Deborah Cullinan

“Creativity exists in the community to solve problems. Artists don’t just solve specific problems. Artists represent our ability as a society to solve all our problems. … Art is the undervalued but magic ingredient in change.” This strong belief in the power of art typifies Deborah Cullinan’s leadership of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). Deborah is finding new ways to stretch the multi-disciplinary art center’s role as a civic center, and deepen its integration with the city of San Francisco.

The Market Street Prototyping Festival—where artists and social innovators engage in rapid urban prototyping about the future of Market Street, on Market Street itself—was a joint effort of YBCA and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Innovation. YBCA Fellows are creative, socially-inclined Bay Area change-makers answering questions like, can we design freedom? The “YBCA 100”—a group of creative minds, makers, and pioneers who meet annually—are asking the questions and making the provocations that will shape the future of American culture.

Deborah is a co-founder of ArtsForum SF and a board member of California Arts Advocates, Californians for the Arts, MissionHub, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust.