Since founding its original location on Harmon Street eight years ago, Firehouse Art Collaborative has built a revolutionary community of artists by doing one simple thing: not changing. While the community has grown and evolved, the mission statement remains uncompromised. "We believe in collaboration not competition, and being inclusive over exclusivity," said Tom Franco, executive director. The collaborative, which originally sprang from the desire to provide a place for artists to go following art school to avoid a sense of isolation, has expanded to include the healing arts, performers, and food crafters, among others. As such, it encompasses multiple live-work locations; a new space can now be up and running in a year, without the use of grants or other outside funding, and the atmosphere of collaboration and investment in the community is undeniable. Artists work together on pieces, which are shown in Franco's Co-Lab shows, and come together to put on weekly bazaars at the Adeline location with the mission of making their work, and the arts, 100-percent approachable for the general public. A new venture into microstorefronts furthers this idea of approachability, with artists able to sell their work to the public while generating excitement together and sharing the responsibility of the lease. Look for an expansion into Oakland, large sculpture installations in Emeryville, and possible collaborations with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the future.
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