Rather than building a festival  that is the sole responsibility of a single producer, SFIAF is dedicated to working with an array of arts organizations to develop a modular paradigm that utilizes the shared resources of multiple presenters to reach mutually  beneficial goals.  SFIAF’s core values are based on principals of cultural and economic equity. Therefore, in addition to working with larger institutions, SFIAF places a high priority on the participation of culturally diverse and smaller arts organizations that represent the City’s broad demographics.  ...

Activating and supporting relationships between large and small organizations and individual artists is also a key component of SFIAF. The organization advocates strategic coordination between Bay Area artists, arts organizations and their international peers to stage a single phenomenon  that simultaneously provides opportunities and benefits for the local  arts community, while promoting the City as an essential and vibrant international center of art-making and exchange.

SFIAF’s first prototype took place in Sept. 2003 and the organization incorporated in 2004. Since its founding through the 2010 Festival (the seventh) SFIAF, in collaboration with over 80 presenting partners, has successfully commissioned, presented and/or coordinated over 120 performing arts ensembles representing 42 countries from four continents, as well as numerous visual arts exhibitions, films and residency activities.

In addition to the strategic and artistic challenges of creating an  outstanding program, the organization has also become adept at managing a project that is of quite a large magnitude, which is a complex operational undertaking. SFIAF has gained invaluable tactical expertise in the last eight years including: implementing a timeline and process for the  ongoing inclusion of multiple artists, ensembles and presenting partners to successfully secure funds to participate in the Festival; developing productive relationships with  many foreign government representatives and  organizations; coordinating a significant number  of performances and events at multiple venues within a concentrated schedule; managing communications and logistics for large numbers of artists with unique language, travel and support requirements; handling the complex visa processing for artists without  US representation; and the recruiting, training, supervision and deployment of a large volunteer force.