arts Blog

Sit, Talk and Enjoy the Light

Go behind the scenes in this 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 got a lot brighter in September when we joined our partners to flip the switch on Light Up Central Market and illuminate six site-specific projects, including murals, a building façade, and a dramatic 10 x 24-foot interactive bench entitled Block by Block. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation was one of the hosts of an unveiling event at The Hall and we were thrilled to be joined by so many neighbors, artists, community stakeholders, and people just walking down the street.

"Promise," by Clare Rojas at 982 Market Street.

“Promise,” by Clare Rojas at 982 Market Street.

Light Up Central Market was awarded a grant from our first public art initiative, “Imagining Central Market,” which encourages interaction and dialogue around community identity, as well as celebrates and showcases the innovative spirit that infuses the Central Market neighborhood. The funded project was led by the Luggage Store Gallery, a tenant in the neighborhood for nearly three decades, and a natural partner to shine a light on the vibrant character of the area. 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 and the Department of Public Works on implementation.

The Foundation strives to be a catalyst in all of its program areas and we are thrilled with the impact of cross-sector collaborations on helping implement great ideas that benefit San Francisco’s creativity and arts culture.  At the opening event, John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning, said that the Foundation’s support and visionreally allows us to experiment with different ways of dealing with our public sidewalks and streets in ways that we’ve never done before.”

A young boy swings on "Block by Block."

A young boy swings on “Block by Block,” a platform for viewing, performing, protesting, playing—and for simply enjoying life on the block.

If the opening night event is any indication, these experiments are working and the showcase project, Block by Block, will be an invitation for a diverse group of people to engage with each other and their city for months to come. Proving once again that when you build it, people will sit, talk and enjoy the city.

We look forward to working with the Luggage Store Gallery in the coming year to document and evaluate the project’s impact over time.

Funding for Light Up Central Market came from a $100,000 Kenneth Rainin Foundation grant, with additional support by Group I and Craig Young & Ross Stackhouse of The Hall.

Top photo: Shelley Trott, Katie Fahey and Adriana Griñó of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Arts Program team; Marisha Farnsworth, Block by Block designer; and Laurie Lazer and Darryl Smith, co-directors of The Luggage Store Gallery.

Light Up Central Market gallery of images

"Block by Block" doing its job of getting people to pause and talk.

Photos by: Stephanie Secrest

Location of Projects


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