CounterPulse receives $800,000+ in federal support and breaks ground on new facility

CounterPulse receives $800,000+ in federal support and breaks ground on new facility

Groundbreaking has always been a term we used to describe the artistic work of CounterPulse artists. This is still true of our artists today, however the term has taken on new meaning as we’ve prepared to renovate the dilapidated former porn theater at 80 Turk Street that will be our new home. And now, the much-anticipated moment has arrived… Our New Markets Tax Credit financing has been approved and groundbreaking has commenced!

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Plans have been approved by the SF Department of Building Inspection. Photo: Shamsher Virk

What is a “New Markets Tax Credit” you ask? Well, it’s much more exciting than it sounds. Congress established the New Markets Tax Credit Program in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. Through the program, the US Treasury matches 39% of these new investments. The Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), in partnership with CounterPulse and the Luggage Store Gallery, applied for the program. We were notified just this week that our application was successful and as a result, CounterPulse has received over $800,000 towards the renovation of 80 Turk Street! Add that to the $1.27 million we’ve raised thanks to our visionary seed donors and we have over $2 million to propel us through renovations.

This moment has been a long time coming. CounterPulse began working with CAST in March of 2013 to acquire 80 Turk Street. We’ve spent the past two years designing, planning, and fundraising for our new facility. Today, our dream of creating a permanent home for experimental performing arts in San Francisco is literally taking shape. Demolition crews have entered the building and begun tearing down aged interior walls. They’ve removed the damaged, cinema style seating once used by Dollhouse patrons to prepare for the construction of a brand new, downtown, performance venue with sprung hardwood dance flooring, accessible seating, and a state-of-the-art tech booth.


Artist Director, Julie Phelps, surveys the carnage after day one of demolition in the basement. Photo: Shamsher Virk

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Dollhouse seating is removed to prepare for dance floor construction. Photo: Shamsher Virk


The rallying of our partners, stakeholders, and larger community has been unprecedented, with leadership gifts from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, EPISPACE Foundation, Sakana Foundation, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development, and continued investment of the San Francisco Arts Commission and Grant for the Arts, alongside the in depth support from Northern California Community Loan Fund, Ventura Partners and Jensen Architects. Together, we are building the future of CounterPulse. As we raise beams for our new home, we give thanks to the resounding support we’ve received from our community.

Our innovative partnership with CAST is a response and challenge to the rapid change and upheaval going on throughout the Bay Area. Together we are creating a new model to stabilize the arts and bolster the resources needed for artists to continue creating in San Francisco. We want to prove that our new model for arts stabilization works. Today is a big step in putting our theory into practice.

CounterPulse Board President, Laura Elaine Ellis, expresses her excitement for the future of our organization:

“This is an extraordinary time for CounterPulse.  The Board is heartened by the amazing community support CounterPulse has received, making it possible to begin this journey.  I must also acknowledge the dedicated work of the entire CounterPulse family- staff, board and supporters.  As we celebrate our groundbreaking at 80 Turk, we also celebrate our new Executive Director, Tomás Riley! Working along-side Artistic Director Julie Phelps, their co-leadership is groundbreaking in its own right, together they will build an even stronger foundation for our organization and our future at 80 Turk.”


Our footing is sure, but the work is far from over. Join us as we start to build.
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