Go behind the scenes in our video to learn more about Light Up Central Market, a public art project by the Luggage Store Gallery, funded by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood is home to many performing arts organizations and a growing number of technology firms. We wondered how the arts could celebrate the neighborhood’s identity as a burgeoning arts and technology district and bring diverse communities together, while contributing to the area’s vibrancy. In 2014, we launched a grant opportunity, “Imagining Central Market,” to support the creation of large-scale, interactive public art.

block by block

“Block by Block,” part of the Light Up Central Market project, provides a space to sit, talk and enjoy San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood.

The Luggage Store Gallery, a longtime Market Street tenant, was awarded the $100,000 grant for Light Up Central Market to illuminate six site-specific projects, including murals, a building façade, and a dramatic 10 x 24-foot interactive bench entitled “Block by Block.” The Luggage Store teamed up with Nighthouse Studio and Hyphae Design Laboratory on the design and worked closely with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, City of San Francisco Planning Department’s Living Innovation Zones and the Department of Public Works on implementation. In September 2015, we joined our dedicated partners, local businesses, funders, and neighborhood residents and workers to flip the switch on this project.

This collaborative project reflects the dynamic personality of the neighborhood. By creating a gathering place and illuminating a collection of murals in the area, Light Up Central Market invites people to interact. The project is initiating connections and inspiring meaningful conversation about the challenges of the neighborhood, illustrating both the beauty and provocative nature of public art.

Read “How Public Art Exposed Class Tensions in San Francisco,” a series of conversations about art, class and race that emerged from “Block by Block.”

Imagining Central Market Finalists

Light Up Central Market was one of five competitive proposals the Foundation received, which all featured  innovation, collaboration and community interaction. View the galleries and learn more about all five “Imagining Central Market” finalists.


Suggested Reading