Arts and Culture Survey

On July 16, 2020, the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District held a focus group to gather ideas about how to preserve the arts & culture of our special, South of Market neighborhood.

To extend the range of ideas, we invite you to submit your own ideas, suggestions, and thoughts on these topics.  Please click the button below to participate:

Arts and Culture Survey


The LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District is a community wide program to collectively envision and develop strategies for sustaining and strengthening our neighborhood in western SOMA as a thriving cultural hub into the future.

Cultural Districts are a formalized collaborative partnership with the City and County of San Francisco to stabilize historic communities at risk of gentrification and displacement. SOMA, a historic neighborhood of nearly 100 years, has been designated as one of 8 Cultural Districts in the City’s new initiative. Our fellow cultural districts include SOMA Pilipinas, Transgender, American Indian, Castro, African American, Japantown and Calle 24 Latino Cultural Districts.

This program is just beginning, and was delayed due to the COVID-19 restrictions and stay at home order. However, we began supplying digital programming for our constituents and stakeholders.

We have begun holding future focus groups digitally on various topics, as well as holding individual interviews with key community members. We will also be hosting a public town hall on August 25, 2020 through Zoom.  

All of these will be synthesized into our District’s “Cultural History, Housing and Economic Sustainability Strategies” – a “CHHESS Report” – which will help guide and inform city policies and Cultural District initiatives over the next three to five years, and beyond .

The CHHESS process is guided by 7 key areas mandated by the City, which are:

        1. Cultural Competency,
        2. Land Use
        3. Arts and Culture
        4. Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability
        5. Economic &; Workforce Development
        6. Tenant Protections, and
        7. Regenerative, Sustainable, Resilient Futures

Arts & Culture

Cultural heritage is the expression of a community’s ways of living through beliefs, customs, practices, artistic expression, and significant places. It inspires community pride and awareness of local historic resources, emboldening a sense of identity and responsibility to society at large. Cultural heritage includes both the tangible, such as a building or work of art, and the intangible, such as a dance or ritual. An example of San Francisco’s tangible Leather & LGBTQ+ cultural heritage is the SF Eagle Bar. Intangible aspects of Leather & LGBTQ+ cultural heritage include the City’s annual Folsom Street Fair. 

The purpose of this Survey is to give attention to the aspects of our unique community in SOMA, in relation to arts and culture. 

We want to attract and support artists, creative entrepreneurs, cultural enterprises, and all people that embody and promote the unique culture of the Leather District, including our history, and displaced venues and people. This also includes methods of community support, programs of consent, educational programs, and advocacy. 

Our survey uses these questions to spark your input:

  • What does “Arts & Culture”  in the SOMA mean to you?
  • What does it look like if our neighborhood is actively engaged in arts and culture?
  • What are the ongoing Leather & LGBTQ arts & culture challenges?
  • What are new or proven strategies that we know of, either in our community or others?
  • Do you believe a community center would benefit our community’s arts & culture in SOMA? 
  • If so, in what ways? (space for adult events, special, educational events, meetings, and other programming
  • Other thoughts?

Current Solutions/Strategies:

These are some of the Arts and Culture-related projects and programs that the LCD is currently pursuing:

        • Sustaining current groups/organizations
        • Supporting Eagle Plaza completion and programming
        • Maintaining and promoting Ringold Alley
        • Putting themed art by local artists on Big Belly Trash Cans throughout SOMA.
        • Cataloging and promoting local murals and street art.
        • Including placemaking elements in the Folsom/Howard Streetscape
        • Developing other placemaking elements & projects
        • Promoting visibility of District art, artists and artisans
        • Planning for creation of a leather cultural and community center building
        • Creating and expanding Artist Roster as a resource
        • Creating self-guided tours of District, both historic and modern

Future Solutions/Strategies:

These are some of the Arts and Culture-related projects and programs that the LCD is looking forward to pursuing over the next three to five years:

  • Create channels for communications and mutual assistance
  • Create or promote uncensored digital platform
  • Activate underutilized spaces and empty storefronts f0r events and pop-ups
  • Activate underutilized spaces through co-creative spaces
  • Maintain centralized calendar for info on events relevant to our community
  • Create interdisciplinary arts opportunities
  • Promote a consistent rhythm of arts events
  • Create a media center
  • Provide coaching
  • Develop online platform / channel to increase interconnectivity, visibility & shopping
  • Assist existing businesses, as well as coaching and incubating emerging businesses
  • Help develop a unified online shopping platform and increase visibility for District businesses
  • Connect struggling artists and businesses to web designers, fundraisers, grants writers, etc.
  • Work to connect artists and businesses with one another & audience