[freespace] began in June 2013, inspired by the National Day of Civic Hacking and a landlord who gifted a 14,000 square foot warehouse to a group of organizers for $1. (Market rate rent is about $20/square foot annualized in this neighborhood). These organizers turned the building over to the community with the invitation to fill the blank walls with art, and the empty rooms with activities. Over the course of the next 30 days, thousands of people – young, old, teachers, students, techies, creatives, and the curious – came through the doors of the original [freespace] at 1131 Mission St. in San Francisco.
[freespace] hosted 119 free events, saw the creation of over 20 murals, and gained national – and international – attention. In response to the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the community, [freespace] launched a successful Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to pay for rent in July and other operational expenses. For two more months [freespace] remained an open, free, inclusive container for a range of activities, art and experiments in civic innovation and engagement.
The location at 1131 Mission St. shut its doors on October 31, 2013, but not before the [freespace] team won a grant from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to continue its activities in a way that would positively impact the Central Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods as well as its low-income residents.
[freespace] has also been spreading around the globe – with teams planning [freespaces] from LA to Paris to the UK.
Interested in starting your own [freespace]? Contact us for more information to help you get started!