Thank you to everyone who supported our 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 12, 2015! Together we raised over $67,000 to advance the Workshop’s mission and support high quality arts education programming in schools and community centers.

Check out the 50th celebration photo album here! 

There’s a litany of people to thank. But first, we want to show you a picture of our favorite part of the event:


These young students, all newly arrived immigrants from Mexico and South & Central America who attend Mission Education Center, showed us what they’d been learning in their Performing Arts Workshop class: English, Bhangra dance, and original composition.

To help these Spanish-speaking students with their English verbal skills, Teaching Artist Vanessa Sanchez challenged them to interpret the shapes of the alphabet with their bodies. Those shapes in turn inspired their original choreography.


All of us in the audience were given a rare look inside students’ creative process: how they balance structure and individual, improvisational creative expression; and how they learn the basic skills and vocabulary of dance side-by-side with language and math skills.

Judging from their nonstop ear-to-ear grins, it’s pretty clear that the essential glue holding it all together is pure joy — and pride.




We’ve been teaching at Mission Education Center for over 10 years. Our partnership is one that is near and dear to our hearts. Some of these students have never stepped foot inside a classroom or turned on a computer. They are learning a new culture and language at warp speed following, for quite a few of them, unfathomably challenging journeys to get here.

To say we are humbled by your support of Performing Arts Workshop is an understatement.

Thank you for supporting this event and making it possible to serve students at Mission Education Center and thousands more students in San Francisco and Berkeley.



Performing Arts Workshop family (left to right): Executive Director Emily Garvie, Board President Sagar Gupta, former Executive Director Jessica Mele, and former Board President Cyrus Wadia.

We want to thank the village of folks who helped make this event possible. [unfurling my Oscar thank you speech…]

Thank you to our sponsors! (Click here for the full list of sponsors.) Your excitement and enthusiasm for the event was unrivaled. Seriously, you’re the best.

Thank you to our talented, driven, and tireless event committee led by Event Chair Aliza Arenson! You all belong in the event planning hall of fame.


Thank you to the many luminaries, artists, change-makers, and friends who helped light up the night.

We have so much gratitude for all the folks who helped make this event pop! This wouldn’t have been possible without all of the wonderful volunteers and friends who helped make the decorations, set up the chairs and tables, stuffed envelopes, and everything else in between. We are also indebted to everyone who supported the silent auction!


Board Member and Silent Auction Chair Gabby Guinea (back, right) with our friends from Hopwater Distribution!


Celebrating 50 years in style. Thank you, Matt Evans, for this beauty! (Check out his Etsy page at Evans Woodshop Design.)

SOMArts venue1

Thank you to SOMArts Cultural Center for providing the perfect venue!

Thank you to Carla Sarvis, Gloria’s daughter, for being a part of the celebration. As many of you know, on June 22, 2015, just months before the celebration, Workshop Founder Gloria Unti passed away at the age of 92.

Carla and Tom

Carla Sarvis and Tom DeCaigny

Gloria’s conviction that creativity is a dynamic vehicle for learning has transformed the lives of generations of San Francisco Bay Area youth. We thank her for her tireless dedication to bringing art-making, creativity, and self-expression to young people, particularly the children who need our help the most.

Thank you, Gloria, for everything.  


“Performing Arts Workshop began with the principle that all people have a voice that ought to be heard and that everyone has a right to creative expression, for that is essential to human dignity.”

-Gloria Unti, 1924-2015




Gold Sponsors

  • Nina Kwan
  • Anne and Paul Wattis
  • Paula Williams

Silver Sponsor

  • Wendy vanden Heuvel

Bronze Sponsors

  • AccountingSuite
  • Diane Downing
  • Matthew Clark Davison and Ansumana Hull
  • Karen Harris and Will Cavin
  • Thomas Hensley
  • Rob and Cheryl Lind
  • Ms. RoseMarie Maliekel
  • Annie McGeady and Mike Fratesi
  • Jessica Mele and Doug Wentworth
  • Mark Miller
  • Michael Mullen
  • Olive Grove Consulting
  • Adrienne Leight Rogers
  • Cyrus Wadia
  • Merti Walker

Event Committee

  • Aliza Arenson, Chair
  • Emily Bozentka
  • Emma Feeney
  • Jenna Fiore
  • Janelle Gleason
  • Gabby Guinea
  • Sasha Larkin
  • Elaine Lee
  • Adam Levy
  • Laurie Loftus
  • Priscilla Lopez  
  • Christina Magana
  • Reed Mayfield
  • Jessica Mele
  • Michelle Parker
  • Rick Rochon
  • Jennifer Spoerri


Special thanks

  • Margaret Jenkins, you blew us all away and continue to do so with your groundbreaking performances.
  • Supervisor Eric Mar, thank you for backing arts education in San Francisco and for always fighting for our students’ education.
  • Thank you to Tom DeCaigny, SF Arts Commissioner and former Workshop ED, for leading the Fund-a-Need Auction and getting everyone out of their seats.
  • Thank you to Workshop teaching artists Chinchin Hsu and Natasha Huey for your beautiful, soul-stirring piece.
  • Thank you to Peter Rothblatt for being an amazing champion for the Workshop.
  • Thank you to Jessica Mele for stepping into the action at the last minute and gracing us all with your presence.
  • Thank you to the Garth Applegate Jazz Trio for your beautiful music.
  • Nadya Bratt, thank you for sharing your story with us.  
  • Matthew Evans, thank you for handcrafting the gorgeous marquee.
  • Andrew Ho, thank you for capturing the event with your camera.
  • Photo-matica, thanks for bringing the photobooth fun. (What’s a party without a photobooth?)
  • Many, many thanks to Lisa Wong Jackson of Good On Paper Design for creating a memorable logo and beautiful cards.
  • Old Skool Cafe
  • North Coast Brewing
  • Eel River Brewing
  • Bock Wine and Spirits
  • Smith-Anderson Wine Group


Silent Auction Supporters

Airbnb | American Conservatory Theater | Adventure Cat Sailing Charters | Bi-Rite | Children’s Creativity Museum | Dogpatch Boulders | Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | Hopwater Distribution | HiDive | I Luv My Body Fitness | Incredible Adventures Tours | Marcella’s Lasagneria | The Masonic | Mollie Stone’s Markets | Numi Tea | Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary | Outdoor Adventure Club | Philz Coffee | Piccino | Pier 39 | Presidio Golf Course | San Francisco Ballet | San Francisco Opera | See Jane Run | Sons and Daughters | Sports Basement | Trader Joe’s SoMa | Zazen


Thank you to Beta Alpha Psi, Glenda Bates, Nancy Chen, Anne Trickey, Sheila Pressley, Maya Sussman, Julie Truong, Joan Rose Tiongquico, Rahman Jamaal, Sale Ramos, and many, many more people!



A Love Letter to the Workshop

Dear Performing Arts Workshop,

I’m been meaning to tell you this for some time now, but let me just come right out and say it.

I love you.

You introduced me to the San Francisco Bay Area, made me cry with joy on a regular basis, and produced a pride in my own self-development that no one else could give me.

From when I first walked into your tiny two-room cell space in Fort Mason eight years ago as a fresh faced intern, to leaving your high ceiling industrial loft in Dogpatch as a fully fledged manager – you have been a constant in my life. You changed who I was and put me on course for who I am becoming.

Dear friend, are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Let me illustrate some of the myriad ways that you stole my heart.

Your People:

You are staffed by amazing do-gooders; people who care about and make your mission happen in real and tangible ways. Administrative staff, teaching artists, board members, and executive leadership: all are astounding individuals who have taught me so much and continue to surprise. These loving and funny people who know how to throw a party as well as the thrill of a student taking a risk in the classroom for the first time have wheedled you into my heart and I can’t let go.

Your Organization:

You’ve been a leader in arts education since 1965. For almost half a century you’ve changed people’s lives including my own. You took me through two and a half strategic plans and each new version of you has been stronger and increasingly focused. That freshness and forward thinking is, dare I say it, sexy.

Your Mission:

I believe in you. I believe in helping young people develop critical thinking, creative expression and essential learning skills through the arts. Is there a better way to learn how to be human? Is there a better way to discover the power we have to create and influence the world around us? I don’t think so.

Need I say more?

I know our time together is drawing to a close, just as all relationships do. Please know that you’ve made me a better person, as I hope I’ve helped you grow successfully.

I wish you only the best, dear Workshop, as I know you wish for me.

Love always,

Anne Trickey

Obmamacare Explained: A Guide for Californians

The Workshop is one of the leading Teaching Artist Hiring Organizations examining health benefits for teaching artists, both internally with our own artists and as a member of Teaching Artists Guild. This project will rely heavily on what is to come as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a quick tutorial from our friends at KQED on the upcoming changes that will affect all Californians:


Save the date for our student showcase!

Big news: We’re excited to announce the date of our end-of-the-year student showcase!

DATE | Thursday, May 16, 2013

LOCATION | The Theater at the Children’s Creativity Museum in Downtown San Francisco (4th and Howard)

TIME | Doors will open at 6 P.M. (Refreshments will be provided.)

More details to come. Stay tuned!

Streets of San Francisco – Bernal Heights

The Workshop’s offices look west to the “Lion King” vista of Bernal Heights, one of many “micro” neighborhoods of San Francisco.

Bernal Heights Park

The “Lion King” Vista of Bernal Heights

Only developed after the 1906 earthquake, Bernal has been and remains home to a wide collection of people. Traditionally, the Workshop has served a number of preschools in the area. We also have a long history with Paul Revere College Preparatory School, where we serve preschool aged kids through 8th graders both during and after school.

Paul Revere College Preparatory School

Nestled between La Lengua and the Alemany Flea and Farmers Market (the latter of which has been operating since 1947!), Bernal enjoys a “banana belt” climate of more sunshine and less fog then much of the rest of the city.

Alemany Farmers Market

The Alemany Farmers Market 1953

Bernal is home to a number of parks including, Precita Park near Cesar Chavez, Holly Park on the southwest side and Bernal Heights Park which hosts the locally coined “Sutrito” tower.

If you enjoy sunshine, close knit communities and sweeping views of San Francisco, we recommend checking out the Bernalwood blog for more local flavor. You can also read the Wikipedia article about Bernal Heights here.