WAM Instructor Heidi Trefethen teaches an Intro to Audio Production class at WAM Studios | Photo by WAM.
Arts nonprofits Women’s Audio Mission & PUSH Dance find a new home in SoMa
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2022
San Francisco, California
San Francisco, CA –Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) announced today that nonprofits Women’s Audio Mission and PUSH Dance Company will be joining CAST as its newest tenants at the historic Dempster building at 447 Minna.
“Moving into 447 Minna/SoMa as a minority woman-led organization brings stability and growth to our organization,” said Raissa Simpson, PUSH Founder and Artistic Director. “SoMa has always been a creative haven for PUSH; now, through our partnership with CAST, we’re able to initiate a BIPOC sanctuary.”
For PUSH, having this “sanctuary” is part of a greater vision: BΛSE, a significant endeavor to create a homebase that shares reparative and restorative dance practices through classes, workshops, residencies and performances. Their plan is to occupy the entire 3rd floor, comprising over 2,400 square feet of affordable rate access equipped with two dance studios and office spaces that are ADA compliant to enhance accessibility to artists with disabilities. The primary focus of the space will be to provide a refuge for BIPOC individuals and artists where PUSH can continue its practice of creating multidisciplinary works that examine issues of identity and intersecting cultures through performance.
Settling in on the 4th floor is another groundbreaking nonprofit organization, Women’s Audio Mission (WAM), which will share the space with CAST’s headquarters.
“Women’s Audio Mission has spent 20 years weaving into the fabric of the music and arts ecosystem in San Francisco,” said WAM Founder and Executive Director Terri Winston. “We are especially excited to expand that presence with CAST to the 447 Minna Street building near our recording studios, essentially creating a music production pipeline in SoMa and adding more opportunities to present local artists’ performances and workshops in the black box theater.”
The 115-year-old Dempster building was donated to CAST by Brookfield Properties as part of a community benefits agreement with the City for the 5M mixed-use development bound by Mission, Fifth and Howard Streets. This will be CAST’s third building acquired for the exclusive use of arts and culture, and its fourth project in San Francisco. In addition to 447 Minna, CAST owns buildings that currently house CounterPulse, an experimental theater on Turk Street; the Luggage Store Gallery on Market Street; and operates the Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse in the Excelsior, leased to youth arts organization Performing Arts Workshop.
“We’ve come a long way from first touring an empty home for doves and pigeons and Examiner archives in 2015 to a state-of-the-art cultural center for possibility and dreams in 2022,” reflected Moy Eng, CAST CEO.
After nearly two years of renovations to transform the 10,000 square foot industrial building into a vibrant arts and cultural hub, 447 Minna has been adapted to accommodate a variety of arts uses, from dance performances, screenings, exhibitions, and pop-ups, to more intimate readings, lectures, and workshops. With a modern black box theater, high-tech conference room, box office, and direct access to an outdoor stage at the Park at 5M–which will host programming by CAST in partnership with Brookfield Properties–CAST aims to create a lively indoor/outdoor space that wraps around locals’ experiences.
“In collaboration with our resident companies and local cultural and community leaders, CAST is honored and excited to steward this new cultural space in and for the SoMa community and beyond,” said Moy.
Creating opportunities for creative connection between the neighborhood, PUSH, WAM, and other visiting artists or groups renting space is all part of CAST’s vision. The potential for synergies at 447 Minna is vast; among the prospective programs in development this year are a community mural for the building’s exterior and a collective naming process that will invite local residents, community leaders, and arts and cultural stakeholders to choose a new name beyond the address that captures the building’s creative reinvention.
Learn more about 447 Minna at: 447minna.com.
Catherine Nguyen, CAST Director of Communications
T: (415) 556-9888, ext. 111
ABOUT COMMUNITY ARTS STABILIZATION TRUST (CAST)
Community Arts Stabilization Trust was established on the belief that the arts drive dynamic, vibrant, and diverse communities. Founded in 2013, CAST is a nonprofit that creates long-term solutions to acquire, develop, and provide safe, affordable workspaces for artists and arts organizations in San Francisco, Oakland, and other urban settings. Bringing together technical assistance, real estate expertise, and innovative financing vehicles, CAST leverages public-private sector partnerships to execute its mission of stewarding space for arts and culture. For more information, visit cast-sf.org and follow @CASTSF on Instagram and Twitter and @SFCAST on Facebook.
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