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CAST speaks at Northern California Grantmakers Panel on Space – June 13

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019

Time: 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Location: Northern California Grantmakers 160 Spear Street, Suite 360 San Francisco, CA 94105

Increasing Access to Space for Artists and Nonprofit Art Organizations


Thursday, June 13, 2019
10:30am to 11:30am

Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360
San Francisco, CA 94105


CAST Director of Community Engagement Tyese Wortham joins Karoleen Feng of Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), Catherine Howard of Community Vision, and Shelley Trott of Kenneth Rainin Foundation in a discussion about interventions to increase access to space for artists and nonprofits.

Artist communities face the perennial challenge of accessing safe, affordable spaces to develop, create and present their work as well as securing housing for themselves. This lack of access manifests in many ways, including the precarious financial stability/ viability of the artists and organizations we support and artists’ ability to remain in the communities that they serve. Hosted by Northern California Grantmakers, this session will explore the unique space needs of arts organizations and highlight promising interventions seeking to increase artists’ access to affordable housing and safe live/work space.



Karoleen Feng, Director of Community Real Estate, Mission Economic Development Agency

Karoleen established MEDA’s Community Real Estate program in 2014 to rebuild community assets in the Mission District after a decade-long absence of affordable-housing production in the neighborhood. Against the odds of the low-income, primarily Latino families neighborhood being decimated, she has been instrumental in jump-starting MEDA being joint venture partners for the Mission-Castro cluster of the San Francisco Housing Authority Rental Assistance Demonstration program, new construction of almost 500 apartments and preservation of dozens of small apartments off the private market. Karoleen has also led the Mission Action Plan 2020 initiative to shape policies and planning regulations for land use in the neighborhood. She has built affordable housing for over a decade – rental and for-sale, family and senior, mixed use developments, and affordable commercial real estate at East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and Little Tokyo Service Center.

Catherine Howard, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Northern CA Community Loan Fund

Cat has more than 15 years of experience designing and executing community development programs with a focus on lending and grantmaking. She has worked at both national and regional CDFIs, and has a background in affordable housing and healthy food access. She currently serves on the board of directors of California FarmLink. Cat holds a BA in government from the University of Maryland Honors Program, from which she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley. A native of Washington, DC, she is also a third generation Oakland resident, and proud of her bi-coastal heritage.

Tyese Wortham, Director of Community Engagement, Community Arts Stabilization Trust

Serving artists and arts organizations through real estate development, Tyese Wortham runs Keeping Space – Oakland, a real estate training and funding initiative, as the Director of Community Engagement at the Community Arts Stabilization Trust. Prior to CAST, Tyese honed her social justice lens as a grantmaker in Cultural Equity Grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission, and as a presenter and producer of culture-specific artists with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Tyese is currently a leadership fellow with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and is a practicing dance artist specializing in the folkloric spiritual and performative African traditions of Cuba and Peru.

Shelley Trott, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation (Moderator)
Shelley Trott is Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. She has devoted her career to the arts, having worked as a dancer and choreographer, teacher, filmmaker, and funder. Shelley joined the Foundation in 2009 as one of its first employees and has played an integral role in the evolution of its three program areas. Shelley leads the foundation’s strategic direction for the arts, supporting experimental and multidisciplinary performances, and creating programs to strengthen the capacity of arts organizations, foster a dynamic learning environment and assist with critical organizational transitions.

Shelley was instrumental in establishing the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), an inventive nonprofit model founded on the belief that the arts promote strong, vibrant, diverse communities. CAST secures permanent affordable space for arts and cultural organizations to facilitate equitable urban transformation. She regularly speaks about the important role the arts play in innovative place-based approaches to improving neighborhoods and communities. In 2014, Shelley was awarded the Council on Foundation’s prestigious Robert Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking for her work with CAST.

Shelley earned a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She co-produces the annual Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival and serves on the Arts Loan Fund, a collaborative program of Northern California Grantmakers.

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