New Survey Confirms San Francisco Will See a “Wipeout” of its Artists

A new survey from the San Francisco Arts Commission yields disheartening figures about the city's vanishing creative class.

[jump] As KQED reports, the survey, which included nearly 600 artists, found that over 70 percent had been or were being displaced from their workplace, home, or both. Among the remaining 30 percent, displacement in the near future is a chronic concern.

John Elberling, director of the Tenants and Owners Development Corporation, described the survey’s findings bluntly: “It’s going to be a wipeout.”

Although the Mayor’s office provides $1 million in annual grants for creative workspaces, that won't stanch the flood of artists and freelancers being pushed out across the city. In June, more than 70 artists from the Redlick Building in the Mission couldn’t renew their leases and had no choice but to relocate.

But, of course, relocating in San Francisco’s overheated rental market is all but impossible. According to KQED, the survey found that although “the average monthly rent was reported at $1.75 per sq. ft., some artists were being charged as much as $17.33 per sq. ft.”

Robert Donald, a painter and photographer who held the master lease for Studio 17, the art collective recently displaced from the Redlick Building, told SF Public Press that he paid $11.12 per sq. ft. for his space, portions of which he sublet to offset costs.

Truon Tran, a former Studio 17 member, told KQED, “It is about the displacement of communities, and cultures of the working class and people of color. We artists see ourselves in these communities.”

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