Minnesota Street Project

“We realized what we needed to do for the ecosystem is to help create this critical mass in a way that created a sense of place—meaning that we needed to bring the artists and galleries into one place and then build inviting public gathering spaces in a way that would allow the community to not only stay there, but engage.” – MSP founder, Andy Rappaport (full interview here)

What + Why // A recent survey of 600 working artists by the San Francisco Arts Commission found that 70 percent had been, or were being, displaced from their workplace, home, or both. In a time where it is hard to be an artist in SF, Minnesota Street Project (MSP) offers affordable and economically sustainable spaces for art galleries, artists and related nonprofits. Inhabiting three warehouses in the Dogpatch district, the Project seeks to retain and strengthen San Francisco’s contemporary art community in the short term, while developing an internationally recognized arts destination in the long term.

Model // MSP founders believed that philanthropic support of the arts required a different model in San Francisco – one tied to the innovative and entrepreneurial nature of the region. Thus, MSP intentionally ditched a non-profit model to instead strive to create a self-sustaining enterprise that will ultimately share economic success with artists, businesses, and partners. Currently, its model is funded by both a state-of-the-art Art storage business (learn more here), and a collaborative relationship with Adobe, in which Adobe sponsors the artist studios program, while simultaneously flexing their tailored programs for the arts (learn more here).

Tension // Minnesota Street Project is part of a broader gentrification and revitalization process in the Dogpatch area, which has garnered anxiety and tension among existing communities in the area that anticipate spiked rent and displacement. Thus, it makes us wonder if MSP’s aim to make the city more affordable for artists might be unintentionally exacerbating the issue through accelerated interest in the area…

What Sets it Apart  //

  • Alignment to SF’s Innovation Fabric
  • For-profit model
  • Enterprise partnerships – beyond monetary
  • Revitalization of a neighborhood, leveraging history
  • Dynamic use of space (moveable walls, gallery/studios, storage)
  • Community Programming (events, workshops, fieldtrips)
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