Bayview Opera House at dusk

About Bayview Opera House, Inc.

Bayview Opera House, Inc. (BVOH) was founded in 1989 to run programs at our namesake building. The San Francisco Arts Commission had purchased and renovated the facility in the 1970's for use as a community cultural center along with four other centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods. By the end of 80's the commission came to the conclusion that it was best to have each center run by a local group to provide programming instead of the commission itself running programs. BVOH received its 501(c)3 status in 1992.

BVOH provides opportunities to engage in the arts for a community with a long history of disinvestment, creates a sense of belonging and community ownership of the only significant cultural resource in the neighborhood, maintains inclusiveness of the traditional population in the light of gentrification, and provides educational and employment opportunities.

Our mission is to serve as the focal point for Art and Culture in the Bayview Hunters Point community by providing accessible, diverse, and high-quality arts education, cultural programs and community events in a safe environment and to employ the arts to support aspirational values, hope and passion, and to inspire the self-confidence and self-esteem needed to be successful, especially for our youth.

BVOH anchors BV/HP by providing a central location where the community comes together to enjoy culturally relevant art exhibits and performances, community festivals, and local artists get their first opportunities to perform.

BVOH builds social cohesion through arts-based events that are reflective of the rich cultural heritage of the Bayview community that appeal to multiple generations and both traditional and new residents.

BVOH provides arts education to young people where the arts have been largely eliminated from the school curriculum, building the capacity for arts appreciation and building artistic skills for self-expression.


City of San Francisco Cultural Centers 
The Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre is one of six city-owned cultural centers operated by nonprofit arts organizations providing cultural and arts programs. The centers are venues for performances, festivals, and gallery exhibits and offer free or low cost classes. They are funded, at least in part, by the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Board of Directors

The Bayview Opera House Board of Directors is a group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time for the benefit of our organization, provide valuable vision for our programs and financial sustainability.  They exercise financial oversight, help fundraise, make a meaningful annual donation to the organization and contribute their expertise.

BVOH is accepting applications for new board members. Board members are expected to actively participate in board meetings, join committees and task forces as needed, volunteer for and attend Opera House events and programs, donate to the organization and participate in fundraising efforts. To apply, please send your resume to secretary Micah Fobbs along with a letter stating your interest in the Bayview Opera House.

Barbara Ockel, Executive Director. Barbara has been leading the Bayview Opera House since 2009. She has a strong arts and business background that has enabled her to develop the Bayview Opera House into the strong and sustainable organization it is today. She has been able to attract major artistic collaborators, such as A.C.T., the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and others. She has also greatly expanded and diversified funding sources.

Board Members

Theo Ellington, President. Director of Public Affairs for the Golden State Warrriors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs from the University of San Francisco. Theo has served on the Redevelopment Successor Agency Commission for the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, following his service on the Youth and Southeast Facilities Commission and the Youth Commission.

Thor Kaslofsky, Vice President. Principle, Ground Urban Development. Formerly Hunters Point Shipyard Project Manager with the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure. He received his MBA from New York’s Baruch College business school.

Micah J. Fobbs, Secretary. Owner of multiple businesses and community advocate. His company M.J.F. & Associates Consulting currently contracts with the City of San Francisco to assist the Mayor’s Citizens Advisory Committee with the largest redevelopment project in San Francisco, the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Cohen, Co-Treasurer. Co-director 100% College Prep Institute's Parent Academy. She was recognized by San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Civic Unity Program, providing her an opportunity to join seven other Fellows to invest $300,000 to improve the quality of life for Bayview residents.

Aaron J. Pischke, Co-Treasurer. Branch Manager at First Bank. Aaron has been with First Bank since 2007, and previously worked in the financial services sector as a financial analyst. He lives in Bayview and enjoys making a difference in his community.

Jerald Joseph, Member. Senior VP of Sales & Property Mgt at Haight Street Realty/Finance Management (HSM). Jerald holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance. Elected as BVOH President in 2010, he is a longtime Bayview resident and the President of the Board of LaSalle Heights Homeowners Association.

Vernon C. Grigg III, Member. Adjunct professor of law at Golden Gate University. Vernon is an independent law practitioner specializing in labor and employment. He is an active member of the State Bar, licensed in California since 1993. Vernon received his J.D. from Yale University.

Clinton Sockwell II, Member. Youth and community activist. Mr. Sockwell is a regular school facilitator/consultant with the Community-Intentions Program, which delivers culturally responsive instruction to increase student achievement for historically underserved populations.