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More on the Tenderloin Makeover

Add one more to the list of so-called Tenderloin revitalization projects that have sprung up over the last month in the city’s most flavorful neighborhood. Art in Storefronts, a pilot program initiated by Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), launches today. In partnership with neighborhood-based economic development organizations and curated by Triple Base, local artists will showcase their work in 11 original window installations and two murals. At tonight’s opening ceremony, you can meet the artists, mingle with the community and listen to live music as you make your way from storefront to storefront along Market Street between 5th and 8th streets and north of Market along Taylor Street.

Joining the ranks of Grey Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) and the more community-driven Wonderland project, Art in Storefronts is another valiant endeavor to change the perception of the Tenderloin from a place to be avoided to a thriving up-and-coming neighborhood to be sought out. Unlike GAFFTA and Wonderland, though, Art in Storefronts is an effort to occupy otherwise empty spaces in the Tenderloin, Central Market, Bayview and the Mission. But will this attempt really succeed in bringing business back to these run-down areas? With drugs and crime at a high in parts of these neighborhoods, will a temporary increase in foot traffic be enough to lure commerce into real estate adjacent to liquor stores, cheap bars, adult entertainment venues and specialty drug stores? We’ve begun to see evidence of a facelift—freshly paved streets, decorative crosswalks, new lamp posts with hanging flowers—but is this big push to overhaul the grunge a little premature? Make a point to check out all of these important and stimulating Tenderloin projects, and while you’re at it, take the time to ask yourself what can/should be done to help resuscitate these communities.

Tonight’s Art in Storefronts opening ceremony and reception will be held at 989 Market Street from 5:00-7:00 p.m..

If this project has you intrigued, be sure to check out next week’s Bayview launch of Art in Storefronts.