Berkeley (California), USA – The Freight & Salvage Coffee House — a
mainstay of the Bay Area’s nonprofit arts community for nearly 40 years — has
received a $1 million grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to
launch the last phase of its campaign to build a new home.
The grant from the Hewlett Foundation will help the Freight & Salvage transform
a former auto repair shop at 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley’s Downtown Arts
District into a 20,000 square-foot new home for the oldest and most active folk
music venue on the West Coast. The grand opening for the Freight’s new home is
set to coincide with the organization’s 40th anniversary in June of 2008
“We’re delighted to support such a vital West Coast institution and help it
expand the range of its work,” said Moy Eng, director of the Hewlett
Foundation’s Performing Arts Program. “The grant also reflects the foundation’s
long-term commitment to creating new permanent spaces for the arts in the San
Francisco Bay Area.”
The new home will increase the Freight & Salvage’s available space nearly
six-fold, enabling it to offer new educational programming and establish an
archive for folk and traditional music. It will more than double its seating
capacity, from 220 to 480 seats, and allow the creation of adjoining classrooms,
an informal café, and music-related retail space.
The Freight & Salvage also announced that musician Danny Carnahan and investor
Warren Hellman have agreed to serve as co-chairs of its New Home Committee.
“The Freight is the bedrock of Northern California folk culture,” said Carnahan.
“It has allowed me to explore the challenges and opportunities of performing. It
has been called informal, intimate, and a treasure. For me, the Freight is a
“We’re creating a larger performance space, but it will remain the same Freight
& Salvage that it has always been — the Bay Area’s home for traditional music,”
said Hellman. “Musicians and audiences both deserve the updated amenities
they’ll get in the new home, and I’m delighted to be part of this important
The two co-chairs provide the organization formidable leadership for the final
phase of the campaign. Carnahan helped pave the way for the California Celtic
explosion of the early ’80s as part of the groundbreaking duo Caswell Carnahan.
He currently works with Wake the Dead, an innovative “all-star” Celtic/Grateful
Dead-inspired jam band. Hellman, co-founder of Hellman & Friedman, LLC, is the
patron and driving force behind the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the
largest festival of its kind in the world.
“These developments represent significant milestones in our effort to build a
new home,” said Marci Rubin, Chair of the Freight & Salvage’s Board of
Directors. “The New Home Committee will spearhead our campaign to raise the
remaining $3.9 million we need to reach our $9.3 million total fundraising goal.
We have the opportunity to create a home which reflects our historical
significance, retains our independence, and ensures the future of folk
Freight & Salvage Executive Director Steve Baker noted, “With the help of the
City of Berkeley and our generous community of supporters, we purchased the
property in 2000. We’re completing the design work and filing our permit
applications. In this final phase we’ll be raising the remaining funds needed to
The nonprofit Freight & Salvage took its name from the used furniture business
that formerly occupied the original 87-seat storefront site. The organization
moved to its current 220-seat facility in west Berkeley in 1988.
Since 2002, the Hewlett Foundation has awarded $8.9 million in grants to 23
building projects for the arts that, when completed in 2011, will add more than
330,000 square feet of new performing arts space in the Bay Area.
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central