San Francisco Art Institute, With Diego Rivera Mural, Is Sold to Nonprofit

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San Francisco Art Institute, With Diego Rivera Mural, Is Sold to Nonprofit


The bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute’s main campus, home to a popular mural by Diego Rivera, has been sold to a new nonprofit led by philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs.

The nonprofit, made up of local cultural leaders and supporters including Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, bought the debt-plagued campus through a limited liability company for about $30 million. The sale, previously reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, includes “The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City,” a 1931 mural by Rivera valued at $50 million and in a Exhibition space remains.

The former school will house a non-accredited facility that will include a residency program where artists “can develop and exhibit their work,” said David Stull, the president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, who is a member of the new nonprofit’s advisory board. He described the new center “as a platform to support artists and create a hub for community around the arts.”

Powell Jobs, who declined an interview, has emerged as a powerful philanthropic force in recent years as founder and president of the Emerson Collective, which combines investing and giving.

The purchase came as the institution, which had about $20 million in debt, filed for bankruptcy last April; His five-acre property in the Russian Hill neighborhood was for sale last summer.

Artists and city leaders argued that the mural should be preserved, and San Francisco regulators declared it a landmark to prevent its removal.

“San Francisco has long been a center for the development of the arts and continues to be an important center for the development of ideas,” Stull said. “An institution like the Art Institute must be part of this future.”

In addition to Stull, the advisory board also includes Brenda Way, founder and artistic director of ODC Dance Company in San Francisco; Lynn Feintech, president of the Los Angeles-based Liberty Building and longtime ODC board member; Stanlee Gatti, event designer and former president of the San Francisco Arts Commission; and Stephen Beal, a former president of the California College of the Arts.

“San Francisco needed some good news, and given the closure of Macy’s and its grim history, this is a huge boost for the entire city and county,” said Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Peskin, who said he helped steer local zoning law changes through the legislative process to accommodate a redesigned institute, says work on the campus is expected to take up to four years. “This is a sign that arts and culture could be part of San Francisco’s recovery,” he said.



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2024-03-05 01:31:39

www.nytimes.com