The Red Poppy Art House (“The Poppy”) was founded in 2003 to serve as an intercultural and multidisciplinary “space of encounter,” a hub where multiple social-cultural groups could interconnect to experience one another and therefore potentiate one another’s endeavors while weaving a more solid and tolerant social fabric. It began as a working artist studio that offered classes in painting and Argentine tango, a weekly jazz night, and curated exhibitions. Towards the end of that first year, the Poppy initiated the Mission Arts & Performance Project (MAPP), as a community-wide initiative with shared values. Since that time, the Poppy’s organization has been gradually evolving through the years in order to respond to the needs and opportunities presented by its surrounding community and the arts ecology at large. Central among them is how such a tiny space can continue to exist within a market-driven economy without having to “grow” or perish. Can one be small, meaningful, and effective, and still flourish?

After seven years since its founding, the organization’s role within the arts ecology has become highly recognized and valued among its local community and the broader Bay Area. As an artist-centered organization, it has managed to maintain an internal culture of creativity, that is, a feeling of non-linear spontaneity at its core, in order to prevent the administrative functioning to overshadow its purpose – its reason for being.

In 2007 the Red Poppy Art House gained fiscal sponsorship through Intersection for the Arts, joining the organization’s Arts Incubator program.