Giving Tuesday is next week on Dec. 1, and in a normal year that would mean every performing arts group in the Bay Area — not to mention most other nonprofits — would be jockeying for philanthropic dollars with individual pleas. But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing performance venues to close everywhere, City Lights Theater Company’s Lisa Mallette thought it was counterproductive to compete against each other at this moment and had a better idea.

As a result, a diverse collection of 18 art groups stretching from San Jose to Redwood City are collaborating on a single campaign, with all donations large and small divided among them equally. The reason for the team-up is simple, Mallette said: The actors, directors, choreographers and technicians who bring a show to life usually work for several different theater companies during a season. They need as many of them as possible to make it through to the other side of the pandemic to keep working.

The groups taking part are mostly smaller ones, and some were approached but opted out because of giving campaigns already had in the works. The participants are Audacity Performing Arts Project, City Lights Theater Company, College of Adaptive Arts, Dragon Theatre, EnActe Arts, Los Altos Stage Company, New Ballet, Palo Alto Players, Playful People Productions, Red Ladder Theatre Company, San Jose Jazz, Silicon Valley Shakespeare, sjDANCEco, South Bay Musical Theatre, Starting Arts, Tabia African American Theatre Ensemble/San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild, Teatro Visión, and Opera Cultura.

Collectively, those organizations reach about 215,000 audience members a year and employ 167 staff members and 1,774 artists. While many have turned to streaming shows or other online offerings, no one is pretending that’s anywhere close to the same experience — or a sustainable business model.

The campaign’s goal is to raise $100,000 — which divvies up to about $5,500 per group — and the first $10,000 raised will be matched by the Law-Sun Community Fund. Mallette says she hopes more Bay Area foundations or corporations will provide matching funds, too, so individual dollars go even farther. You can check out the campaign and donate at

CAMINO’S BREWING A BIGGER OPERATION: If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of a brewery, Camino Brewing Co. in San Jose would love to hear from you. The craft brewer, which has a tap room on South First Street, is looking to expand its canning operations and distribution.

Camino has a great origin story, starting with the famous Camino de Santiago — and arduous 1,900 mile European journey taken by founders Allen Korenstein and Nathan Poulos when they were in law school. Camino’s tap room on South First Street was a hit from the start, and soon their beers started showing up at Whole Foods, Nob Hill and other retailers.

This summer, Camino opened a beer garden between the taproom and adjacent Faber’s Cyclery — it’s where the vintage Hotel Metropole sign hangs — to allow people to enjoy a beer while outdoors and socially distanced. Kimberly Pollock, formerly a brewer at San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing, was brought on as Camino’s new head of production as Camino aims to expand its canning and distribution to make several popular brands like its Camino Con Leche stout, North East by West IPA, the citrus-infused Pale Rider and the Agua Fresca goose ale more available.

To do that it’s taking on new investment and has already procured $80,000 from 70 investors, with about a week left in the offering. You can read their business plan at

MILESTONE PROGRAM: Silicon Valley-Technology, Art, Green & Sustainability — better known as SVTAGS — aired its 200th show this month, which was shown Nov. 9 on Comcast Ch. 30 in San Jose and online at CreaTV’s “Outlet” channel.

Creator Heather Durham said her idea “was to build an educational website with legs — the legs to have video/film, educational events/meetings, hands-on DIY events and projects to help others. And maybe a coffee table book or two.”

She hasn’t had any time to think about a book, though, as she continues to produce the show which explores tech, art and sustainability issues around Silicon Valley and beyond. She originally hoped to have a fundraising party to celebrate the 200th show and promote SVTAGS’ nonprofit educational programs, but the pandemic nixed that idea. However, the 201st show, airing Dec. 13, will feature Jennifer Katzman of sip-and-paint site and artist Kayla Rose Garcia. Go to for more information.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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