NACC seeks to create a café-cultural center in San Francisco that will become a gathering spot for the indigenous communities of the city.  It will also welcome cultural events by other communities, and welcome the general public.  The café will be a place where visual art
is displayed and sold, where the NACC Spoken Word Series is hosted,
where live music and dance performances are held, and where patrons
will be able to sample delicious indigenous food and drinks. 
More importantly, it will showcase the unique depth and breadth
of indigenous artists in San Francisco, which has long been one
of the most important gathering spots for indigenous people
of the Western Hemisphere.

Currently NACC is one of three official homeless cultural centers in San
Francisco.  For over 15 years it has staged its programs and events
in donated parks, rec centers, cafes, museums, libraries, and public
spaces.  NACC works extensively with collaborative partners such as
other non-profits and city agencies to offer its programs.  Despite its
lack of a gathering spot and home, it has won international acclaim for its
ground-breaking cultural programs, online education programs, and cultural advocacy for indigenous people. 

Cafe Project Details:  Stage One
The cultural café will be located near public transit, such as in the Mission or Mid-Market neighborhoods. The location should appeal to several markets:  indigenous community, SF artists, neighborhood residents, visitors from the Northern California cultural region, and world tourists.  The space is ideally 2,000 square feet, and contains a small preparation kitchen, barista serving area, small performance stage, wall art displays, and various ‘zones’ for patrons.  The kitchen will hold permits by the City to support community catering.  Hours will be from 8 am to 11 pm, with strong emphasis on regular evening cultural events. 

NACC will organize cultural events at the café using existing City funding for cultural programming, as well as proceeds from the cafe. Activities that NACC already supports will be showcased at the café, thus bringing existing audiences into the new space.  These activities include the NACC Spoken Word series, Earth Dance Theater, the Native Spring Festival, the Brush Arbor Girls – a Two Spirit drag act, and gallery showcases for local artists.  NACC would like to incorporate a work training program into staffing for the cultural café to assist young indigenous artists in earning a living and job skills. 

All of the benefits of a cafe/cultural center are extremely important to a healthy and vibrant indigenous community in San Francisco, including the cafe as a gathering spot, creative center, social venue, place to eat our own foods, catering site for community events, job training center, and place for artistic expression.   These are all immediate needs by our community.

We are currently seeking City, State, and Federal assistance to start-up our cafe.  If you know of private assistance or loan programs that may help as well, please contact us (info below).

Café-Cultural Center
Proposed by the Native American Cultural Center (NACC)
San Francisco, 2006

Stage Two

A small cafe is our first and immediate need.  Our second need is to be house in a multicultural community arts complex, complete with class spaces, offices, workshop areas, and rehearsal rooms for artists.  We are encouraging the City to find us such a space in collaboration with other homeless cultural centers, so that we can all benefit from a truly multi-cultural and multi-purpose space.  The City has access to abandoned public facilities and can arrange long term leases for us.  Revenue plans can be developed to offset costs.  Similar plans have been discussed with the City since Prop B for Cultural Centers in 1997. We call on the City to exert arts leadership in this area.

To further discuss this proposal, please contact:

Andrew Brother Elk, Artistic and Executive Director, NACC  415-867-8101
Michael Allen, Program Coordinator, NACC 


All great cultural capitals host some version of the café-cultural center, and NACC specifically honors these predecessors as models for our unique San Francisco concept:

Nuyorican Poet’s Café, New York City
Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural, Los Angeles
Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre and Café, British Columbia
Randolf Cafe, Chicago Cultural Center
Café Valparaiso at La Pena, Berkeley

Stage Three

The long range plan for NACC is to be housed in a professional mid-sized performing arts complex in the Mid-Market Performing Arts district, complete with a public theater for local and touring arts companies, including our own Earth Dance Theater.   This space would also be a multipurpose and multicultural facility open to all cultural performers.  The public theater would provide a focal point for students in our community arts classes, and allow us to present performances, attract audiences, and earn revenue.  This facility is ideally suited as an anchor tenant in the new Mid Market Redevelopment District, and as a public benefit offered by a developer in exchange for development rights. 

NACC envisions these plans being realized in the next ten years. Until then, however, a cafe gathering spot is needed and necessary for our community. While long-range plans are implemented, NACC needs to be able to earn its own income, build its audiences, appeal to tourists and City visitors, build credit with banks and donors, provide jobs to young indigenous artists, and showcase the art of our community.