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New cultural districts announced in SoMa and Mission

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City wants to protect Latino and Filipino culture with new pilot program

Photo by Thomas Hawk

In an effort to preserve community diversity and identity, the California Arts Council launched a cultural district pilot program as a way of “highlighting thriving cultural diversity and unique artistic identities within local communities across California.”

Two San Francisco communities, Calle 24 Latino Cultural District and South of Market (SoMa) Pilipinas, have been designated as cultural districts.

The California Cultural Districts defines a cultural district as a “well-defined geographic area with a high concentration of cultural resources and activities.”

“San Francisco continues to be on the forefront of preserving and enhancing neighborhood character, identity, and diversity,” said Mayor Ed Lee in a statement. “These important cultural assets are a testament to the work of our partners and residents who embody the values of San Francisco.”

As designated cultural districts the two communities will hold the certification for five years and will have benefits that include “technical assistance, peer-to-peer exchanges, and branding materials and promotional strategy,” according to California Cultural Districts.

In addition to these benefits, certified cultural districts are also given:

  • Official state certification which will allow districts to use the state cultural district brand in marketing strategies.
  • Branding tools that include the state cultural district logo and banner templates.
  • A $5,000 stipend per district per year over the course of two years “to support participation in the pilot process that will lead to the refinement of the design of the cultural districts program.”
  • Participation in developmental evaluation from a consulting team.

Located in the heart of the Mission District, the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District is located on 24th Street at the site for cultural festivities and surrounded by almost 200 small businesses.

SoMa Pilipinas is San Francisco’s Filipino Cultural Heritage District, beginning from Second Street to 11th Street, going down from Market to Brannan.

"I am proud of our work in tandem with the community to create SoMa Pilipinas,” said Supervisor Jane Kim in a written statement. “The California Arts Council's recognition of our two innovative social/cultural districts underlines the critical role the arts and innovative expressions play in recognizing communities who have long contributed to the building and culture of San Francisco and California."

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A full program is expected to launch in 2019 where new districts can apply for state designation.