Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

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Founded: 2009

Mission: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to building social consciousness through digital culture. Guided by the principles of openness, collaboration, and resource sharing, our programs promote creativity at the intersection of art, design, sound, and technology. A conduit for multidisciplinary creative exchange, GAFFTA supports the creation and diffusion of works that engage and inspire audiences, and offer meaningful contributions to the global movement that is shaping our collective experience.

San Francisco, CA


Josette Melchor
Josette Melchor is the Executive Director of Gray Area Foundation For The Arts, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building social consciousness through digital culture. By funding and curating projects that offer insightful perspective on the information of our age, using the technologies of our time: GAFFTA provides a means to decode and humanize the evolving global database. GAFFTA’s direction is influenced by Melchor’s previous projects Gray Area Gallery (2005–2008) and Gray Area Beacon, a new media arts program that she founded in 2008 with Silicon Valley Executive Peter Hirshberg. She has facilitated many large- and small-scale events up and down the west coast including notable pioneering media artists. Melchor’s professional experience in technology undoubtedly feeds her business-savvy, but it’s the use of technology to comment on and enable our society that drives her creative leadership of this organization. Her professional philosophy of a full-hearted commitment to the arts is apparent in the community she’s developed thus far. Her personal connection with clients, artists, and patrons reverberates throughout the organization and provides an unshakeable strength in foundation. GAFFTA is deeply involved with the city of San Francisco, acting as a spearhead for the city’s initiative to revitalize the Tenderloin district through the transformative power of art. Melchor’s currently concentrating on the development of the new space at 55 Taylor in San Francisco.

Innovative Approach


The world is experiencing an explosion of technological development that presents us with inspiring opportunities and challenges. While the ability to rapidly produce and consume information has fueled quantum leaps in innovation, its abundance can also disrupt our focus and fragment our consciousness.

Innovation / New Solution

As with any organization, the significance of our efforts is only as relevant as the scope of our network and its ability reach a diverse audience. From our physical neighborhood of the Tenderloin to our extended digital communities, GAFFTA’s outreach will increase appreciation for and participation in the digital arts. By making digital culture accessible, substantive and inspiring, we aim to help realize the greatest power of technology: to bring us closer, faster.


Public presentations provide a vital exchange and interface between artist and audience, as well as development and delivery. From interactive installations to immersive audio-visual performances, Gray Area regularly showcases world-class media from emerging and established artists at the forefront of the progressive arts community. From young curious minds to professionally active artists, and everyone in between, the workshops at Gray Area give participants hands-on exposure to a wide array of projects and skills that foster creative exploration and practical development. Gray Area’s comprehensive center provides the context, resources, and adaptive environment needed for multidisciplinary creative research, production, and distribution.


Expert Comments

  • Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) has bravely opened a gallery and studio space in the heart of San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. This organization sits at the intersection of art, digital media, education and community and is attempting to create an integrated center for creation of technology-based art forms.

  • Just getting off the blocks, this small and new organization already owns the digital arts space and is poised for great impact in SF.

  • Brand new and poised to do well in the Tenderloin, GAFFTA should be watched to see how it delivers on its promise to "realize the greatest power of technology: to bring us closer, faster."

  • This organization is promising because it has strong political support, and offers a way for multiple networks to connect around a shared interest. The profusion of creative industries in the Bay Area, especially advertising and branding design companies, creates an exciting possibility for hybrid projects with existing and emerging artists in other disciplines, and GAFFTA is in a good position to facilitate that growth.

  • Josette Melchor is a visionary young leader. The digital visual art is top notch. They are having a real impact on the Tenderloin community.

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