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The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

News Review
Mayor Announces New Nonprofit Venture to Provide Permanent Homes for Arts Organizations in Central Market & The Tenderloin
Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) Keeps Arts Organizations Thriving in Central Market & Tenderloin Neighborhoods
Posted Date: 11/13/2013
Mayor Edwin M. Lee and District Six Supervisor Jane Kim joined newly formed nonprofit Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) to announce the purchase of two arts building in the Central Market and the Tenderloin.

The CAST purchase will allow the Luggage Store Gallery owners to maintain occupancy of their building and ultimately to assume full ownership, which was at risk of sale due to private investors, and will enable the Luggage Store Gallery’s subtenant Hospitality House Community Art Program to sign a long term lease. CAST also announced the purchase of the underutilized former adult theater at 80 Turk Street in the Tenderloin, one block off Market, and CounterPULSE, a cornerstone of the Bay Area performing arts scene now located South of Market in a building it rents, will begin fundraising to assume ownership of the 80 Turk Street building and move its multi-use performing arts facility in early 2015.

“A major transformation is underway on Central Market, and arts are central to that revitalization,” said Mayor Lee. “Long-time neighborhood institutions like CounterPULSE and The Luggage Store not only anchor the growing arts district but maintain the fabric of creative nonprofit organizations that characterize Central Market.  Creative endeavors like CAST propel the City’s efforts to enhance the role of arts organizations in the neighborhood while ensuring the longevity of these important institutions.”

“I appreciate the importance of permanent physical centers to provide stable spaces for generating creativity and audiences for the arts,” said Supervisor Kim. “Recognizing the challenges for the arts during the last boom cycle, CAST took action and developed a program to permanently acquire buildings in the Tenderloin and Central Market to support these organizations. This is one solution the City can continue to support and expand in order to preserve what builds community and neighborhoods.”

CAST was recently formed by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) to support the City’s efforts to expand and provide long-term stability to arts groups in Central Market and the Tenderloin as part of the Central Market Economic Strategy. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation committed $5 million over five years as seed funding to pilot their program for stabilizing space for community arts organizations in the Central Market area. The pilot program includes the acquisition of two arts facilities sites in Central Market and the Tenderloin.

The City’s Grants for the Arts, the Arts Commission, and Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) are currently providing over $150,000 capacity-building funding for the Luggage Store Gallery and $180,000 to CounterPULSE for capacity-building and predevelopment for the Turk Street theater space. CAST will work closely with tenant organizations as they raise the remaining funds for building renovations. CAST is seeking capital to undertake more acquisitions to serve as permanent affordable art space in the neighborhood.

“CAST will enable these nonprofit arts organizations to build their capacity and contribute to the neighborhood’s vibrancy without the threat of displacement,” said CAST Board Chair Eric Rodenbeck. “This is particularly important in the Tenderloin and Central Market where skyrocketing property values threaten the stability of community arts organizations.”

“In taking these vital first steps, CAST, with relatively limited means, is making the effort to achieve an equitable transformation of our Mid-Market neighborhood, securing affordable housing for not for profit arts organizations and the artists they serve,” said The Luggage Store Co-Founder and Director Darryl Smith

“I believe the arts can play a powerful role during this time of rapid change in our City,” said CounterPULSE Executive and Artistic Director Jessica Robinson Love. “CounterPULSE is a hub where long-time low-income residents are as valued as the tech workers new to the neighborhood, and where these communities can come into dialogue through shared cultural experiences. Participating in CAST offers us a unique opportunity to secure our future, and we will be looking to the community for the additional support we need to renovate and purchase our new building.”

Mayor Lee and Supervisor Kim also announced the availability of real estate and financing technical assistance services to nonprofit arts organizations and small businesses on Central Market, Sixth Street and the Tenderloin through City funding for NCCLF and Urban Solutions. The Central Market/Tenderloin Technical Assistance Program, along with CAST, were developed as part of the implementation of the Central Market Economic Strategy, whose objectives included the cultivation of an arts district in the area and a vibrant cluster of retail storefronts. The program is coordinated through OEWD and can assist existing nonprofit and small businesses in the neighborhood as well as act as a resource for those wishing to locate in the area. A primary goal of the program is to secure long-term leases for these businesses and organizations.  

About Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST)
CAST purchases and leases space for the exclusive use of nonprofit arts organizations while also providing these groups with technical assistance to develop and expand their capacity to fundraise, manage their facilities effectively, and potentially own their building. CAST seeks additional support from foundations, individuals and investors for its capacity building efforts and expansion beyond its pilot projects. For more information, go to: www.cast-sf.org.

About Kenneth Rainin Foundation
The mission of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation is to enhance quality of life by championing and sustaining the arts, promoting early childhood literacy, and supporting research to cure chronic disease. The Foundation believes that people trying to affect change need an early champion for their ideas. Like its founder, the Foundation listens to and invests in innovative and collaborative projects that can achieve real breakthroughs and make life better for us all. For more information, go to: www.krfoundation.org.

About Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF)
NCCLF is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution that provides financial resources and real estate consulting and financial training to nonprofits that serve low-income communities throughout the 46 Northern California counties in its service area. NCCLF’s  mission is to alleviate poverty and provide economic justice to low-income, low-wealth and disadvantaged communities. NCCLF is one of the lead advisors for the Mayor’s Central Market Economic Strategy on revitalizing the Central Market area and also provides financial training and real estate consulting to nonprofits and project management services for CAST.  For more information, go to: www.ncclf.org.

About CounterPULSE
CounterPULSE is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community.  The organization serves as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture by offering  a high-quality season of contemporary dance, theater and performance, providing subsidized studio space and support services to independent artists and cultural innovators, and partnering with social service organizations to offer unique arts experiences to youth, seniors, and neighborhood residents. For more information, go to: www.counterpulse.org.

About The Luggage Store Gallery
The Luggage Store Gallery (as known as 509 Cultural Center) is an artist-run nonprofit multidisciplinary arts organization founded in 1987 by a group of Tenderloin artists  and residents to build community by organizing arts programming accessible to and reflect of the Bay Area’s residents.  Their innovative programs are designed to broaden social and aesthetic networks, to encourage the flow of images and ideas between the diverse cultural communities that cross paths in the exceptionally dynamic downtown San Francisco neighborhood.  They operate three distinct venues: the Luggage Store Gallery, the Luggage Store Annex at 509 Ellis, and the Tenderloin National Forest at 511 Ellis Street.

About Hospitality House Community Art Program
Hospitality House is a community center for San Francisco’s Tenderloin, Mid-Market, and Sixth Street Corridor neighborhoods. Their Community Arts Program is the City’s only free-of-charge fine arts studio and gallery, offering more than 250 community artists the materials and space to create, exhibit, and sell their artwork.