By Jonathan Farrell
Fears of gentrification occurring in the west side of the City do not alarm business owner Brent Wilson, He views it in good terms – the neighborhood being revitalized.
Wilson is part owner and manager of the Streamline Cafe and Art Salon, which is located on Taraval Street in the Outer Sunset District. He and fellow owner Dion Garcia both manage the cafe.
Wilson is excited about an upcoming exhibit that will be at Streamline starting Jan. 19.
“Entitled ‘(Mostly) Rock ‘N’ Roll, 1980-1994’ the exhibit showcases some of photographer Steve Rapport’s best-known, iconic works, which are deep and significant,” he said.
Many of the photographs on display at the gallery are from Rapport’s time working as a freelance photographer for publications like “Rolling Stone,” “Vox,” “The Guardian” and “Sounds.”
During this time, Rapport also worked for several record labels, including CBS, Warner Brothers, RCA, EMI and Polydor.
Wilson is pleased the cafe has become a gathering place for local residents and art lovers since it opened. He said the art cafe is a good fit for the neighborhood because the west side has been historically under-represented. He particularly likes Taraval Street.
“When I got word that the space on Taraval was available I just sensed this was the right time,” he said.
As an architect and building designer as well as an artist and musician, Wilson believed such a venture was possible so, with the partnership of Garcia and help of Dave Quinby and others, he set out to make the cafe a destination.
“Regardless of it being out in ‘the boondocks,’ I’ve always considered the avenues and Ocean Beach to be a destination, not a dumping ground,” he said.
He noted in years past that Golden Gate Park, SF Zoo and the long gone, but legendary, Sutro Baths and Fleishacker Pool are examples of the best of what the west side of San Francisco has to offer.
“The west side was a destination then and it still is today, especially with regards to Ocean Beach,” he said. “Look at how the surfing and recreation culture of the City has grown over the past few years.” He pointed out that there are at least four surf shops in the outer avenues.
Wilson has seen real estate values skyrocket over the past 20 years and, like many artists, he knows what it is like to leave an area because real estate values changed the landscape.
“I used to live in The Mission District,” he said. In the early ’90s, Wilson was a musician in a band and pursuing his artwork; rent was affordable and the pace of life was leisurely. But when the “dot com boom” hit as the 20th century came to a close, the Mission and some other districts of the City became prime areas for real estate development.
Wilson moved to the Parkside District in 2004. Like artist Doug Gorney, who also lives in the avenues, Wilson recognized the area’s unique aspects of natural aesthetics due largely to Ocean Beach.
Gorney’s paintings feature the west side of the City – he appreciates the landscape and the characteristic Doelger-style homes of the Parkside and Sunset districts. He also likes the way the light at the oceanside creates atmosphere and sees it as essential, along with the fog. Gorney’s artwork was featured at the Streamline Cafe this past May. He is considering another showing at some point.
Wilson noted that even before Streamline officially opened as a cafe/gallery, art showings were taking place.
“Whether as a musician or artist I’ve always identified with the arts. That is why having a space like Streamline is important for the community,” Wilson said. “I truly see it as a bridge between art and commerce.”
For more information about the Streamline Cafe and Art Salon, which is located at 3560 Taraval St., as well as the upcoming exhibit starting Jan. 19, go to the website at http://www.streamlinesf.com or call (415) 504-7000.