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What is next for [freespace]?

The future of [freespace] remains uncertain, but the spark that [freespace] has ignited will not be put out with the closure of 1131 Mission Street. The movement has begun, and what comes of it is up to everyone. As the month comes to a close, everyone is wondering what is next?

Over the course of the past few months, a community driven, inclusive, dynamic makerspace has been created in San Francisco yet the movement is one of global capacity. [freespace] would like to see similar spaces all over the world, and is well on its way of doing so.

[freespace] is part of an intentional movement to make mutli-use spaces accessible to all everyone and to create community where it once did not exist. [freespace] was created out of a desire to create a space that has open ended possibilities and requires no money. The unique approach to the combination of money, structure and community engagement that [freespace] takes is essential to the creation of similar spaces worldwide.

The social civic experiment was originally set to end at the end of June, but due to an immense amount of support it was extended by one month. At the end of July, when [freespace] was set to close, the organizers took a moment to reflect on the success of the project thus far and to decide how to proceed. The leaders of [freespace] had to decide whether to ride this wave of momentum and support or stop and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Everyone was curious about what the future held for [freespace].

While the physical space was not open in August and September, activity was still buzzing in the [freespace] community. The projects that had been started over the summer were still going strong. While the building was closed, [freespace] took a few months to breath, process and plan for the future. Should [freespace] remain as a physical, permanent space in San Francisco, or should [freespace] assist in the creation of a global movement of makerspaces? Both of course.

When [freespace] opened again at the beginning of the month, the immense community support was still there. Some of the original people that were fundamental to the success in the beginning had moved on to other projects and careers were due to, at least in part, to their participation and work with [freespace]. One of the many beautiful aspects of [freespace] are the opportunities that have arose for [freespacers] as a direct result of their participation. There were also many fresh faces, eager to participate in any way the could.

[freespace] has open-sourced their codes to make creating a [freespace] as accessible as possible. [freespace] web guru Jaki Levy has created a how-to guide (with a simple 7 step process to create your own [freespace] website), wordpress theme and a badging and presence system that has been posted on github repo so anyone from anywhere in the world will be able to utilize the tools that [freespace] has created in creating their own [freespace] website. Anyone can use it as is, or modify it to more closely align with their specific [freespace]. [freespace] will be able to track the changes and iterations of the tools.

The website is not the only aspect of [freespace] that is open-sourced. Co-founder Hunter Franks created a toolkit that explains in detail the key ingredients necessary to the creation of a successful [freespace]. Locating a physical space can be the hardest part, but the toolkit has helpful suggestions for the best way to go about locating a space. The toolkit also explains how bring the community together in this shared space, the importance of harnessing the amazing energy of volunteers. Of course, what kind of impact you want to have on your community depends on the projects and programming of the community itself.

One goal is to get a [freespace] on every continent for the World Cup in 2014. Like the original [freespace], the goal is to bring the community together in a space open to everyone. In 2014, the World Cup falls just two weeks after the National Day of Civic Hacking which will be the one year anniversary of the day that inspired the birth of [freespace].

There are already a few places lined up, and many more are expected to pop up closer to the event. The set up could be simple; all that is needed is some way to show the world cup games. All over the world people will come together in these shared spaces and have a uniting experience of watching a game that people all over the world are watching at the same time therefore broadening the [freespace] community to a global scale.

[freespaces] are already popping up all over the world. [freespace]s in Bristol, Bogota and Paris are already underway. Chole Faith discovered [freespace] while travel around the US. She was very inspired by what she saw and changed her travel plans to spend more time in San Francisco at [freespace]. “It was the people that inspired me, lots of bright eyed souls who were open and interesting, interested, alive and adventurous and full of potential and possibility,” says Faith,” It was too the variety in what the space offered, the fun of the parties and events, the garden and murals- the beautifying of the space was very inspiring and the spontaneity that emerged.”

While the Bristol [freespace] has not officially opened yet, there have been many meetings and discussion as to how to metamorphosize [freespace] in the UK. A space has been offered to them and they are working on finalizing the details.

This is the conclusion of a successful first experiment, however it is by no means the end of [freespace], both as a movement and as a physical space in San Francisco. [freespace] has had such a great impact on the community and the energy that was created will be kept alive the. According to co founder Ilana Lipsett, “We are exploring a few options in spaces we’ve been offered, and want to do what will have the most impact – both on the neighborhood we choose and on the [freespace] community that was created.”

Artist Profile: Tim Lawson

Fallen Angel

By then end of this week, most of the artwork at [freespace] will have been painted over in preparation for moving out. Before that happens we wanted to call attention to a few of the pieces.

I came across artist Tim Lawson painting late into the night on a Tuesday. His canvas stretches between and through two windows that have been seamlessly worked into the piece. His piece, tentatively called Fallen Angel, depicts a young girl with heroin needles all around her. Lawson was inspired to make this piece when saw a young girl strung out on heroin

Close up

outside of the Metreon in the early hours of the morning. This image of a girl so close to her deathbed stuck with him and when he began his piece at [freespace] he soon realized the girl he was drawing was her. The painting depicts this girl with needles floating all around her and wings indicating her proximity to death. Although he saw this girl downtown, he chose to draw her on Valencia Street and uses many identifying markers of the stretch of Valencia street between 16th and 20th.

If you take a step back, the needles make the shape of a skeleton. This is one of are many subtle additions to the piece that you would not comprehend if you did not take the time to study the painting closely. Other aspects to take note of are the direction of the lines on the syringes and the number of fingers the girl has.

Across from Fallen Angel, he has displayed a whole series of his work that illustrate the different mediums Lawson has used over the years. [Freespace] has been a wonderful opportunity for Lawson to hone his painting technique and practice his craft on a large scale. Like many artists at [freespace], Lawson had never done a piece of this size before. He has been working and re working the piece for a long time now. He knows that next week his piece will have to be painted over however he is still putting finishing touches on it. It is the process of creating the piece that inspires him.

Artist Profile: Michael Covington


By Saif Z-Man the F’Artist, write/photographer;documentarian and Zoe Siegel


Michael Covington has been an inspiration for the [freespace] community through his role as art curator of [freespace]. Several of his pieces that grace the walls will be painted over with all of the other artwork when we move out of our space. As the month draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity acknowledge the inspiring art that has come out of [freespace] and the hard work that Covington and all of the other artists have put into making [freespace] a beautifully inspirational place.

Covington began his career in the restaurant industry then seamlessly metamorphosed from chef to artist, a process that he attributes, in part, to being raised by his artist mother and chef father. As a child, he wanted to be an architect. Today, you can see his interest in architecture coming through in the symmetrical patterns with the geometric shapes of his art.

His background in the culinary industry began in fast food, however, he worked hard and learned everything there was to know about food production until, 8 years later, he got the chance to work with celebrity chef Michael Minna. He familiarized himself with the ideology of fine dinning, neo-American and Asian cuisines and dishes with Japanese flare and French taste while also perfecting the arts of color, portions, shape and presentation. He brings his cuisine art knowledge of colors to painting, and unlike many of his contemporaries, he is able to mix his own colors and make shades to reflect the emotions via color. He learned rapidly and held his first show at The World in North Beach in February 2013. A few months later he embarked on a journey with [freespace] as their art curator of [freespace].

Covignton1 Covington’s unique artist process begins with the type of music he listens to which evokes different styles. Heavy metal brings out a gritty vibe while it is more likely that pastel colors will emerge when he listens to easy listening. While the lines and angles make sharp predefined images that may trigger emotions or elicit sharp reaction in a volatile manner, the circular spiral brings about a more cohesive spirit where the nurturing warmth nature of the spiral transforms it’s energy and cradles the angry lines, lullabying all to a mellow agreeable space for growth. Covington believes Da Vinci is one of the greatest artists and his favorite modern artist is Liechtenstein.

Covington works hard to stay busy. He is frequently spotted at SF Temple and MIRUS Gallery, and of course [freespace]. Although he claims he is still finding his place in the world, he feels comfortable where he is at now has a positive outlook on his future. In the future, he would like to combine food and art together and perhaps own a 5 star restaurant where rare and on demand art hang on the wall.

Convington’s passion, drive, persistence and determination show he can only succeed, by not accepting failure. Like many of the greatest successful artists, athletes, researchers or performers, he tends to compete against himself. He feels like he can always do better, hence his work is never done; he is constantly trying to improve so many of his pieces. With such promising possibilities, hope his desires are fulfilled and dreams realized. Good luck Michael Covington, hope we get to see your name among the bright lights soon.

Art and Innovation Tour around [freespace] this Friday



Are you curious about what sort of innovation is going on just outside of the beautiful [freespace] walls? If you have been, you’re in luck! In honor of Innovation month in October, join [freespace] on The Urban Innovation Exchange Arts and Innovation District Tour this Friday, October 11th. Beginning at 10:00am in front of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), this three-hour guided walking tour of the “Central Market Arts and Innovation District” will stop at a variety of organizations such the HUB Bay Area, the San Francisco the United Nations Plaza Federal building, Techshop in addition to many other nodal points in the urban innovation ecosystem of the area.

Of course, no tour of the Central Market Arts and Innovation District would be complete without a stop at  [freespace] . After the event, there will be a discussion and charrette at HUB Bay Area exploring how urban innovation ecosytems manifest on both a local and international scale. The event is put on by [freespace] supporter and partner Urban Innovation Exchange  (UIX) Global, an economic development consulting agency that is no stranger to urban innovation ecosystems. UIX is working on other inspiring events coming up at [freespace] later this month. To register for the tour go click here.

Innovation Month is a month to acknowledge the individuals, civic and private institutions that manifest opportunities for innovation in the San Francisco. It is a partnership between the Office of Civic Innovation and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, shines the light on people who are making innovation a way of life. Innovation month will feature organizations and entrepreneurs that make up today’s generation of thinkers, builders and disrupters. To learn more about innovation month click here.


Stay tuned for more news about great Innovation Month events happing @ [freespace]!