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Market Street Arts Expands Its Public Arts Programming, Launching New Grant Program

Brand new “Make it! on Market” program, and expanded “Busk it!” program.

By: Jul. 09, 2024
Market Street Arts Expands Its Public Arts Programming, Launching New Grant Program  Image
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The Market Street Arts initiative, a program of the Mid-Market Foundation, has announced the expansion of its public arts programming with the launch of Make it! on Market, a new grant program. 

Through a series of grants of up to $5,000 each, Make it! on Market will enable creators, artists, and makers of all kinds to bring art to the Mid-Market community, on the sidewalks of Market Street. In addition to the new program, Market Street Arts has also extended its successful Busk it! program, inviting live performers of all kinds to apply for paid gigs in the neighborhood.

Applications for both programs are now open online at, and are being accepted on a rolling basis. Market Street Arts plans to have Make it! activators on Market Street within the next month. With Make it! on Market, crafters, painters, sculptors, woodworkers, planters, jewelers, and any other makers have the opportunity to share their art with the public, by creating an engaging activity for the community. The program aims to bring artistic expression directly to the streets, creating surprise-and-delight moments for passersby and spurring spontaneous creativity. Grants from $500 to $5,000 are intended to cover the costs of materials, as well as payment to the artist for their time in creating an exciting experience for community members and visitors alike. Applicants can design their program to include anything from a single occurrence to an ongoing series of engagements, and request a grant allotment accordingly. Special attention will be given to proposals that include support of, or partnership with, a Mid-Market business or organization, though it is not required. “Building on the success of Busk it!, Make it! on Market will create hundreds of exciting happenings throughout the year that will encourage the community to try something new, and bring more art into their daily lives,”  said Abra Allan, Director of Creative Engagement for the Mid Market Foundation. “This program is one of the many initiatives crucial to the changing experience on Market Street. Make it! allows us to expand our support of artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs, and showcase unique and only-in-San Francisco experiences on a daily basis.” Market Street Arts launched Busk it! in March 2024 to connect local musicians and businesses on Market Street's sidewalks between 5th and 8th Streets.

The program has featured over 30 performances each month. Originally announced to take place through November 2024, Busk it! is extending into the new year and is opening its applications to all live performers. Nearly one year after the Mid-Market Foundation established Market Street Arts, the collaborative partnership with the City, private donors, and corporate sponsors has activated storefronts with new tenants and activations, and presented weekly Hip Hop on the Plaza workshops and jams and free music festivals like the Psyched Radio Tenderloin Art and Music Festival, in addition to the Busk it! and Make it! programs.

Led by neighborhood stakeholders, businesses, and residents, Market Street Arts is on the way to turning Mid Market into a world-class arts and entertainment district. Steve Gibson, Executive Director of the Mid Market Foundation adds, “In less than a year, Market Street Arts has achieved remarkable milestones: filling vacant storefronts with Creative Hubs and activations, investing $150,000 to bring incredible musicians to perform free sidewalk concerts 10 times a week, and presenting over 150 free, live events. These efforts have paid local artists, increased foot traffic, and brought a wealth of joyful activity to Mid-Market every week.” Market Street Arts initiatives go hand in hand with the Mid Market Tenderloin Community Based Safety Program, staffed by Urban Alchemy, which the Mid-Market Foundation has been managing since 2019, when it was a small privately funded pilot at 6th and Market.    


Market Street Arts represents a range of arts organizations, creative businesses, and social activity in the heart of San Francisco's Historic Theater District. The area on Market Street between 5th and Van Ness is home to five large performance venues, with a collective capacity of more than 16,000. It is where daily life meets artistic expression, from impromptu street performances to awe-inspiring theater shows. Market Street Arts highlights the area's role as a convergence of live music, theater, public art, cultural organizations, and creative entrepreneurship. Market Street connects San Francisco to the greater Bay Area and the world. On any given night, it has served as a playground for San Francisco's cultural scene dating back to 1907. With civic public spaces and activities throughout the year, Market Street is the backdrop for a diverse array of experiences, including world-renowned Pride parades, impassioned political rallies, and social demonstrations. With an array of retailers and cultural organizations, Market Street is a vibrant hub for both budding and renowned creatives and artists, where locals and visitors will discover something new.  

This program is funded by the Mid Market Foundation in partnership with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. 


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