Rising rents forcing San Francisco's South of Market artists to move

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- At least 43 artists say they're the latest victims of the rent crisis in San Francisco, being "pushed out" of their art studios in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. Some of the artists have been there for 26 years.

One artist named Flora Davis called this the end of an era as she learns to pack up 26 years in seven days.

Davis makes jewelry out of cat hair. "Well because I have this cat that has the most super soft hair," Davis said.

Davis rolls her cat, Gaia's, hair into balls and then adds metal or leather.

Davis has been in the SoMa Artists Studios since 1989 and now it's the site of a contentious battle.

In October, the Cultural Action Network staged a white out at the studio, with more than 90 works of art draped in white, saying artists are increasingly being pushed out of the city.

The deadline for the artists to be completely moved out is November 30.

ABC7 News tried to reach the property owner named Nader Heydayian for comment, but his office was empty. We called him and were initially told he was there, only to later be told that he wasn't. He did not call us back.

Some locals are mourning the loss. "Losing artists in San Francisco seems like losing part of San Francisco's soul," San Francisco resident Dan Dreger said.

But not all artists are happy with the protest. One of two lease holders said the publicity has backfired. "Now there seems to be just this huge feeling among the big property owners saying 'whatever you do don't rent to artists, they're just going to cause trouble,'" SoMa artist Jane Grover said.

But Davis said they can't go quietly. "Once the artists are gone they don't come back," she said.
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