Can The Tech Boom Help SF Arts?

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 (Adam Shalleck)

The news has been full of talk about the tensions caused by the Gold Rush-like surge of tech workers into San Francisco. One other manifestation is the real estate pressure on arts organizations -- for their performance spaces, administrative and operational centers, and housing costs relative to income levels. It’s a common cycle: arts organizations and artists go where they can afford and make it vibrant; the higher brackets are then attracted to that vibrancy; and that in turn pushes out the arts organizations and artists. So it goes, and is going now.

Yet, the arts and tech have creativity in common. I am thrilled to have tech here for all that it does and brings. I believe its workers come to be energized by the city, and so it should be seen as part of the total workplace environment, as inspiration beyond the confines of the office. As such, it could use a little love.

I went to a panel discussion with some tech luminaries entitled “How Tech has Changed Philanthropy”. There was no mention of philanthropy toward the arts. That’s not where their heads were at -- not, I think, out of lack of interest, but because bigger problems are getting the attention. The arts don’t have the urgency that hunger, disease, education, and climate change do. I get that.

But there was some talk about micro philanthropy: a few bucks, assembled en masse, making huge impacts. Turns out, we do a crowd funding campaign of sorts every night. It’s called going to the theatre.

Come, be inspired. Buy a ticket, be in our audience, bring your friends. Tell your other friends about it. They’ll find you even more interesting on account of your good taste and civic mindedness. We admire the cool events you throw for yourselves, but we’ve got them happening all the time already: Come to ours.


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With a Perspective I’m Adam Shalleck.

Adam Shalleck is an architect who consults on theatre design.