A MESSAGE FROM THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ART & CULTURE COMPLEX:

MOHAMMED SORIANO-BILAL TO STEP DOWN AS AAACC DIRECTOR

The African American Arts & Culture Complex (AAACC) announced today that Mohammed Soriano-Bilal has resigned as executive director, after three years at the helm of the center, one of the premier Afro-centric cultural institutions in the Bay Area and a critical community resource in the historic Fillmore Jazz District.

Soriano-Bilal – a longtime hip-hop artist, writer, composer and businessman who grew up in the Western Addition – informed the AAACC board of directors of his intention to focus on other professional pursuits.

“Mohammed took over the center during a very tumultuous period in the center’s history, and helped us steady the ship,” said AAACC Board President, the Rev. Arnold Townsend. “We’re grateful, and we wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”

In particular, the Board of Directors credited Soriano-Bilal for helping resolve longstanding financial management problems, which threatened AAACC’s good standing with the City & County of San Francisco, its largest funder. (AAACC is a “hybrid” public institution of sorts; the center is one of the city’s four neighborhood cultural centers and operates in a city-owned building, but it is run by a community-based 501c3 nonprofit.)

The Board also acknowledged Soriano-Bilal for bringing new resident arts organizations to AAACC, particularly high-quality performing arts groups like the Lorraine Hansberry Theater and PUSH Dance, to compliment the center’s impressive roster of established resident artists. Due to the establishment of Soriano-Bilal’s Resident Art INC program, AAACC now houses more Black art companies than any institution in the San Francisco Bay Area (www.aaacc.org/about).

“AAACC’s social service is expression. The health and beauty that comes from Black people having a space, their space, to process the trauma and the joy of the Black experience, is key to the health and beauty of any great city. It is the promise of AAACC, to nurture our community through Afro-centric artistic, educational, and cultural expression,” Soriano-Bilal said. “It has been my great honor to advance that mission, in my community, through my important work here at AAACC.”

Soriano-Bilal added: “I want to see this center thrive, not just succeed and survive, and I believe we’ve put it in a position to do just that. And now that it is, I’m excited to pursue my next adventure!”

The Board of Directors said it will announce succession plans for AAACC in the coming days.