San Francisco Art Institute, featuring Diego Rivera mural, sold to nonprofit

San Francisco Art Institute, featuring Diego Rivera mural, sold to nonprofit

The main campus of the bankrupt San Francisco Art Institute, home to a beloved Diego Rivera mural, has been sold to a new nonprofit led by philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs.

The nonprofit, made up of local arts leaders and supporters including Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, purchased the campus, which has been plagued by debt, through a limited liability company. , for about 30 million dollars. The sale, reported previously in The San Francisco Chronicle, includes “The Making of a Fresco Showing the Construction of a City,” a 1931 mural by Rivera, which has been valued at $50 million and will remain in an observation room.

The former school will house an unaccredited institution that will include a residency program where artists will be able to “develop their work and show it,” said David Stull, president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, who is a member of the new nonprofit. . Prevention Committee. He described the new center “as a platform to support artists and create a hub for the community around art.”

Powell Jobs, who declined to be interviewed, has become a potent philanthropic force in recent years as founder and president of the Emerson Collective, which combines investment and donations.

The purchase comes as the institute, which faces a debt of about $20 million, declared bankrupt last April; His two-acre property in the Russian Hill neighborhood was put up for sale last summer.

Artists and city leaders argued that the mural should remain, and San Francisco supervisors designated it as a landmark to prevent its removal.

“San Francisco has long been a center for the development of the arts and continues to be an important center for the development of ideas,” Stull said. “An institution like the Art Institute must be part of that future.”

In addition to Stull, the advisory committee includes Brenda Way, founder and artistic director of the ODC dance company in San Francisco; Lynn Feintech, president of the Los Angeles-based Liberty Building and longtime ODC board member; Stanlee Gatti, event designer and former president of the San Francisco Arts Commission; and Stephen Beal, former president of the California College of the Arts.

“San Francisco has been needing good news and, with macy’s closing and a fatalistic narrative, this is a huge blow to the entire city and county,” said Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Peskin, who said he helped push amendments to the local zoning law through the legislative process to accommodate a renovated institute, says work on the campus is expected to take up to four years. “This is a sign that arts and culture could be part of San Francisco’s recovery,” she said.

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John C. Johnson

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