Emily Garvie
Performing Arts Workshop

Performing Arts Workshop Selected as Program Partner for Geneva Powerhouse
June 15th commission meeting approves funding and partner negotiations

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Performing Arts Workshop has been selected to become the sole occupant and primary program provider at the soon-to-be renovated Geneva Powerhouse. On June 15, 2017 the Commission approved the SF Rec and Park Department to enter a negotiation agreement with Performing Arts Workshop (the Workshop) to provide arts education and cultural programming at the site.

Workshop executive director Emily Garvie expressed her enthusiasm for her organization’s role in responding to a decades-old need for cultural programing for youth: “We are thrilled to bring a new range of arts programs to youth in the Excelsior and OMI [Ocean View/ Merced Heights/ Ingleside]. We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves, deepen connections with neighbors, and get to work in the new and beautiful cultural and youth arts facility that they so deserve.”

Located in the City’s District 11, Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse is the last physical reminder of the City’s first electric railway system. First owned by private railway companies and then by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA), it was occupied until 1989, at which time it was heavily damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake. When it was scheduled to be demolished in 1998, the community organized to convince then Mayor Willie Brown to save the building. Later, the ownership was transferred to SF Rec and Park Department in early 2004 with the goal to create a recreational space for youth and families, especially for arts-related youth development.

The Workshop was recommended by a selection panel for its 40 years of service to District 11 youth, strong track record of partnerships with public agencies, effective and culturally-responsive programing, and healthy financial standing. Each year, the Workshop artists conduct more than 270 residencies in world dance, music, spoken word poetry, and theater.

“While we’ll continue to conduct residencies throughout the Bay Area, this move to the Powerhouse represents a return to our roots and a deepening of long-cherished partnerships with District 11 schools and community centers. All of us at the Workshop take this unique public-private partnership, and our stewardship of this cultural and historic gem, as a great honor,” says Garvie.

SF Rec and Park announced on June 15, 2017 that the Department has secured more than $11 million to renovate Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse. This will develop more open space and preserve the historic and cultural resources at the site. The project will be funded by diverse revenue streams including $2.7 million in general fund secured by former District 11 Supervisor John Avalos and current District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí; $3.5 million in Historic Preservation and New Market Tax Credit Funds; and a $1 million pledge by the Community Arts Stabilization Trust.

Says Supervisor Safaí, “The Geneva Powerhouse renovation will restore this historical landmark and create one of the premiere performing arts and cultural centers in San Francisco, right here in District 11, home to the largest number of children under the age of 18 living in San Francisco.”

About Performing Arts Workshop: Performing Arts Workshop is a nonprofit organization established in 1965 with a mission to help young people develop critical thinking, creative expression and essential learning skills through the arts. Today, the Workshop brings sequential arts instruction grounded in inquiry and reflection to more than 4,200 students ages 3-18 each year. Our artists conduct 11-60 session residencies in world dance, music, spoken word poetry, and theater arts. To advance equity in education, we prioritize working with communities with fewer arts education resources available to them.