Potrero Emerges as Art Hub
Ryder W. Miller
Over the past year a community of art galleries has emerged on 16th Street, Utah Street, and Potrero Avenue, with roughly a half-dozen exhibit spaces now on offer. The cluster has replaced Valencia and 16th streets as a key artist hub, as galleries and shops in that area steadily close or move. Recent arrivals to Potrero Hill include the George Lawson Gallery, Jack Fisher Gallery, Catherine Clark Gallery, Brian Gross Fine Art, and Hosfelt Gallery. And the California College for the Arts’ Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Artitud are within walking distance.
“The Potrero neighborhood and adjacent Dogpatch and Mission are desirable areas of San Francisco, with a healthy blend of cultural venues, educational institutions, residents, design businesses, and nonprofits. It was therefore a compelling neighborhood for us to consider for the re-location of the gallery,” said Catharine Clark, of her gallery. “The addition of new and more galleries deepens the many reasons people already are drawn to the area, and expands our audience to include patrons who may have avoided downtown in recent years due to congestion, traffic, lack of parking, and noise.”
“Initially I picked Potrero because this is where I found a building that would work; a space that had the right volume, light, accessibility, and affordability to support the gallery’s program,” said Lawson. “After my experience in Los Angeles with a storefront—which is the norm there—I wanted ground floor access rather than an upstairs space, as I had at 49 Geary. Now that we are installed here, I find the location, ease of parking, ambience and, of course, the proximity to my colleagues and other art resources to be invaluable. The location is equally convenient for Peninsula, East Bay and City audiences. Foot traffic has been steady—there’s a crowd here right now—and business has been good. We’ve received a lot of attention and the reception has been very positive. In terms of the potential, I think other galleries will surely follow suit.”
“I am encouraged by the welcome we have experienced from the neighbors in Potrero, and by the new faces in the gallery,” said Clark, who moved her gallery from Minna Street.
“We’ve had a great reception. It has been great to have visitors and to do business with clients we never saw at 49 Geary as well as our established clientele. There has clearly been a need for San Francisco’s art scene to expand into a new area outside of downtown,” said Brian Gross. “I’m thrilled to have relocated to Potrero.”
“We have become a much needed new art hub,” said Jack Fisher.
“The Potrero location has not changed the focus of the art we show,” added Lawson. “Our commitment to contemporary painting on an international scope is only strengthened by the ease and economy with which we can mount exhibitions in the new space. San Francisco’s art galleries are an amazing resource for the City. We are free, remarkably varied in our offerings, and now that five of us plus the Wattis are within walking distance of one parking space, readily accessible. I hope a new crop of folks will rediscover the simple pleasure of gallery hopping.”
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