It makes me sick to post this kind of news, especially on the heels of the 77 Geary galleries being given the hard shove, but another art space was forced out of its home, this time after its landlord nearly tripled the rent. Root Division, a great arts hub that's part gallery, part studios, part learning center, announced on its Facebook page that it's joining the ranks of creative spaces hitting a rough patch in the current San Francisco housing economy. After calling 3175 17th St. home for nine years, it was hit with a huge rent increase that has forced it to look for a new space to relocate to this summer.
At least Root Division's Board of Directors have found some silver lining. "While we are disheartened to leave the neighborhood we've worked so hard to revitalize, we see this as an opportunity to develop a vital new arts facility. We aim to capitalize on the positive momentum generated in the Mission to expand our constituency and continue to serve the community," they wrote. They're looking at the Mid-Market area now, which could significantly add to that neighborhood's attempts to become a vital arts district in the city.
I can vouch for Root Division's great arts classes, but adult instruction (for 1,500 students) is only part of what the organization offers. It has "subsidized studios to over 130 artists; offered over 4,000 hours of free art classes to neighborhood youth by empowering and training 240 artist-teachers; exhibited over 1,700 artists in its gallery; and welcomed over 32,000 visitors to its space." Here's hoping the group gets the city support it needs to find a new home soon.
Photo from Root Division