Reprinted from the original article by Hoodline.
By Steven Bracco - Published on April 17, 2023.
After a couple of false restarts, the Castro Art Walk returned earlier this month after a nearly year-long hiatus.
Along with the relaunch of the art walk, event organizers have dubbed the area the "Castro Art District."
Castro Art Walk co-organizer Max Khusid, who owns gallery Art House SF (2324 Market Street), tells Hoodline they created the new district to "help the area recover and push the arts and artists of this wonderful city back to the forefront."
Castro Art Walk co-organizer Max Khusid (left). | Photo courtesy of Max Khusid
Khusid, who's also a Castro Merchants board member, teamed up with Steffan Schlarb from Schlomer Haus Gallery (2128 Market Street), Kalie Capadona from 2358 MRKT Gallery, Mike Gonzalez from MAG Galleries (3931 18th Street), and Joe Titi from The Artist’s Gallery (4406 18th Street) to relaunch Castro Art Walk.
Hoodline readers will recall Castro Art Walk returned for one month in December 2021 after a 20-month pandemic-induced hiatus and then again in June 2022. Since that time the event went dormant.
At the time, Suzie Jennings from Spunk Salon took over from longtime Castro Art Walk organizer Angie Stitcher, former owner of Spark Arts (4229 18th Street). However, the event was unable to gain traction due to ongoing issues with the pandemic.
Photo courtesy of Max Khusid
"We had a number of art galleries either closed down or were in hibernation in the Castro in the last few years, primarily because of the pandemic," explained Khusid about the hiatus. "A couple of attempts to bring it back didn’t have enough of critical mass, especially for a consistent monthly event."
With the opening of Art House SF, Schlomer Gallery, 2358 MRKT, and MAG Galleries, Khusid says Castro Art Walk is ready to come back for good this time.
"We decided to join forces and collaborate to make The Castro the arts district in San Francisco," said Khusid. "Each of the members of The Castro Arts District pitches in, and that's the only way we think we can make it sustainable and long-lasting."
The self-guided walking tour includes 13 stops throughout the Castro and Upper Market neighborhoods including: Schlomer Haus Gallery, Blackbird, The Academy, Photoworks, 2358 MRKT, Mikroblack, Art House SF, Artists' Gallery, Blush! Wine Bar, Queer Arts Featured, Ruby's Clay Studio & Gallery, MAG Galleries, and Poesia.
"I was pleasantly surprised and excited by the turnout," said Khusid about the event. "It was just our first one in a long time and not as many people knew about it coming back, yet we had a great turnout, 30-40 people reported at each location and people kept on coming."
"It was very encouraging to see that San Franciscans are ready to come out of hibernation mode and make San Francisco San Francisco again," added Khusid. "The exciting, crazy, cool, eclectic, artsy, queer, weird, fun, one-of-the-kind San Francisco."
Looking toward upcoming events, Khusid said, "We’d like to continue raising the bar of the Art Walk. More art galleries plan to have their art openings on that evening."
Khusid explained that they've expanded art in the Art Walk to include not just fine art, but also photography, performance art, pottery, live music, dance, live painting, and other forms of art.
Khusid said Castro Art Walk returns every first Friday of the month. The next event is set for Friday, May 5.