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Artists are Painting the Boarded up Businesses in SF

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Street artists are used to wearing face coverings and spending long hours alone.   In San Francisco, not even a pandemic is enough to stop artists from beautifying our city.

Artist Nora Bruhn, paints the boarded up Chez Maman in Hayes Valley. Photo by Lisa Vortman

Arts organizations Building 180 and Art for Civil Discourse, are reaching out to SF businesses and SF artists to turn all our boarded up businesses, into art.  ‘We’re calling it ‘Paint the void‘, says Building 180’s co-founder Shannon Riley, “we see all those boarded up doorways, as potential canvases.”

Riley, and an initial group of SF artists are teaming up with sf restaurants, bars, and small businesses who were forced to close due to coronavirus, and who erected wooden barriers to protect their livelihoods while they sheltered in place.

This is what Chez Maman looked like before the Paint the Void project. The entire block, like many in our city, is full of bleak, boarded up storefronts like this.

Let’s turn all of our boarded up storefronts into art.  Let’s give our small businesses a gift while they suffer through this time.  We have an opportunity to turn all of our commercial boulevards into art walks, every street can be a Clarion Alley, while we wait this virus out.

Chez Maman is starting to look better already, even with the murals half finished.  Artists Nora Bruhn & Max Ehrman AKA E.O.N. 75

Building 180 is looking for artists and small businesses who want to turn their boarded up entryways into art.  

Are you an Artist? signup here to Paint a Storefront 

Do you have a Business? Signup Here to Get your Storefront painted

Artists Cleng Sumagaysay and Carmela Cucueco painted Wild Feather in Lower Haight. Photo Alex Mak

Here’s is just a short list of the artists and businesses currently painting their storefronts, these projects are sponsored by money raised from you, the community.   Those funds go directly to paying for all the artist’s supplies and matching them up with a local business.  The artists are donating their time and skills, all we need to do is get them the paint and PPE!

Obviously, this isn’t an excuse to break the social distancing ordinance, so stay 6ft apart, and wear a face covering when in public.  DO NOT, crowd around murals, and do not approach artists while they work.  But, for those times when you need to to leave your home to do something essential, or for when you’re simply gazing outside your window or looking a photo galleries of our city, you will see art, as apposed to destitution.

You can help get your street painted too, by donating to 

The murals have started going up in Hayes Valley, Dogpatch, Mission and on up and down Haight Street, now the project is setting its sights on the rest of San Francisco.   LoHaMNA has also started collaborating with artists to paint storefronts in the Lower Haight!

Artist Cameron “Camer1” Moberg painted YH Beijing -partnered with LoHaMNA

Artist Duser

Artist Holly Ellis painted Idle Hand Tattoo.  Photo Alex Mak

Artist unknown, Danny Coyles, photo Alex Mak

Donate to sponsor an artist: Paint the void Donate Page

Are you an Artist? signup here to Paint a Storefront 

Do you have a Business? Signup Here to Get your Storefront painted for FREE

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

If you're a writer, artist, or performer who would like to get your work out there, or if you've got a great product or service to promote, we've got 120k social followers and really fun ways to reach them. We make noise for our partners, and for our community. alex at


  1. April 21, 2020 at 11:31 am — Reply

    These are wonderful. Thanks for rounding them up.

  2. beabluemeanie
    April 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    This is wonderful! Why doesn’t t San Francisco city government create a new WPA? Not only private business, but all of us contributing to the general welfare? It was done nationally in The Great Depression. Now locally seems to be the answer. Why not begin creating the new government we want now? It seems to me that it’s time for the Green New Deal in S.F.. Pay the artists to paint the voids andpreform on street corners and dance 6′ apart dow the street!

  3. April 23, 2020 at 3:33 pm — Reply

    great to see this finally start to happen in SF. Vancouver, Seattle, Las Vegas all ahead of the game on this one.

    donations of house paint are highly useful to these lonely artists out in the elemtns.

    if you go and show your support in person, please DO NOT jeopardize their project; please observe strict social distancing and wear a mask. these efforts attract gawkers and news media.

  4. Raven Meadows
    April 23, 2020 at 4:27 pm — Reply

    I invite them down here to 3rd @ Mission… to beautify the City half block long boarded sidewalk underneath The Four Seasons That would be awesome! And the California Historical Society, and The Grove..both could use a touch up!

  5. Peter J Logan
    April 23, 2020 at 4:33 pm — Reply

    Way cool.

  6. Lesley
    April 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm — Reply

    I live on Hayes Street and am so grateful to these wonderful artists for making our street of desperation into a street of inspiration. Thank you all so much. I hope when we get out of this there will be an exhibition somewhere to show us all this wonderful work….
    Surely someone will make a book whether virtual or hard copy of all these marvelous artworks.

  7. Christine
    July 9, 2020 at 10:32 am — Reply

    This is a wonderful, inspiring idea. I just hope it stays artful and doesn’t turn into an opportunity to politicize everything. There is enough depressing things going on, and it would be nice to just get away from negative thoughts for an instant. Beautiful artwork.

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