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  • Jayme Jackson

Expanded Hybrid Program Maintains Our Momentum

The Bread & Roses Program Department has grown together as a team throughout 2022 and we look forward to expanding our service in 2023! We continue to recruit new and diverse volunteer performers, strengthen the volunteer host program and establish sustainable service with new or renewed facilities. Our goal is to continue to provide meaningful performances for more isolated Bay Area audiences in 2023.

Adam Kirk performs for a senior audience at Aldersly, San Rafael.

In 2022, Bread & Roses produced a total of 532 shows for 86,439 audience members in 53 different institutional settings. Producers developed strategies to cope with ever-changing pandemic conditions and remained vigilant about communicating with facility staff to maintain our service. Offering indoor, outdoor and virtual programs has proven to be a winning approach and allowed us to continue to serve all eight Bay Area counties and the 14 facility types on our roster. We continue to receive requests for service from new and previously served facilities so we plan to welcome a new part-time producer in March to expand the breadth of our service in 2023.

Despite pandemic-related challenges, we continue to renew relationships with our base of volunteer performers and successfully booked a total of 93 acts (223 active performers) in 2022. We also hope to refresh our performer roster by cultivating new relationships with performers and diversifying our volunteers. We are doing outreach to recruit volunteers of different ages, ethnicities and geographic locations to present culturally relevant performances to more audiences.

Sterling the Bubblesmith brings a bubble show to a youth audience at The Anova Center for Education, Santa Rosa.

A key component of our program in 2023 will be a strong volunteer host roster. We are actively recruiting new hosts and re-engaging previous hosts since the need for volunteers has increased as more facilities are able to accommodate our service. Bread & Roses offers a stipend to hosts as needed to make the opportunity more sustainable for volunteers. Another strategy the Program Department will continue to develop in 2023 is the opportunity for volunteer hosts to “adopt” a facility and commit to hosting shows on a regular basis for a particular audience.

Bringing Bread & Roses performances to larger Bay Area Food Bank distribution centers continues to be our most successful expansion program to date. In 2022, we produced a total of 222 Food Bank shows for 75,351 audience members. The opportunity to perform at a Food Bank location continues to be a draw for new and returning volunteers, with a total of 26 acts (59 performers) booked at pivotal Bay Area Food Bank sites during 2022. Volunteer performer Jeff Cleary hosts and performs at the Health Plan San Mateo/Second Harvest in San Mateo every other Saturday while the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank at Kerner in San Rafael continues to receive an active rotation of high-caliber artists every Saturday morning.

Tina Kennedy of Heartstrings Bridge performs an outdoor show for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank distribution center in San Rafael.

In 2022, the Program Department also focused on booking holiday programs and renewing annual concerts. In total, we booked 23 holiday shows at 13 facilities. We returned to the Cedars Textile Arts Collaborative for their first show since the pandemic with a holiday performance by the Whistlin’ Billies. We also returned to presenting annual holiday shows for San Francisco County Women's Jail and San Bruno Jail. Performers included Gail Muldrow (former band member of Sly & The Family Stone), Tony Saunders (chart-topping SF Bay Area smooth jazz artist), as well as Syria Berry & William Greene (SF Bay Area local treasures.) SF County Jail expressed much gratitude for Bread & Roses being back for the holidays and how crucial our services are as a resource to them.

Mimi Hills and Amy Friedricks perform a virtual Beatles sing-along concert for residents at the Cedars of Marin.

We are enthusiastic about maintaining our momentum for 2023 as we continue our expanded hybrid program of indoor, outdoor and virtual programs for a wide range of isolated audiences in the Bay Area.

By Jayme Jackson, Program Manager


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