Gray Area Revives the Historic Grand Cinema with a New Art & Technology Theater in San Francisco.

After two years of research and development, Gray Area is pleased to announce a permanent home in the Mission District at The Grand Theater, a former 870-seat single screen cinema built in 1940.

“Rehabilitating the Grand Theater marks our renewed commitment to serve as a media arts organization that creates jobs, and a technology lab that fosters community.” Josette Melchor, Executive Director continues, “Gray Area’s Cultural Incubator will enable new practices and modes of production, providing immense civic value and catalyzing economic innovation in San Francisco.

Last year, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Gray Area $100,000 to develop an immersive theater for experimental surround cinema with Recombinant Media Labs. While the grant allowed for us to secure this historic building, we will be raising additional funds from our community and institutional partners.

2665 Mission Street, 1970 courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

Why Does This Matter?

The current real estate market is pricing cultural organizations out of San Francisco. This campaign brings back a historic cinema to the creative community at a critical time in the city’s history.

In the heart of the Mission District, Gray Area Foundation has signed a 10 year lease for the 10,000 square foot Grand Theater.

The project seeks to immerse thousands of people with unforgettable experiences and inspire them to see our world differently.

San Francisco’s rich history and intense energy can serve as fertile ground for arts and technology communities to sit down at the table to collaborate.

Proxy Hayes Valley by Envelope A + D

Building Architecture & Design

Gray Area is proud to partner with architecture firm Envelope Architecture + Design. The team behind the successful PROXY, a Hayes Valley two-block construct that imagines a vibrant focal point for commerce and community. The project utilized mixed use shipping containers to transform a vacant parking lot into a cultural hub. In order to renovate the Grand Theater, Envelope A+D has produced compelling designs that celebrate the historic landmark’s identity while bringing flexibility and modularity to optimize the large open space.

Interior Render by Envelope A + D
Getting up to code.

You Are Invited

Artists have always worked with new materials and technologies. Now consider what a moment this is for contemporary artists as they embrace the world of code, data, and sensors.

From the early Experiments in Art and Technology to modern incubator spaces, cross-industry collaborations help us reimagine the society we live in and the way we express ourselves within it.

As we have learned through the last 7 years at Gray Area, the emergence of a cultural movement stems from a series of improvisations, collisions, and accidents. Adjacent ideas need to meet, dance with each other to eventually find a rhythm through which they can evolve, become one and perform.

Gray Area’s Art & Technology Theater is the stage for imagination and exploration. It is a sandbox for multiple communities to explore, learn, shape new perspectives, think, and create together.

The Art and Technology Theater is 10,000 square feet of possibilities. There are classrooms to learn, a cinema to experience and share, a large open space to meet and collaborate, desks and studios to move forward.