Photo: GPS/Flickr

The California Arts Council met on Monday, July 10th for a public meeting to vote on the approval of 14 California Cultural Districts as a way to highlight various neighborhoods’ unique history and presence. Two of those approved, SoMa Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District and the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, are communities based in San Francisco.

“San Francisco continues to be on the forefront of preserving and enhancing neighborhood character, identity and diversity,” Mayor Ed Lee wrote in a statement. “These important cultural assets are a testament to the work of our partners and residents who embody the values of San Francisco.”

According to the California Arts Council’s “Notice of Public Meeting,” the SoMa Pilipinas neighborhood is “home to thousands of Filipinos working in the hospitality, service and financial sectors. The district is a gravitational cultural center for Filipinos in California, who comprise the largest and fast growing API community in a state where 43 percent of the US Filipino diaspora resides.” Meanwhile, The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District holds more than 200 small businesses, cultural and arts events, and more murals than any other part of the city.

So, what will this designation achieve? For five years these two neighborhoods will be given official state certification so that the districts can leverage marketing strategies and branding tools. Each neighborhood will also receive a $5,000 stipend per year for the duration of two years. It may not seem like much in a city bloated with wealth, but hopefully the pilot program works its magic to preserve the neighborhoods’ thriving melting pot spirit.

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