Outdoor Advertising Spaces Become Exhibition Space for San Francisco Artists

San Francisco has a long, vibrant history of being a home to artists, musicians and other creative types.

The city also lies on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the tech world for the last few decades.

This has resulted in tensions arising between San Francisco’s arts community and its high-tech neighbors — and one organization is looking to quell these tensions.

According to the New York Times, a new public organization called Art City aims to reinforce San Francisco’s artistic roots by installing local artists’ works in outdoor advertising spaces like billboards, bus shelters and vinyl vehicle wraps.

Eleven billboards, four buses with vehicle wraps and three bus shelters throughout San Francisco’s Mission District will now display local artists’ works from now until August 17, the New York Times reports.

Luke Groesbeck, the former tech worker who founded Art City, told the New York Times that giving artists an outlet with the exposure that billboards and custom vehicle wraps, which are essentially mobile billboards, boast is an important reminder to the city of its artistic legacy.

“Today, San Francisco has about 7,500 ad spaces, which reach tens of millions of people in a given month,” Groesbeck said. “We’re doing this to illustrate a different possible future, where in each neighborhood we’re instead surrounded by art and contemporary art plays a major role in our lives.”

Outdoor advertising has proven to be one of the most effective and cost-efficient forms of marketing, research shows — especially custom car wraps. More than 95% of Americans have reported seeing a mobile advertisement like vehicle wraps, and these wraps are viewed anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 times in a given day.

This massive public exposure of the arts will help remind San Francisco’s residents of the creative core that their city is essentially built upon, Brett Amory, a San Francisco resident who is a part of Art City, said — which is vital at a time when the city is being gentrified by Silicon Valley workers.

“Artists, musicians and other creatives that make San Francisco what it is are being pushed out,” Amory, an internationally-exhibited artist, remarked. “The Mission District is one of the areas getting hit hardest by this change. It’s a very appropriate place to have art by local artists displayed, as a reminder of what the city is really made of.”

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