Market Street Prototyping Festival Announces New Submission Deadline

Artists, Builders, and Makers Called to Help Change the Face of Market Street


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In an effort to make San Francisco’s premier civic street a more active, engaging and inspiring public space, The San Francisco Planning Department and The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts have teamed up to announce an open call for submissions to the first-ever Market Street Prototyping Festival. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is supporting the event toward creating a model for street redesign and neighborhood redevelopment in the communities where it invests.

Held from April 9th-11th 2015 across two miles of public sidewalk space along Market Street, the Festival will showcase the most exciting and innovative ideas that encourage greater connection to and enjoyment of Market Street. Dubbed “prototypes,” idea submissions will come from a broad range of local artists, students, architects, builders and makers. An initial iteration of the Festival was scheduled to coincide with the Technology Horizons 2014 Conference held in San Francisco this October, but was later rescheduled for April 2015 to allow for deeper public involvement.

“Our goal in creating the Market Street Prototyping Festival is to give the public a meaningful role in helping change the way we all connect and interact with each other along Market Street,” says Neil Hrushowy, Manager of the City Design Group at the San Francisco Planning Department. “By calling for prototype submissions from all walks of life and by letting the public engage with and give feedback on the prototypes during the three day festival, the entire process is led by, and for, San Franciscans and those that love the City.”

Uniting urban development with the arts is a key element of the Festival, and is reflected in the unique collaboration between the Planning Department and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in making it a reality. “This Festival brings together the creativity and knowledge of artists, designers, planners and community stakeholders,” says Deborah Cullinan, Executive Director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “The imagination and talent of our community should be reflected in our streets. We expect to see true magic and innovation on Market Street in April.”

Submissions are due electronically by October 10th, 2014 and reviewed by a diverse jury of makers, thought leaders and community stakeholders. Winners will be given a $2,000 stipend and a five-month “incubation period” to build, experiment and get feedback from assigned mentors and residents alike in preparation for the festival.

Ongoing mentoring assistance will be given to winners by “Design Captains” – top professionals from leading creation/innovation organizations like The Exploratorium, The Studio for Urban Projects, Gehl Architects, California College of the Arts and Autodesk. “This project is so important in getting the public involved in improving the livability and beauty of Market Street,” adds Festival Design Captain and Exploratorium Project Director Steve Gennrich. “It’s a true honor to represent the Exploratorium as a mentor and help guide these exciting ideas from concept to reality.”

In addition to $2,000 to build their creation and valuable mentoring on their prototypes, selected submissions also gain the priceless opportunity to bring an idea for improving San Francisco to life and the rare exposure of having hundreds of thousands of pedestrians view, experience, and enjoy their work.

The Market Street Prototyping Festival is made possible through a $225,000 grant from Knight Foundation.

For more information, or to submit your idea visit

About Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA)
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), located in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena cultural district, is one of the nation’s leading multidisciplinary contemporary arts centers. With a belief that contemporary art is at the heart of community life, YBCA brings audiences and artists of all backgrounds together to express and experience creativity. The organization is known for nurturing emerging artists at the forefront of their fields and presenting works that blend art forms and explore the events and ideas of our time. As part of its commitment to the San Francisco Bay Area, YBCA supports the local arts community and reflects the region’s diversity of people and thought through its arts and public programming. For more information, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, visit

About San Francisco Planning Department
The San Francisco Planning Department, under the direction of the Planning Commission, plays a central role in shaping the future of our City by generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code. For more information, visit






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