Art Walk SF brings together artists and commerce, a neighborhood at a time News

Thanks to Art Walk SF, Castro recently did what he does best: he showed the rest of the city how to have fun.

Art Walk, an all-volunteer organization that brings together the arts and business leaders to showcase their neighborhoods, moves into the Divisadero Corridor on Saturday for its third event – followed by monthly art walks along Clement Street, Outer Sunset, Excelsior Outer Mission and Bayview in year.

The Castro May event gave residents near 17th and 18th Streets the opportunity to see their homeland come to life even more. Institutions such as the Poesia Restaurant hosted local indoor artists as visitors to the street fair strolled, rolled and rollerbladed around the neighborhood to the tune of live musicians.

Created by Cynthia Hui, Ixhel Acosta, Susie Feras and Lauro Gonzalez in January, Art Walk SF was created to celebrate the diverse and abundant art, music, food and small businesses of San Francisco with walks on the first Saturday.

“The four of us came together as friends with a shared desire to see the City come back to life,” Hui said. She and her friends asked themselves: How can we help mobilize volunteers and community organizations and get small businesses and artists to say yes to doing something like this without it being difficult?

The monthly series starts in May with its debut event in Balboa Park.

Huie, the city’s commissioner for small business, said neighborhoods often have difficulty closing streets because they divert traffic and there is so much logistics that people are not happy with. In May, however, residents celebrated the blockades.

“People really crave community right now and are just happy to have a moment of joy outdoors,” Hui said.

Not all Art Walk SF stops will include street closures. In fact, Castro’s event did not. The events aim to meet every neighborhood where it is located – both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of funding.

“There are areas with free windows, for example, and we are happy to help artists created there to show people what space can look like,” Hui said. “There are different options depending on the neighborhood.”

In May, several hundred people showed up at Balboa Park. This meant a solid sales flow for suppliers such as Dana Boyko of Fused Glass Creations. Boyko, an interior designer who began following his dream of working with glass in 2004, said the experience was 10 times longer than expected.

“I made over $ 1,000 in four hours. The people from the neighborhood were out in full force and fully supported, “the Richmond resident told The Examiner. “I turned to cheap items because I know the demographics in the neighborhood; this was my neighborhood. I figured the items would sell for $ 30-35, but people were putting money left and right for a ton of high-end items.

Boyko said the free Art Walk SF is a relief for artists like her who spend 20-25% of their income to pay promoters to sell their wares.

“It’s still feasible, but I’m a small business. I write everything off, but every year my net (income) qualifies me for MediCal, ”she said.

Art Walk SF may also be useful for people who started art ventures during the pandemic.

“We all have friends who started (making art) in the last two years and are now interested in putting it there,” Hui said. “We hope to be able to create connections for those who want to formalize their business, or for those who hope to grow their business, as we have resources in the Small Business Office.”

Huey said her team has the resources – mostly from Avenue Greenlight, a philanthropy focused on reviving San Francisco – to continue until 2023. He also has an interest.

“We have over 100 suppliers in the database. We don’t always have a place (for all of them), “she said.

Organizers say the future of Art Walk SF depends on the logistics of coordination with different neighborhoods.

“We are volunteers and this is a passionate project. We really hope we can just use the current knowledge we have and then deploy it, ”Hui said.

The calendar of the Art Walk SF website predicts four more neighborhood events after one Saturday in the Divisadero corridor.

“The calendar does not include (every community) we want to be able to support,” Hui said. “We ask the neighborhoods: How can I help you understand where you are and how to turn these events into something that the neighbors will be able to appreciate?”

“We hope this will be an educational experience for them. Then they will know who to contact at The City if they need a street permit … All these fine details.”

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