This Page 1 article in the San Francisco Chronicle today caught my attention...:
It's one of the seediest stretches in San Francisco, filled with homeless people slumped against vacant storefronts, the stench of urine, graffiti, drugs and crime. Many maps and travel books explicitly warn tourists to stay away.
But the three blocks of Taylor Street just north of Market Street would become an arts district -- some say akin to New York City's SoHo, which became an area of cheap artists' lofts and studios in the 1960s and '70s -- under a plan being cobbled together by city officials, landlords, artists and Tenderloin-area nonprofit workers.
The transformation gets under way today with the groundbreaking of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which is taking over a vacant 4,000-square-foot building that once was a porn theater. The old marquee on the building reads "Art Theatres," apparently a euphemism that also foreshadowed its future use.
The North of Market Neighborhood Improvement Corp. is one of the nonprofits involved with remaking Taylor Street. With city funds, it hired a new director, Elvin Padilla, who has 20 years of experience infusing the arts into low-income communities.
He said artists moving into a neighborhood can scare low-income residents who fear gentrification. But if done right, he said, the improvement can make a neighborhood safer without driving out residents.
"The arts can be an effective way to address tension and conflicts and empower neighborhoods that are going through stress," he said. "The arts can be a common denominator for many different people in terms of race, class, socioeconomics, the whole thing."
For further reading:
The Lower East Side: There goes the neighborhood
[Photo of the liquor store by Brant Ward/Chronicle...the store is being replaced by a cafe]