In May of 2016, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened to the public after a two-year transformation by award winning design firm Snøhetta. The new space intentionally embodies an outward-looking architectural design that weaves the museum into the city like never before.
No stranger to integrating programs into the Bay Area’s social fabric, the museum’s Education and Public Practice (EPP) department seized the opportunity to reflect on its evolving role and relationships with the diverse communities that call the Bay Area home. In May, EPP staff and I launched an evaluation of three partnership-centered programs, including their collaborations with area public high schools, civic institutions, artists, and local cultural organizations. Complementary research is being conducted on ways collaborative actions are designed in adjacent fields including ecology, social justice and community organizing, equitable and inclusive planning, and arts-based models of working in ensemble.
The purpose of this investigation is to draw out a combination of practical and conceptual insights about the purpose and value of collaborative programming models. This work includes an assessment of the conditions that enable effective partnerships, ways this approach strengthens bonds between peer organizations, and generates value for groups who do not always engage with the museum. Insights will be used to develop a new evaluation framework, support institutional learning, and enhance EPP program and partnership design processes in the future.
Images Courtesy of Snøhetta