Saturday, February 25, 2012

San Francisco Is A Talent Backwater

By now, you know the drill. San Francisco is dying. If you are an artist with big aspirations, then you need to leave to succeed. The Bay Area exodus:

One company is looking to change all of that. Expose SF is an organization which intends to shed new light on San Francisco's art scene. They will do so by promoting local artists through exciting events & social media which will culminate in a large, highly publicized competition.

The creators of this organization, two San Francisco natives and an Italian, began thinking after meeting with curators of upscale galleries in Los Angeles and New York.

“They were discussing a sort of ‘artist brain drain’ that San Francisco is currently going through,” says co-Founder Zack Chen.

“I love my city. My parents moved here from Norway and Hong Kong because they knew that this is one of the best cities in the world. I was not about to sit around and let [San Francisco’s] talent leave for other places.”

What's wrong with San Francisco? What's fueling this brain drain of the Creative Class? I'm guessing intolerance and lack of first class urban amenities. That's what killed Pittsburgh. Shrinking city San Francisco is hurtling towards Rust Belt status.

More seriously, San Francisco is in good company. Similarly, Brooklyn is dying. The migration of artists is much more complicated than Richard Florida suggests. We are witnessing the rise in global prominence of second and third tier cities. You don't have to pay top-dollar to surround yourself with world class talent. Which leaves San Francisco in a pickle. The city is too expensive to be Rust Belt Chic and the quality of the artist scene there doesn't justify the cost. The talent spiral is ever downward or across the bridge to Oakland.

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