Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was founded in 1993 as part of a project of the California Redevelopment Agency. Out of urban renewal and decades of struggle due to politics, displacement, and changing demographics, Yerba Buena Gardens opened at the heart of San Francisco and included a park, a children’s playground, ice rink, bowling alley, restaurants, hotels, a neighboring convention center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
YBCA was created to anchor this complex and evolving place as a citizen institution that would be home to the diverse local arts community while serving to connect the Bay Area to the world. This founding mandate to be connected to and part of our immediate geography is an essential reminder that place is made through synergy and connection across difference.
YBCA believes that more and different kinds of people need to be defining culture today and more people need to have access to cultural experiences that are relevant to their lives and their communities. We need new definitions and new experiences that bring people together regardless of their differences in order to make the diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture we need today. YBCA believes that the arts should be on the front line of change and that cultural institutions exist to spur and support big societal movements.
Through powerful art experiences, thoughtful and provocative content, and deep opportunities for participation, YBCA is committed to kindling inclusive culture that cultivates empathy, awakens personal and societal transformation, and reaches for a world fueled by inspiration. The need has never been stronger than now.