CounterPulse was founded over 30 years ago in an oversized living room by a collective of artists who started producing shows and inviting their friends. They were fortunate enough to have that space to gather, so their community began to grow. We have always maintained the alchemy of those grassroots beginnings: part emergent and iterative, part magic and catalytic.
I started working at CounterPulse as the Front of House Coordinator in 2008, when I was just 24 years old, and I’ve seen it through many changes. In 2012, before taking the helm more permanently, I served as Interim Executive Director. I led CounterPulse through our relocation to 80 Turk St as we were being priced out of our former building on Mission St. Since then, we have worked with so many partners, colleagues, artists, and community members to change the narrative: what could have been a story of displacement for CounterPulse is now an incredible story of collaboration. It is the combined creativity of countless people working together to live up to their own values that has allowed an organization like CounterPulse to thrive.
Now, as 2022 comes to a close, we’re achieving more than we could have dreamed. Our community has rallied to support us in purchasing our building, ensuring our continued access to space and fostering our impact. Read our 2022 Impact report here to learn more.
What is truly radical about this moment for CounterPulse is our continuance – in a city characterized by its mercurial nature, being able to forge an unbroken circle of community past, present, and future is profound. San Francisco is constantly changing, yet CounterPulse endures! In so doing, we as a community have the unique privilege of being a mender and a muse for the ever evolving Bay Area cultural ecology.
CounterPulse has always been a home for our communities. Now, as we send our roots down deeper than ever before, the intricacy of the interconnectedness that will grow startles my imagination with its limitless potential.
Julie Phelps, Artistic & Executive Director
and the CounterPulse Team
Header Image: Julie Phelps at Djerassi Resident Artists Program during a CounterPulse Co-Production of NETWORK by KD>>MovingGround. Photo by Hillary Goidell