The San Francisco Unified School District plans to develop a new Arts Center that includes an historic city buidling at 135 Van Ness Ave. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

The San Francisco Unified School District plans to develop a new Arts Center that includes an historic city buidling at 135 Van Ness Ave. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

SFUSD Arts Center will be a legacy landmark

When talking with someone who doesn’t have kids in our city’s public schools, I’m sometimes reminded that some people assume we don’t offer arts and music education. We do, at every grade level, in multiple disciplines.

In fact, we’ve been growing our arts programs for years. And we recently received a huge boost in our plans to further develop arts and music offerings to all students in the San Francisco Unified School District.

On Nov. 8, San Francisco voters approved $100 million to kickstart development of a new SFUSD Arts Center, including a new home for the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, to preserve and promote music and art. That will be added to the tens of millions already raised, with plans for more private and public investments to come.

The center we envision will take up the entire city block, including the historic 135 Van Ness Ave., a landmarked building that was once a high school but now badly needs repair and retrofitting. The new Arts Center will be a legacy landmark for all of San Francisco.

Why that spot? We want Asawa SOTA students and tens of thousands of others served by the Arts Center to be near the thriving arts hub of the Civic Center. Our students would neighbor Davies Symphony Hall, SFJAZZ and San Francisco Opera and Ballet, allowing for rich learning opportunities and partnerships.

This center will be far more than an arts high school. It will nurture, create, inspire and connect artists, teachers, students and community members and include studio and rehearsal space, artists-in-residence and a network of art teachers and interns.

This project will contribute to the strength and integration of arts throughout our curriculum. It is also an investment in the diverse, creative culture and character of San Francisco. Providing our students and school communities access to a thriving Arts Center as part of their core school experience will foster generations of artists and arts audiences to come.

So, next time you hear someone wonder aloud about arts in San Francisco’s public schools, you can take pride in saying the SFUSD has always prized and protected arts and music education. And pass along the buzz that exciting plans are in the works to create a world-class Arts Center that will bring students from across The City to create, experience and appreciate art in school and for decades to come.

Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott leaves the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Brannan Street and Jack London Alley in the South Park area on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chief Scott issues rare apology to man shot by SF police

Officer says he ‘did not intend for his firearm to go off’

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Most Read