Todd Berman

The SFist reported on an interesting idea last week. In  a campaign for non-profit artists housing in San Francisco,  writer P Segal hopes to create more affordable housing for creative-minded people. Here’s more:

A new project is launching called San Francisco Art Houses that hopes to address that dilemma, creating live-work spaces around the city that could be leased to artists for nominal rents.

The project is the brainchild of local writer and one-time Caffe Proust owner P Segal, and as she writes, “Cities need artists. This city lost a fortune of creative energy [in recent years]. Returning artists to San Francisco is like replanting native plants and reintroducing indigenous fauna, restoring a balance in the human biosphere.” She points to the long-ago demolition of the Montgomery Block (pictured above), a building that survived the ’06 earthquake and served as a refuge for artists including Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Sterling, Jack London, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo. What stands in its place now is the TransAmerica Pyramid.

She also makes the important observation that art that makes money tends to come only after many years of practice and struggle, unlike other ways of money-making. “The struggle to produce something marketable may take decades, while an artist matures and develops ideas,” Segal says. “San Francisco has no place left for the unfolding of creative genius, except for the genius of brilliant commercial commodities that make fortunes.”

Segal hopes to find donors and open-minded property owners that may want to donate either money or housing to the effort.

Seems like this could be of use to many a Mission-based arts group. Are you an artist with a similar solution? A landlord who wants to support the arts? Do you live and work in a space that fosters creative talent? Let us know at missionlocalATgmailDOTcom.

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