San Francisco has doled out $590 apiece to 158 street artists impacted by the Super Bowl 50 party held at Justin Herman Plaza in February.
The street artists, who must pay for an annual permit from the Arts Commission to sell their wares in designated locations, had complained The City dealt them a financial blow by taking away their vending space area during Super Bowl City. Justin Herman Plaza was closed for the event as well as a portion of the Market Street area, where vendors sell their wares.
Super Bowl City impacted the artists for 24 days, from setup to takedown of the weeklong event leading up to Super Bowl 50 that was played at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7.
Longtime street artist Michael Addario, who received a payment from The City, had advocated for the financial redress. “The Arts Commission basically screwed us,” Addario said Thursday.
Responding to the street artists’ concerns, supervisors Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim passed legislation at the Board of Supervisors on March 22 creating an impact fund in which $100,000 was placed to compensate the impacted vendors.
“San Francisco is The City that knows how to take care of our own tenants,” Peskin said at the time.
Artists had until Monday to apply for the funds. “If it wasn’t for [Peskin and Kim], we wouldn’t have received anything,” Addario said.
The amount street artists received was based on the total amount in the fund divided by the number expected to apply for the funds. The first of the payments were made in June by the City Controller’s Office, which was put in charge of the fund.
A total of 158 street artists received the reimbursements, which totaled $93,220. Other vendors like food carts received a range of amounts totaling $3,134.
Addario estimated the 24-day impact cost people about $2,500 in income. Still, he said of the reimbursement amount, “a lot of people said it really helped.” He added, “Most people say we were lucky to get that.”
For the street artists, the way they felt the Arts Commission treated them for Super Bowl City was another example of the tensions that have long persisted between the two groups. It was also another victory for the street artists who have fought City Hall for the right to sell their wares on the street, most famously with protests in the 1970s.
The Arts Commission did not respond to a request for comment.
Street artists weren’t the only ones to complain about the event. Peskin, Kim and other supervisors argued it was a bad deal and San Francisco shouldn’t have used city money to pay for transit and other services in hopes of being reimbursed through event-generated revenue.
The Super Bowl party cost $9.6 million in city services, more than double the initial estimate, and generated $11.6 million, putting The City in the black by $2 million, according to the City Controller’s cost impact report.
San Francisco will not debate hosting another Super Bowl party any time soon. The NFL announced in late May the locations of the next five Super Bowls, and Santa Clara did not make the cut. Instead, next year Houston hosts the Super Bowl and in the following years it will be held in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Miami and Inglewood, where a new stadium is set to be built. Aaron PeskinBoard of SupervisorsJane KimPoliticsSan FranciscoSB50small businessstreet artistsSuper Bowl 50