CounterPulse within reach of building purchase

CounterPulse within reach of building purchase

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2022 

San Francisco Bay Area / Performing Arts / Real Estate

Establishing a permanent home for arts in San Francisco’s overheated real estate market

SAN FRANCISCO, CA —  At a time when arts spaces are struggling to maintain their foothold in San Francisco due to the high cost of real estate, one extraordinary performing arts nonprofit is poised to purchase its building. In 2016, CounterPulse opened the doors of a freshly renovated theater in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco in partnership with a new real estate initiative called Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST). Since then, CounterPulse has succeeded in raising $5.5 million towards the acquisition of its building from CAST and aims to raise $1.5 million more in order to purchase its building this July. CounterPulse will be the first of its kind to acquire a building through this new national model of sustainability for the arts. 

“It was a dream and we are so close to making it come true. Experimental, interdisciplinary arts need a permanent home in San Francisco,” said Julie Phelps, CounterPulse’s Artistic and Executive Director. “We are an example of how communities can benefit if the arts are equitably resourced in community development initiatives. We’re asking our community to rally behind us, support the arts in the Bay Area, and push us past the final threshold to buy our building.”   

CounterPulse has been an indispensable mainstay of experimental arts in San Francisco for more than 30 years, collaborating with locally and internationally renowned artists such as Bill T. Jones, Joanna Haigood, Meg Stuart, Faye Driscoll, Sara Shelton Mann, Keith Hennessy, Jess Curtis/Gravity, Monique Jenkinson, Mica Sigourney, and countless others. For the past 6 years, CounterPulse has been thriving in its location at 80 Turk St. in San Francisco, bringing together artists and audiences from around the globe to create and experience artworks spanning art + tech to social practice projects co-created with local Tenderloin residents. 

“It has been transformational to have CounterPulse as an anchor institution on the unit block of Turk Street,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney. “Their collaborative spirit and commitment to the community has made a tremendous difference, and we hope they will continue to add to and to honor the rich legacy of art and cultural vibrancy in the Tenderloin.  As a resident of the Tenderloin, I am incredibly excited and fully in support of CounterPulse achieving this historic acquisition, so that they can continue to enrich the Tenderloin, San Francisco, and the rest of the Bay Area with critical community space and programming for decades to come.” 

The campaign has raised nearly $1.2 million in the last six months thanks to lead funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Lucy Milligan Wahl & Andrew Vaillancourt Wahl, and the CounterPulse Board of Directors, with additional support by the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation. As such, CounterPulse has made significant progress in the final phase of realizing ownership of its building. 

“At a time when commercial rents were soaring and pockets of San Francisco were being transformed, CounterPulse was an ideal arts partner to pilot our first real estate projects,” reflected CAST CEO Moy Eng. “Our goal is to create permanent spaces for arts and culture to endure, so to see CounterPulse accomplish what they have these last seven years and reach this moment is thrilling.” 

The impressive remodel of CounterPulse’s building was led by Jensen Architects, who turned the 10,000-square-foot former adult theater into a fully ADA-accessible, internationally renowned space for contemporary arts and performance. The purpose-built facility established CounterPulse as an anchor for artistic production in downtown San Francisco. 

CounterPulse will host its annual Innerspace Art Party & Auction on Saturday, May 7, 2022, where it will invite communities to support them in reaching the final threshold of their fundraising goal. The event will feature performance installations throughout the building and guest speakers including artists, community members, and City representatives.

You can help CounterPulse secure its stage at 

About CounterPulse

CounterPulse is a dynamic movement of experimental art that sparks personal transformation and builds enduring community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture. CounterPulse acts as a catalyst for art and action – creating a forum for the open exchange of art and ideas; sparking transformation in our communities and our society. We work towards a world that celebrates diversity of race, class, cultural heritage, artistic expression, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We strive to create an environment that is physically and economically accessible to everyone. 

Media Contact:  Grey Tartaglione, CounterPulse Communications Director, • +1 (415) 626-2060

Links: Press Photos & Descriptions • More Information about CounterPulse’s Capital Campaign

Additional Quotes of Support:

  • “I am so impressed with how sophisticated CounterPulse has been in building the partnerships and networks to achieve this monumental success. The Foundation is honored to be partnered with an organization that is pushing the boundaries of creativity in the arts locally and globally.” – Shelley Trott of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

  • “CounterPulse has been a beacon of light for our community during the pandemic and gives a bold vision for the kinds of spaces we want to see in the Tenderloin. We are excited to continue to work with their team to celebrate the wide diversity of the artists who live and work in this neighborhood and to create a home for our communities’ artistic expression, community dialogue, and cultural character.” – Aria Said, Transgender District Co-Founder & President 

  • “The renovation of CounterPulse’s building forced us to embrace a beautiful dichotomy: how to design a building that celebrates the historic Tenderloin theater district while trying to do something new to match the kind of innovative programming that CounterPulse brings to the neighborhood. We successfully turned the former vaudeville theater into a modern home for today’s most innovative artists and performers.” – Frank Merritt, Principal of Jensen Architects


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