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One of San Francisco's Most Important Arts Organizations Just Imploded

Scott Lucas | May 23, 2014 | Lifestyle Story Culture

San Francisco isn't just a hard city for artists—its a hard city for the organizations that support them. The latest causality is the Intersection for the Arts, an over 50-year-old organization, that announced it would be laying off most of its staff and ceasing financial support for new works.

You can read all the grisly details here, here, and here. The gist seems to be that the group—which recently decamped from the Mission to the Chronicle building in Soma (the security at which one staffer described as "fascist")—couldn't continue operations in the face of what it calls "deeply challenged" finances. The writing had been on the wall for some time, although the group had staved off disaster under executive director Deborah Cullinan, who left last year to head up the nearby Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

In what feels more aspirational than operational, the group did say that, "This restructure, though painful, is necessary not only to address Intersection’s current financial situation, but to serve as a catalyst for an entirely new kind of artist and community engagement model that can sustain a healthy organization through an arts-centered entrepreneurial approach that relies on multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative partnerships in the Bay Area."

Over the years, the Intersection, which was formed during the 1960s by churches to assist conscientious objector artists, has had a hand in supporting a staggering range of artists, including Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Ondaatje, David Henry Hwang, Alice Walker, Dave Eggers, Bell Hooks, and Gary Snyder, among countless others. One of their most recent projects was Chinaka Hodge's new play Chasing Mehserle.

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