The Arts Cultivate Diversity

Leeds Bird doesn’t have much patience for people who say there’s nothing to do in the Bay Area.

“If you are an observer and want to participate in the arts, you should just come on down and do it! You can start out limited and find your place to develop,” he exclaims.

He and wife, Margaret, are well-known, longtime volunteers with an assortment of local arts organizations including the Bay City Players, Studio 23, the Bay Arts Council. They know first-hand of the many opportunities available here at home to get involved with cultural pursuits.

The Birds are grateful to the Bay Area Community Foundation, not only for the grant support these vital organizations receive, but also because BACF oversees endowed designated funds for so many of them. These funds provide a lasting legacy to help sustain nonprofits in perpetuity.

“It is marvelous to have the community foundation supporting the arts,” Leeds said. “It allows local groups to step outside the comfort zones and try some things we wouldn’t be able to unless we knew someone had our back.”

The couple lists a range of ways to get involved with these organizations—from selling tickets and running lights to helping with publicity and cleaning the building—all kinds of help is needed, and all roles are important.

“The arts offer a diversity that so many other things do not,” Margaret explains. “Theatre and art are welcoming; they offer little judgment and great acceptance.”

As they sat surveying the lobby at the Bay City Players, Leeds reflected, “We credit what we have been able to do here to the generosity of our community. With the Bay Area Community Foundation, there is that knowledge that no matter what you contribute, your money will be put to good use.”


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