We are thrilled to hear that a groundbreaking initiative that the Kenneth Rainin Foundation spearheaded, the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), is inspiring novel solutions in London. Citing CAST’s success in San Francisco, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is exploring plans for a Creative Land Trust that would support London’s artists through affordable creative workspace.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan
The Arts Drive Vibrant and Diverse Communities
Arts role in local economies is one of the many reasons that permanent space for the arts is important. Mayor Khan’s plan to make studios affordable would protect London’s economy as well as its cultural life—the creative industries sector provides one in eight jobs in London.
In the Bay Area, the arts are a vital part of our local economies:
- Oakland is home to hundreds of cultural nonprofit organizations and working artists, with an estimated economic impact of $53 million per year (2010 study by Americans for the Arts).
- San Francisco’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $710 million industry—one that supports 19,744 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $59.3 million in local and state government revenue. (2010 study by Americans for the Arts).
Despite being an important part of the economy, artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to instability and displacement.
The Arts Real Estate Strategy That Creates Stability
The Rainin Foundation understands that securing affordable space is one of the biggest challenges facing nonprofit organizations. In search of a long-term solution, the Rainin Foundation partnered with the Northern California Community Loan Fund in 2013 to create CAST to help stabilize physical spaces for arts and cultural nonprofits in San Francisco.
CAST’s first major undertaking was acquiring a pair of buildings for the Luggage Store Gallery and CounterPulse, organizations that were at risk of displacement due to a building sale and fast-rising rents. Today, these nonprofits are secure in their spaces with below-market lease rates and the opportunity to purchase the building in seven to 10 years.
The CAST model is adaptable for any community where artists and cultural organizations are being edged out because of development, redevelopment, or poor planning. It’s a collaborative strategy that connects resources in the community to the real estate needs of arts and cultural organizations.
We look forward to watching as London’s plan to stabilize its creative sector moves forward, and hope our successes inspire more cities.
Top photo: London Eye ferris wheel