2019 San Francisco Arts Medallion Honoring Michael Tilson Thomas on May 14, 2019 at Saint Joseph's Arts Society

The Board of the Museum of Performance + Design takes great pleasure in announcing that Michael Tilson Thomas will be presented with the 2019 San Francisco Arts Medallion for his outstanding leadership in the arts on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 5:30pm - 8:00pm, at Saint Joseph's Arts Society in San Francisco. The San Francisco Arts Medallion was created in 2005 by the Museum of Performance + Design (MP+D) to recognize those individuals whose leadership, action, and generosity have benefited the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area. Proceeds from the event benefit the preservation and educational programs at MP+D.

Click HERE to become a 2019 Arts Medallion Sponsor or to purchase tickets.


Under MTT's trailblazing leadership, the San Francisco Symphony has cemented its place as one of our country's premier orchestras. Together, MTT and the Symphony have won a dozen Grammy Awards, created the landmark Keeping Score PBS television series and multimedia project, and launched the critically acclaimed SoundBox experimental concert space within Davies Symphony Hall. Committed to young people and music education, in 1987 MTT founded the New World Symphony, a national training orchestra for the most gifted US conservatory graduates. His many honors include the National Medal of Arts and the President's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

"Michael's power and passion for music has been a tremendous gift to the city," said MP+D Board President and Event Co-Chair Pattie Lawton. "We are honored and thrilled to present Michael with the 2019 San Francisco Arts Medallion. We are also grateful to welcome The Honorable Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi as our Honorary Co-Chairs for this year's event."

"It's my great privilege to pay tribute and honor this extraordinarily talented friend," added Event Co-Chair Ken Fulk, who founded Saint Joseph's Arts Society as a haven and a source of inspiration that provides high-touch experiences and multi-disciplinary arts programming designed to bring art and beauty back into the forefront of people's lives.


Tuesday May 14, 2019

5:30 Cocktail Reception

6:15 Performances

6:30 Presentation

Saint Joseph’s Arts Society

1401 Howard St. San Francisco


(As of May 13, 2019)

Underwriters: Nancy Hellman Bechtle, William Eddelman, Marcia and John Goldman*, Gretchen B. Kimball, Nellie Levchin, Lisa S. Pritzker, San Francisco Symphony*, Diane B. Wilsey*

Benefactors: Ann Moller Caen, Elyse Eng*, Sheri Greenawald, Herb Kennedy, Pattie Lawton*, Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston, Mauze Family Charitable Fund, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, Phyllis Moldaw, Orville Schell, Maureen Sullivan, Bruce and Fran Walker*, Lucie and Jerry Weissman

Patrons: Andrew & Linda Rosenberg Ach, Renata Anderson, Alvin Baum, Robin Brasso, Jan & Jim Buckley, R. David Gockley, Robert Holgate, Arlene Inch, Vicki and Scott Kahn, Nancy Keeton, Mark Leno, Betsy Linder, Bernice Lindstrom, Joyce Linker, Monica Mazzei, Elaine Mellis, Jan Newman, Mark Oliver*, George Rathman, Clara Shayevich, Maureen O’Brien Sullivan, Roselyne Chroman Swig*, Stephanie Tanaka & Jay Plano*, Paul Wiseman

*Package sponsors

Click on invitation to purchase tickets

sold out - The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat by Alejandro Murguía, May 2, 2019 - call 415-741-3531 to be added to waiting list

In an effort to preserve and recount that missing Latin beat of San Francisco, Poet Laureate Emeritus Alejandro Murguía in collaboration with the Museum of Performance + Design is presenting The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat starring Caleb Cabrera and Claudia Deveze.

WHATThe Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat. A new one-act play written by San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus Alejandro Murguía based on the Latino history of North Beach and the life of dancer Maclovia Ruiz. The play takes the audience on a tour through the Latino community and nightclub scene of San Francisco's North Beach district during the 1940s-1950s as it was lived by Mexican-born, North Beach-raised dancer, Maclovia Ruiz. The play was originally created as part of the Museum of Performance + Design's Archive Live series and was inspired by the personal papers of Maclovia Ruiz and her Legacy Oral History Project archived at MP+D.

WHEN: Thursday May 2, 2019, 8pm, with questions and discussion to follow.

WHERE: Brava Cabaret 2773 24th Street in the heart of the Mission District's Latino Cultural Corridor.

ADMISSION: Free. Seating is limited. Call for reservations 415-741-3531 or click HERE

WHY: North Beach is in some ways the beginning of modern San Francisco, but its roots based in the Mexican and Latino community have mostly been ignored. During the 1940's-50s, North Beach was the center of a series of Latino nightclubs and cabarets that gave it the name of The Latin Quarter, at that time the bohemian heart of the City. The brightest star of the Latin Quarter was the Mexican born, North Beach-raised, interpretive dancer Maclovia Ruiz, who started out on the local vaudeville stage and would go on to achieve international acclaim. Eventually, the North Beach neighborhood would change in the mid-1950s with the advent of a new group of bohemians who called themselves Beats. 

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

Click HERE to view MP+D’s Award Announcement.

Click HERE to view the press release from California Humanities.

Poster designed by Robin MacLean

Poster designed by Robin MacLean

New Exhibition: San Francisco Ballet and Fairy Tales

From its early years to the present day, fairy tale-inspired ballets continue to be a mainstay of San Francisco Ballet's repertory. In conjunction with San Francisco Ballet's productions of Helgi Tomasson’s Sleeping Beauty and John Neumeier's The Little Mermaid, the Museum of Performance + Design celebrates SFB’s past fairy tale ballets with a boutique exhibition featuring original costume designs, programs, video, and other original items from Willam Christensen's Hansel and Gretel, the first fairy tale ballet performed by SFB; Lew Christensen's Beauty and the Beast, which premiered as part of the SFB's Silver Anniversary season; and Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin's Cinderella, the last story ballet Lew choreographed.

The exhibition opens March 12 and is open free to the public Tuesdays-Fridays from 1pm-6pm and the first Saturday of each month from 1pm-5pm through June 1, 2019.

Corresponding displays curated by San Francisco Ballet will be on display on the third floor of the War Memorial Opera House for Tomasson's Sleeping Beauty (March 9-March 17) and for Neumeier's The Little Mermaid (April 19-April 28). Also on display in the lower level of the Opera House is MP+D’s and San Francisco Opera’s co-curated exhibition of original costume designs from various San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Opera productions. Performance ticket required. Please call San Francisco Ballet Ticketing Office at 415-865-2000 or click here for ticket options. 

MP+D is the official archive of San Francisco Ballet.

Image on homepage: Beauty and the Beast cover art, © San Francisco Ballet

MP+D Receives NEA/Art Works Grant for More Life: Preserving San Francisco Bay Area Theater Recordings

The Museum of Performance + Design received support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant program to support the digitization of some of its most at-risk live theater video recordings, documenting performances and workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1976 to 2001. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. The project, called More Life: Preserving San Francisco Bay Area Theater Recordings, will allow MP+D to digitize 200 video tapes for long-term preservation as well as facilitate the cataloging of 175 recently acquired recordings for public access. Among the significant works to be preserved are the world premiere of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America at the Eureka Theatre; the 1977 production of Athol Fugard's Sizwe Banzi is Dead, starring a young Danny Glover; and several performances from various San Francisco Bay Area theatre companies such as the American Conservatory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and others. Information about these productions will be discoverable by the general public, students, and artists through the catalog entries available on MP+D's public online catalog and WorldCat, the global online database of library holdings. Newly digitized works will be accessible for viewing via on-site workstations in MP+D's Reading Room.

Program cover for the world premiere of Tony Kushner's  Angels in America  at the Eureka Theatre.

Program cover for the world premiere of Tony Kushner's Angels in America at the Eureka Theatre.

Program cover for Sam Beckett's  Waiting for Godot  at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Program cover for Sam Beckett's Waiting for Godot at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.


On Wednesday July 18, 2018, 6:00pm-7:30pm, the Museum of Performance + Design will commemorate 50 years of San Francisco dance history with a FREE outreach party celebrating the launch of our new site, Captured Live: Fifty Years of Bay Area Dance Photography. The event will include a presentation of the website and remarks from some of the dancers and artists featured in the project. Light refreshments will be provided.

Captured Live was a year-long NEA-supported preservation / access project in which 2,500 images of local dancers, companies, and performances from the collections of photographers Katherine Kahrs, Chester Kessler, Henrietta McDowell, and Bob McLeod were digitized, cataloged, and uploaded online for public research, education, and enjoyment. Highlights include photos of rehearsals and performances featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ruth Beckford, Lew Christensen, Eiko + Koma, Margot Fonteyn, Anna Halprin, Welland Lathrop, John McFall, Rudolf Nureyev, Michael Smuin, Maria Tallchief, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Dance Spectrum, and stars of the San Francisco Ballet. The Henrietta McDowell, Chester Kessler, Bob McLeod, and Katherine Kahrs photographic collections are part of The Elyse Eng Dance Collection at the Museum of Performance + Design.

Click here for more information about the Launch Party.

For more information about NEA grant project, click here.


Henrietta (Henri) Deming McDowell was the official photographer for the San Francisco Ballet, documenting nearly every ballet performed in that period of time. Promotional materials and souvenir programs often featured her photographs. Her photography and articles about ballet and Lew Christensen appeared in numerous publications. The collection at MP+D includes negatives, mini positives, slides, loose and bound black and white and color prints of varying sizes, and personal papers consisting of news clippings, manuscripts, publications, correspondence, and awards. Noted dancers and choreographers featured in the collection include Lew Christensen, Michael Smuin, Carlos Carvajal, Robert Gladstein, Sally Bailey, Anita Paciotti, Tomm Ruud, Betsy Erickson, Val Caniparoli, and Jocelyn Vollmar. For more information and to access the finding aid, click here.


Chester Kessler was a student of Minor White’s photography program at the California School of Fine Arts. During the late 1950s and the early 1960s, he photographed and documented performances of postmodern dancer Anna Halprin and San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop. His collection at MP+D contains approximately 1,500 photographs, negatives and transparencies of important dancers and dance companies in works choreographed by notables such as George Balanchine, Ruth Beckford, Carlos Carvajal, Lew Christensen, Anna Halprin, and Welland Lathrop. For more information and to access the finding aid, click here.

Robert J. (Bob) McLeod was a San Francisco-based photographer. He worked for years at the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. McLeod was married to photographer Beth Witrogen, whose photographic work is also included in this collection. The collection at MP+D includes photographic prints, negatives, slides, programs, and press clippings from the Examiner and Chronicle featuring his work. Notable dancers and choreographers reflected in his collection include Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ethan Stiefel, and Desmond Richardson, as well as several prominent dancers and choreographers who worked with companies such as San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. For more information and to access the finding aid, click here.

Katherine Kahrs is a teacher, painter, and photographer. During the 1980s, Kahrs served as an official photographer for the Pacific Dance Center and the Palo Alto Dance Center, thus compiling an important visual record of their contributions to dance education. She also photographed performances by such groups as the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Eiko + Koma, Margaret Wingrove Dancers, the Sugano School of Ballet, the New Dance Co., Dancers' Repertory Theatre, the Golden Gate Ballet, Footwork, the San Francisco Jazz Dance Co., and the San Francisco Moving Co. Many individuals affiliated with these dance groups are also featured in the collection. The collection includes slides, negatives, photographic prints as well as programs and related promotional materials featuring Kahr's photography. For more information and to access the finding aid, click here.

ARCHIVE LIVE 2018 | The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat - June 28, 2018

The first public workshop performance of The Latin Quarter: Maclovia Ruiz and the Missing Beat by Alejandro Murguía will take place on Thursday, June 28 at the new Brava Cabaret in San Francisco. Developed in collaboration with MP+D as part of its Archive Live series, this year's performance / installation is inspired by the career of dancer Maclovia Ruiz (1910-2005) and San Francisco's Latin Quarter.  

At one time pre-1950s the Latino community was based in North Beach and because of the numerous nightclubs in the area featuring top name Latino performers and Latin American bands, the neighborhood was known as The Latin Quarter, a center of bohemian art and culture. It was this bohemian ambience that would attract a new generation that would later be known as The Beats.

Out of that artistic milieu of the then barrio of North Beach would emerge Maclovia Ruiz, an exceptional dancer of Mexican origin who would eventually reach national and international acclaim and perform with such dance luminaries as Adolph Bolm of the Ballets Russes and San Francisco Opera Ballet, George Balanchine, and the great Spanish flamenco maestro Antonio Ruiz Solar. 

The performance / installation -- reminiscent of the 1950s -- will feature the career of Maclovia Ruiz with original material from MP+D's collection, as well as a narration by Murguía, recounting the history of Ruiz, the Latin Quarter and the missing beat of San Francisco.

For additional performance information, please CLICK HERE

Admission: Free. (Suggested donation $5+)

Seating is limited. To make a reservation, please call 415-741-3531.

ARCHIVE LIVE 2018 is funded by grants from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and Grants for the Arts.