Fall 2016 Cultural Incubator Demo Day

Members of our Fall 2016 Incubator cohort will share their projects in development with you and we invite you to contribute your feedback!

6:30pm - 8:30pm
Registration is free and there will be a cash bar for those 21+.

Cultural Incubator projects explore the intersection of art, technology and social critique. Projects include but are not limited to a participatory storytelling app, a documentary about socioeconomic disparities in the Tenderloin, and a work that merges programming language with traditional fine art.

Our Cultural Incubator Program is an opportunity to develop a project within a supportive community of peers. We will be accepting applications for the next round in February 2017.


Allison Leigh Holt

Allison Leigh Holt is a cross-disciplinary artist living and working in Oakland, CA. Using hybrids of sculpture, video, installation, and performance she pursues a dialogue between divergent ways of experiencing, comprehending, and describing reality. Holt has received numerous awards from institutions including the U.S. Department of State (Fulbright Fellowship, Indonesia), Djerassi Artist Residency Program, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the David Bermant Foundation, Cemeti Art House (Indonesia), the Experimental Television Center, Kala Art Institute, and the North Dakota Museum of Art. Currently, she is a finalist for a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Her work has exhibited internationally, notably at SFMOMA, Stanford University, Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Cemeti Art House (Indonesia), Axiom Gallery for New and Experimental Media (Boston), San Francisco Cinematheque, the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Urban Screens Conference (Melbourne), and the Yogyakarta International New Media Festival. She has presented at cellsBUTTON(s) and Video Vortex conferences in Indonesia, the Cultural Studies Association Conference, the 20th Annual Science of Consciousness Conference, and Imagining the Universe: Cosmology in Art and Science at Stanford Arts Institute. At the 47th UND Writers Conference in 2016, she will be in conversation with theoretical physicist Brian Greene and science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. Holt is Vice President of San Francisco Cinematheque’s Board of Directors, and mentors/teaches experimental media to individuals on the autism spectrum. She studied at The Evergreen State College (BA) and Massachusetts College of Art (MFA).

Claudia Miranda

Claudia is an artist and freelance designer who's work explores the intersection of technology + nature, digital storytelling, and avatar embodiment. Her work endeavors to provoke self-reflection, play and a reverence for nature.

 She is currently working on designing VR experiences that can live alongside holographic sculptures which manifest the digital in the physical world. Claudia has previously worked as user experience designer, VJ, 3D animator, illustrator, videographer and multimedia content creator.

Heart of the City

We're a growing team of creative individuals fascinated by San Francisco's civic ecology in an increasingly polarized sociopolitical climate.  Heart of the City works to address the need to share insight and perspective from people throughout the socioeconomic spectrum on an accessible social media platform.  The renowned urban scholar Jane Jacobs said,  “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”.

Having documented public issues concerning crime, drugs, income inequality, arts, city government, homelessness, and race for over three years in San Francisco's Tenderloin and Mid-Market districts, we're beginning to draw parallels of value to disenfranchised social groups and communities at large.   We're creating relationships between non-profits, city government, private sector business, artists, small businesses, and citizens by providing reportage and user feedback on a variety of topics relative to current events and the needs of the community.  Heart of the City is a collective of laborers of love working to hone our individual skills while joining in the reciprocity of the community experience.

Heart of the City


Heart of the City is a social news platform developing alongside a documentary film investigating the socioeconomic divide in San Francisco through the lens of the Tenderloin neighborhood and its adjacent districts. The project seeks to re-imagine the fourth wall and stimulate social media discussions to integrate with the narrative of the film and other supplemental content.

Katharine VanderDrift

Katharine is a San Francisco Artist and Software Engineer with a degree in Theater from UCSD (emphasis set design). Over the past 10 years, she has worked at several startups (CloudCrowd, KahootzMedical, Healthiest), created several successful web apps, and created complex software systems in Ruby and Javascript.

Code Art Project

How do humans experience things? How do machines experience things? Code Art puts these two experience side by side to open up the world of computing and highlight its humor and poetry.


Joseph Lukasik

Joseph moved to San Francisco for work as a software engineer in 2016 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Math. His work entails understanding how large complex systems function and fail.

The inputs to Joseph's life have led him to build mental models of the world that stress edges over nodes, context over content, nurture over nature. He sometimes explores these thoughts and others thru typing text in human or programming languages. Other times he wanders and watches in amazement at the information revolution happening everywhere around him.


An interactive art piece for exploring a few arbitary ports that pass across the me/mbrane between the digital and physical worlds, and a way of reme/mbering rapidly obsoleting physical media devices in an increasingly wireless age.


Niki Selken

Niki Selken 👩🏻‍💻is an artist, technologist and educator. Her work focuses around  storytelling, games and interaction design. She is the Creative Development Lead at in the Gray Area where she manages the artist incubator and creative code education programs. She founded the Emoji Foundation, created the Emoji Dictionary, and VR game EmojiFlower VR. Niki attributes her intuitive understanding of the translation and meaning of Emoji to her extensive Japanese stationery collection and study of Japanese Butoh and Noh theater. In 2014 she won New York NASA Space Apps  and placed as a global finalist for wearable tech project, Senti8. Her game, Find Maria Rivera was exhibited and selected as an Award Finalist at Indiecade 2015. In 2016 she was selected as a Kill Screen game design scholar andParsons E-Lab fellow for her Augmented Reality platform, Wayscape. Niki’s design and Emoji work has been featured by Yahoo TechAdafruitBuzzfeed and Make Magazine among others.