Bohemia Redux is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, created to restore the creative community of artists that gave the city its reputation for being such an artistically creative place. The neighborhoods in San Francisco colonized by artists attracted others who wanted to live in them. As the cost of housing escalated, the emerging, struggling artists who made those districts so interesting were forced to move out. Very few emerging artists still live here.
Bohemia Redux has devised The San Francisco Art House Project, which intends to open about 20 buildings throughout the city for live/work spaces suitable to the various arts, which are zoned residential and commercial. Commercial spaces in the buildings will be used for cafes, galleries, theaters, and stores to sell the work of resident artists, or the services they provide, making the project sustainable. These commercial spaces enable people interact with the community of artists at work, and the income from rents and businesses makes it possible for the project to eventually buy buildings.
This is possible. There are estimated to be between 10,000 and 30,000 residential units in the city standing empty for the purpose of tax loss; but an equal tax benefit is gained when donating the use of buildings at a nominal rent to Bohemia Redux. Donors retain ownership, and realize a profit selling the building when it no longer provides a loss. Donors might prefer to invest in the project’s success and form LLCs with the nonprofit. There are many ways to bring artists back to the city and rekindle its lost bohemian charm.
This project provides an unusual opportunity to study how artists affect the environment around them. We will be working with social scientists to observe this phenomenon from inception. A long-range goal, through the restoration of creative culture and a study of effects, is to raise awareness of the importance of artists in society.