Artist-Investigator Program

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  • 2014 Artist-
    Investigator Round
  • 2013 Artist-
    Investigator Round
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We’re excited to announce the launch of the 2014 Artist-Investigator project!
Click here to read about the new Artist-Investigators and their community partners.

The Artist-Investigator Project asks artists to lead our investigation into what the performances of the future might look like, and help us discover what happens when the arts are more deeply integrated into community life.

We are delighted to announce this year’s four Artist-Investigators:

Paul Flores working with Causa Justa::Just Cause
Elizabeth Gjelten working DISH (Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing)
Krista De Nio working with Berkeley Food and Housing
Dr. Ayodele Nzinga working with Green Life Project/Pathways to Resilience

The 2014 Artist-Investigator program creates partnerships between artists and non-profit organizations to investigate how the skills of theater artists can help address community issues.

We will be partnering with four community-based organizations that employ direct-service or advocacy to advance a cause or improve the lives of their constituents. These organizations—leaders in their fields—are working on pressing issues in our community. They bring to the table broad connections with stakeholders in their issue area and proven experience in developing strategies that deliver services or change public perceptions.

How can theater artists help advance the work of these organizations?

Our Hypothesis: Theater artists have key skills that can be deployed outside the rehearsal room to help community organizations to advance their missions.

Our Experiment Model: Four artists with experience in performance and community engagement will be selected via an open call, by a screening committee that includes our four partner organizations. Each artist will work with one organization to develop a project together. These small-budget projects will be conducted over the course of one year, and documented carefully so they can serve as models for future collaborations between our sectors. Projects will be driven by the needs of the partner organization and will identify what theatrical skills, techniques, and processes will be most useful to that organization. Projects may or may not include public or invited performances.

2013 Round

In 2013 the Artist-Investigator project sought to support artists from a variety of disciplines—theater, dance, performance and visual art, multidisciplinary artists, and those exploring social practice—who were curious about what the performances of the future may look like. The ten selected projects presented a wide range of topics explored in various mediums, from a QR-code based, choose-your-own adventure play, to multiple responses to the ongoing problem of violence in Bay Area cities, to a crowd-sourced video of hundreds of people performing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Each Artist-Investigator received a $3,000 stipend, plus $1,000 for project expenses.

You can read about the 2013 experiments here.

Read a summary of 2013 Artist-Investigator projects here.


The Green Life is a peer education self-sufficiency and eco-literacy program that teaches incarcerated individuals and those reentering community the importance of a healthy relationship with the Earth.
Past and potentially future activities include teaching permaculture principles, life skills, and emotional readiness to inmates inside San Quentin prison.
Current activities include working with Pathways 2 Resilience re-entry (post release) project to design a permaculture-based training program along with partners for job readiness and restorative healing.

Causa Justa::Just Cause builds grassroots power and leadership to create strong, equitable communities. Born from a visionary merger between a Black organization and a Latino immigrant organization, we build bridges of solidarity between working class communities of color. Through rights-based services, policy campaigns, civic engagement, and direct action, we improve conditions in our neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area, and contribute to building the larger multi-racial, multi-generational movement needed for fundamental change.

To ease and end the crisis of homelessness in our community, Berkeley Food and Housing Project provides emergency food and shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing, and housing placement with support services to homeless individuals and families.

DISH (Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing) believes that everyone deserves a home. Every day, we provide high-quality, permanent housing to San Franciscans who suffer from serious health issues—because with our help, they can get off the streets, rebuild their lives, and strengthen our communities.


The Andrew Mellon Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation continue to fund all the programs of the Triangle Lab. Additional funding for the 2013 round of Artist-Investigator was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and by the MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It.


Coming soon.