gfs:visit=2 Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

I’m a huge Josette Melchor fan. She’s the brilliant founder of the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and I went to visit her and her creative director, Chris Delbuck, last week. (Chris is the one who tipped me off to the Oxford comma cartoon.)

After almost ten years in various homes in and around San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, Gray Area has moved to a new home, the Grand Theater on Mission Street. It used to be a dollar shop.

Gray Area Interior

It was really exciting to see the place at such an early stage. There’s a ton of work being done on the old theater, and Josette’s already started running courses up in the old projection space.

That’s one of the things I admire most about her approach. While Gray Area’s basic DNA involves investigating the intersection of art, technology and community, that’s not just about creating exhibitions — Gray Area was the first gallery to show Aaron Koblin — it’s about building community and offering courses to help train interested folks in the “art of technology.” The obvious bi-product of that is different sources of income, a theme that I’m particularly interested in researching, and will write a little more about over the course of the coming months.

The new theater space is suited to all kinds of uses, the perfect stage to continue the already-fantastic programming. There’s the various design and tech classes, big events, lectures, conferences, and something new for Gray Area: a co-working incubator. This week, they’re announcing open, private or studio memberships, where interested people can subscribe to come and work in the space. (See the bottom of this page for membership details.) The disclaimer here is two-fold: I’m hoping to grab a spot myself, and I’ll also be on the jury to help sort through the applicants. But! The hope is that we’ll see a wide array of people applying to join the new space, since cross-pollination is so interesting and important in arts/tech/community overlaps.

So, watch the Gray Area space for updates on when to apply. And if you’d like to find out more about the many initiatives coming out of Gray Area, have a flip through this presentation:

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