SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — San Francisco, celebrated as a haven for talented, creative denizens who contribute to its cultural identity, may soon be a lot less colorful — thanks to the skyrocketing cost of housing.
Artist Rick Kitagawa is worried.
“San Francisco wouldn’t be so cool without the artists and Haight Street and all the musicians and dancers who make the city so vibrant and interesting,” he says.
Kitagawa works out of a studio on Divisadero where the owner, Solange Gabrielli, is worried about the same thing.
“Within the past year, I have seen six or seven major galleries and art institutions in San Francisco either shut down or be displaced. I have had friends move to the East Bay or to less expensive cities like Portland or New Orleans to pursue their artistic career,” Gabrielli said.
This summer, Mayor Ed Lee pledged $2 million to boost grant funding and stem the tide of artists leaving the city.
Gabrielli wants the public to help, too.
She launched a crowd-funding project to provide support for the Divisadero Art Walk this month.
“I think if we created more public opportunities for people to participate in arts, then we would have a thriving arts culture again,” she says.
Gabrielli and Kitagawa are both optimistic but they admit the technology-driven boom may be unstoppable and, if that’s the case, Kitagawa would rather be somewhere else.
“I think it would be a big city with really expensive restaurants and people on their laptops all the time. It’s kind of a little bleak, I think,” he said.