The African American Arts & Culture Complex is a vital resource in San Francisco, adding to the city’s rich culture and diversity. We provide a space in San Francisco and beyond for cross-cultural understanding through the celebration of African and African American experiences and history. We are dedicated to community change by fostering a commitment to service and activism through Afro-centric artistic and cultural performance, exhibition and programming. Our 34,000 sq. ft. facility houses an art gallery and three art exhibitions spaces, a 203 seat theater, a recording studio, library and archives of African American history, two dance studios and other multi-purpose space.
The center offers visual and performing arts programs and classes including music, dance, theatre, audio recording, and arts and crafts. We also offer affordable performing arts venues for a host of community events, meetings, performances, art exhibits, trainings and conferences. The space also serves as a home to some of the most respected performing arts organizations in the Bay Area, including the AfroSolo Theatre Company, the African American Shakespeare Company and Cultural Odyssey. Other resident organizations include the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, the San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, and Community Grows.
The African American Art & Culture Complex has enjoyed a long and storied history in San Francisco.
The building itself was originally home to Acme Brewing Company, but has long been a home for the arts as well as a cultural and community hub. In 1967, the San Francisco Arts Commission began its Neighborhood Arts Program, the objective of which was to serve community organizations anxious to involve themselves and their communities in the arts. Communities across the city took great interest in this, including the Western Addition neighborhood, and by the mid-1970s the San Francisco Arts Commission began holding hearings in different neighborhoods which laid way for plans to create cultural centers across the city. The City established several cultural centers, one of which was housed in this building, 762 Fulton Street. It was originally called the Western Addition Cultural Center. Many great artists such as Danny Glover, Robert Henry Johnson, Cindy Herron, Jewelle Gomez, Delroy Lindo, and Bobbie Webb have graced its stage and hallways over the years.
In July 1989, Supervisor Willie B. Kennedy forwarded a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that urged the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco to consider the sale or long-term lease of the Western Addition Cultural Center to better reflect the needs of the community in terms of programming, management and operations. The resolution passed unanimously.
Ms. Geraldine Johnson helped shape the preliminary draft legislation and efforts began in earnest to forge a new entity – a cultural center that would serve the community for generations to come. The community turned to the leadership of the Wajumbe Cultural Institution, Inc., and the San Francisco African American Historical Society - two of the oldest African American cultural organizations in San Francisco. A new non-profit corporation was formed in 1989 - the Center for African and African American Art and Culture. Since then, the name of the center has changed, but our mission and values remain the same: to provide a space in San Francisco and beyond for cross-cultural understanding through the celebration of African and African American experiences and history.
Today, the African American Arts & Culture Complex is a vital resource in San Francisco, adding to the city’s rich culture and diversity. We serve not only San Francisco’s African American community, but also the entire San Francisco Bay Area, as well as tourists.