Josette Melchor spends much of her time devising ways to lure art lovers into the contemporary exhibition space she runs in downtown San Francisco, halfway between the city’s Civic Center and bustling Union Square.
She also spends time making sure other people stay out.
“We don’t have open doors, ever. They’re always locked,” said Melchor, whose Gray Area Foundation for the Arts sits at the convergence of the Tenderloin and Mid-Market, two of the city’s most downtrodden neighborhoods. “We must see 100 crimes every week out of these windows, and although the city wants it to change, it hasn’t happened.”
The foundation’s arrival in 2009 was heralded as the start of a trend that would culminate in a unique creative hub along Market Street, one of San Francisco’s busiest thoroughfares, where the wide sidewalks are packed most days with tourists, street performers and employees from the nearby financial district.
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