Mission and History

Mission:

CounterPulse is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture. CounterPulse acts as a catalyst for art and action; creating a forum for the open exchange of art and ideas, sparking transformation in our communities and our society. We work towards a world that celebrates diversity of race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity & sexual orientation. We strive to create an environment that is physically and economically accessible to everyone.

History:

CounterPulse represents the merger of 848 Community Space established in 1991, and the Bay Area Center for Art and Technology, incorporated in 1985. This partnership combined 848’s strength as a cutting-edge performance space with BACAT’s expertise in literary, historical, and media arts. Since 2005, CounterPulse has been located in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

848 Community Space played a unique and significant role in the SF performance community since the early 90’s. No other single space has supported a comparable breadth of performance. 848 hosted the first performances or premieres of many of SF’s most exciting and successful dancers and choreographers. 848 also hosted San Francisco’s longest-running Contact Improvisation Jam, and has been a key site in the global network of improvised dance and somatic experimentation. With a special focus on women visual artists, 848 nurtured emerging and risk-taking art for over a decade, and has been a pioneering venue for experimentation.

BACAT projects such as the people’s history archive at Foundsf.org, and Shaping San Francisco‘s Wednesday night discussion series and bicycle history tours continued to operate out of CounterPulse until June 2012. Shaping San Francisco is now a fiscally sponsored project of Independent Arts & Media and public events can be found at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics at 518 Valencia Street.

In 2006, CounterPulse pioneered STREAM/fest, a festival designed to expose audiences to multimedia-based performance by both emerging and established artists. In 2007, CounterPulse produced Under the Radar, a multidisciplinary dance performance by Jess Curtis/Gravity exploring disability and virtuosity with an international cast of performers with and without physical disabilities.  This project leveraged support from 5 organizations and 7 foundations in 3 countries to create a touring performance, symposium and series of community workshops – establishing an infrastructure to support future projects of this scope.  In 2009, CounterPulse launched Performing Diaspora, a festival, residency, and commissioning program designed to support artists who are deeply rooted in traditional dance forms, yet seek to innovate within those traditions.  Through all of its programs, CounterPulse combines a high level of professionalism with a supportive, artist-centered process, empowering artists to produce innovative work and foster dialogue with a diverse community.

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