The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has announced that is launching its own LGBTQ Arts Center in the California city.
The Chorus has taken over a $9.6million, four-storey, art deco building at 170 Valencia Street. It will be the first time the Chorus has had a permanent home.
The SF Gay Men’s Chorus is arguably the most famous gay choir in the world. It formed in 1978 and is famed for its performances and recordings.
According to the SF Chronicle, besides acting as a home for the Chorus, the building will evolve into a fully-fledged LGBTQ arts center.
The building dates back to 1930. Former occupants include worshippers of the Baha’i Faith. They used it as a place of worship up until 1976.
The Chorus hope to begin programming events from the fall onwards.
‘The way we envision this space is really being a community space, so being able to bring in more LGBTQ arts organizations,’ said Executive Director Chris Verdugo.
‘As we introduce this into the community, a big piece of that will be aligning ourselves with other various LGBTQ arts organizations who need rehearsal space, who need small performance spaces.’
The purchase of the building has been largely thanks to a $5million donation from a former Chorus member: Terrence Chan.
In a statement, Verdugo praised Chan’s generosity.
‘We are so grateful to Terrence Chan and his life partner Edward Sell who will lead our campaign and our board of directors for their most generous support of this remarkable venture. We look forward to working with and alongside other LGBTQ arts organizations while supporting them in their artistic and advocacy endeavors.’
In the same statement, Chan said, ‘I am particularly excited about the vision for a National LGBTQ Center for the Arts. At this time in our nation’s history, it is vital that we in the LGBTQ community have a home for our art and artists.
‘I am confident that great work will be created in our new home – work that will inspire, engage and educate.’
Amongst those to congratulate the Chorus on their new home is San Francisco’s recently elected mayor, London Breed.
‘Congratulations to @SFGMC on their new home at the old Baha’i Temple on Valencia Street!’ she tweeted. ‘This space will serve as a national arts hub for the LGBTQ community, providing workshops and trainings for artists and performers from all around the globe.’