boundaries and to make whole the often disconnected communities, fragmented dreams, and real fears that make up our world.

Intersection pursues innovative models and strategies in order to assert the role that cultural space plays in building and re-building community. In fact, our work has always kept ever-evolving notions of “community” at its core. With the shifting dynamics of technology, time, audiences, and social space, we seek ways of forging deeper and more relevant connections. We believe that art can animate and engage community and neighborhood spaces like nothing else.

We, the fortunate caretakers of Intersection today, are in the midst of a cultural explosion with different challenges than that of the 60’s, but no less of an opportunity to achieve positive change. Intersection is committed to servicing the enduring need to ask questions and to find solid ground in a tumultuous and mystifying world.

What is perhaps Intersection’s greatest strength is neither its past nor its present, but rather its unbroken search for new definitions of what art is and how it lives and breathes in an ever unfolding world.

Today, we find ourselves at yet another challenging crossroad.  The business models underlying non-profit arts and culture organizations, particularly small ones like Intersection, are no longer working.  Nearing our 50th Anniversary we are faced with the same problems as most of our colleagues; diminishing resources, inadequate infrastructure, an erosion of contributed income, and very little liquidity.  We know how to make work that impacts community in highly effective ways.  But we find ourselves at this challenging moment in need of deep organizational reflection and unflinching examination of the way we do business. Over the next few months we will be involving our community in a series of conversations about how we can better support our artists, deepen our partnerships, and more effectively serve the Bay Area in a very fluid environment.  We have many questions and we want to involve you in finding the answers.

On Behalf of All of Us at Intersection,

Randy Rollison

Executive Director

June 1, 2014


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