The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics
Founded in 2008, the Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics’ objective has been to create a spiritual progressive space that links art, music, theater, film, poetry, education and community action with the creation of a more loving and socially connected world.
All of our events reflect our spiritual-political vision, and our aim is to create a unique, receptive, heartfelt, authentic Presence that is capable of radiating an influence reflective of our common vision in Sonoma County, and across Northern California, and the wider world through the internet and word-of-mouth.
The AFC: An Innovative Center for Social Change
The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics is an innovative project for many reasons. These include our philosophical approach to community building and social change, our physical presence and our cultural, educational and activist programming.
First, there is our philosophy of “Spiritual Activism” which guides our action. Spiritual Activism is the term we have given to the vision of social change — a vision that emphasizes the link between social activism and the creation of an authentic, socially and ecologically connected community. When people actually experience the sense of presence and connection, the need for a more egalitarian and sustainable society becomes self-evident. http://santarosa .towns.pressdemocrat.com/2012/12/news/peter gabels-street-corner-revolution/.
Second, to carry out our vision, we are lucky to have a remarkable building that was originally a flour mill in the 19th century and has gone through a number of incarnations since then, eventually serving as a brewery and winery in the 198o’s and early 1990’s. The Arlene Francis Foundation acquired the building in 1996 for the purpose of providing educational and cultural activities to benefit Sonoma County, and from 1997-2008 the Foundation partnered with San Francisco’s progressive New College of California to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community.
Finally, with our presence and programs, we have created a positive reputation and relationship with the local community and beyond. The Arlene has repeatedly been honored as The Best Damn Place in Santa Rosa by the local alternative paper The Bohemian, and Martin Hamilton and the Arlene Francis Center were given a Boho Award for making significant contribution to the arts in the North Bay.
The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, & Politics seeks to be a wonderful synthesis of artistic, educational, spiritual and cultural projects that will contribute significantly to the social and political life of Santa Rosa and the surrounding area. Our aim in designing the Center has been to avoid creating a smorgasbord of well-meaning progressive activities, each operating under its own unstated assumptions about how best to achieve positive change. Instead, we have sought to explicitly articulate a unifying vision that joins all our activities as a multi-faceted expression of our mission and philosophy. We are convinced that lasting social change adequate to the challenges facing humanity at this moment will only be achieved through transforming human relationships so as to overcome the fear that divides us and enables us to become present to each other in a new and affirming way.