San Francisco’s beleaguered arts community finally gets a break tonight, when a sprawling gallery/studio/storage complex in the Dogpatch officially opens to the public with a dozen inaugural exhibitions. Years in the making, the new abode of the avant-garde aims to give artists a bulwark against soaring real estate prices.
The Minnesota Street Project consists of three former warehouses and industrial workshops totaling nearly 150,000 square feet altogether, redesigned by Jensen Architects (the local go-to when artists need an architect—Jensen also handled the preservation and renovation of the David Ireland House in the Mission), who were careful to preserve all of the cool, industrial Dogpatch stuff that made the site attractive while still turning it into a respectable art hub:
"Original wood plank ceilings supported on delicate steel trusses, polished concrete floors, exposed structural steel, and exposed corrugated metal ceilings compliment the building’s original material," Jensen writes on the JA site.
The heart of the project is 1275 Minnesota, a 35,000-square-foot former woodworker’s shop, now converted into gallery space for arts dealers who have been priced out of their traditional haunts around Union Square. Immediately across the street at 1240 Minnesota is a 22,000-square-foot onetime t-shirt factory that’s now studio space for local artists, rented at below market rates, with open-ended, tenant-controlled leases.
And next door is the moneymaker, a 100,000-square-foot, partially climate-controlled art storage facility. There are also plans for a restaurant and bar, helmed by Daniel Patterson and scheduled for a fall opening.
You can think of MSP as a giant ark, ferrying some of the city’s endangered creative elements through troubled times. The grand opening is tonight at 6 p.m., followed by an open house (catered by Off the Grid) at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The 12 inaugural exhibitions opening include Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey’s Hand to Mouth, constructed chiefly of some of the thousands of discarded, gallon-size water jugs that litter the artist’s homeland, and Seeing the Elephant, Spanish artist Javier Ace’s political art about black revolutionaries.