The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus announced plans on Thursday to open a national center devoted to LGBTQ arts and culture.
The 42-year-old nonprofit, one of the country's biggest and oldest gay choirs, purchased the $9.6 million, four-story building at 170 Valencia St. from the Baha'i Faith with the help of a $5 million donation from one of its own members, Terrence Chan.
Plans for the new 23,000-square-foot hub include recording, rehearsal, performance, meeting and other facilities for local, regional and national LGBTQ groups.
"Those of us who live in San Francisco are keenly aware of the lack of usable rehearsal space and convening spaces in the city. And when you do find space, rates are usually astronomical, especially for small LGBTQ arts organizations," said San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus executive director Chris Verdugo. "Our intention is to provide affordable space for these community organizations to rehearse, to collaborate, and to incubate new works."
The chorus is billing the new center as the "first-ever national LGBTQ center for the arts." It joins several other LGBTQ-focused spaces in San Francisco, like the SFLGBT Center in the Castro and the Queer Cultural Center (producer of the National Queer Arts Festival) in the Western Addition.