By Connie Martinez, SVCREATES’ Chief Executive Officer
The essence of Silicon Valley informs our unique arts and cultural ecosystem.
Silicon Valley is a relatively young and highly educated region that attracts people from around the world. Our entrepreneurial, risk-taking, startup culture fueled the emergence of a global center of technology and innovation at record speed — a feat for which we have become world-renowned. And in doing so, we also created a broadly diverse “culture of churn” and unprecedented wealth that is, in many cases, only loosely tied to our local community.
Silicon Valley wealth is largely “new money” and resides with our technology elite, not the social elite who historically funded the arts. Just like our companies, Silicon Valley philanthropy leans global and is often driven by a desire to change the world. And, for many in our “valley of immigrants,” connection to this place remains a bit illusive.
As a result, there is a deep chasm between the capacity and propensity to fund arts and culture.
We believe engagement and investment in our arts ecosystem requires a nuanced understanding of our region’s unique and beautiful complexity and the value of the arts in overcoming our civic challenges. If we’ve done our job right, our recently released publication, The Business of Arts and Culture, will help all of us understand who we are as a cultural sector and what we bring to this special community. It will shed light on the particular challenges we face and how we are confronting them. Most importantly, it will help you understand your essential role in sustaining the business of the arts.
It is worth noting that our research for this project was underway before COVID-19 hit the arts sector particularly hard. You will see that we have added pandemic texture and insights to each section, but, as is true for most other sectors, we have yet to fully realize the long-term impact of 2020’s concurrent crises on the arts.
Before we invite you to dig into the report, let’s pause for a moment of reflection.
Imagine navigating a global pandemic, a racial reckoning, homeschooling, and the social and economic complexities of this world without access to music, film, poetry, performances, visual arts, cultural events and festivals.
Hard to imagine? We agree. Let’s get to work.