A posh San Francisco neighborhood hides the city’s Gregangelo Museum

By all the sensible logic of recent San Francisco, the Museo Gregangelo should not exist.

As you drive via the luxury suburb of Saint Francis Wooden in your approach to the 42-year-old β€œmuseum,” the pure response is that Google Maps have to be confused. However proceed previous the multi-million greenback Spanish-roofed houses, and you may ultimately come to 225 San Leandro Method, a mirage of a home that appears like a cross between a circus and a Burning Man camp.

It is an unlikely location for what could also be one of many final artists’ havens within the metropolis, a busy hive thoughts of costume makers, inside designers, writers, musicians, visible artists, and all method of misfit theater youngsters. Collectively they work day and night time to create an immersive guided expertise that instills guests with a playful sense of surprise. And possibly a bit extra introspection than they signed up for.


The outside of the Outer Sundown home, which doubles because the Gregangelo Museum, is photographed in San Francisco on Friday, June 3, 2022.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

A closeup photo of the artistic and often intricately designed interior of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.

A closeup photograph of the creative and sometimes intricately designed inside of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

A closeup photo of the artistic and often intricately designed interior of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.

A closeup photograph of the creative and sometimes intricately designed inside of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

A closeup photo of the artistic and often intricately designed interior of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.

A closeup photograph of the creative and sometimes intricately designed inside of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE


The personal home at 225 San Leandro Method in San Francisco, above left, additionally doubles because the Gregangelo Museum and options an intricately crafted creative inside. (Charles Russo/SFGATE)

The inside of the Museo Gregangelo feels just like the Meow Wolf vogue artwork set up, aside from old-school San Francisco hippies as a substitute of new-school Santa Fe hipsters. The home is a labyrinth of winding corridors and secret rooms with each inch of wall lined in colourful mosaics, a hoarder’s paradise of trinkets and curious furnishings starting from baroque to science fiction. The phrase “curated” will get thrown round quite a bit for areas like this, however the Gregangelo Museum is simply the alternative: the whole place exists inside a actuality distortion subject of first thought, finest thought vitality.

The supply of that distortion is Gregangelo Herrera, an effervescent ringleader who makes use of in-line skates as his major mode of transportation. He serves as flute participant for a bunch of artists who work within the sprawling home in any respect hours of the day, laborious at work on new museum parts in addition to installations commissioned via Herrera’s occasion manufacturing firm, Velocity Arts and Leisure. His historical past with the huge home started in 1980.

Local artist Gregangelo Herrera, owner of the Gregangelo Museum of the same name, in San Francisco's Outer Sunset district.

Native artist Gregangelo Herrera, proprietor of the Gregangelo Museum of the identical identify, in San Francisco’s Outer Sundown district.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

When most of his fellow artists had been transferring to extra inexpensive areas of the town, Herrera did the alternative.

β€œI got here right into a rich white neighborhood shopping for property, I had no concept what neighborhood it was in, I used to be simply renting it out, , after which I began fixing it up,” stated Herrera, who started giving casual talks. excursions within the 90s and personal excursions within the 2000s.

In contrast to Meow Wolf, this isn’t a selection journey, however guided excursions for small teams (max 6 individuals, $75 per ticket). Every room in the home has its personal story. A comfy studio room options dozens of pairs of sneakers lining the partitions, with friends being requested which pair resonates most with them and whose sneakers they’d most wish to put on. , self-examination and private progress.

Gregangelo Museum tour guide Nick Brentley leads visitors through a tour of the gardens, Friday, June 3, 2022.

Gregangelo Museum tour information Nick Brentley leads guests via a tour of the gardens, Friday, June 3, 2022.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

“I name it a connector,” says Herrera. “It isn’t a museum in any respect, the identify all the time provides me the creeps, but it surely’s the one factor we will do to make it an attraction that folks can attend.”

Like all leisure venues, the pandemic, or “pandemonium” as Gregangelo calls it, compelled the museum to adapt. They transformed their patio, public easement and driveway right into a makeshift artwork studio for 30 highschool and school college students. Common excursions of the museum turned open-air experiences, with as much as 22 reveals per night time for small teams of friends. The commotion prompted some complaints from close by residents, however the protests fell on deaf ears.

β€œOur neighborhood affiliation instantly stated, ‘Oh no, no, you’ll be able to’t complain about this place. They obtained a piece order at dwelling such as you they usually’re artists, so that is what they’re doing,’” Herrera recounted, stating that the neighbors have liked the peculiar presence of the museum.

A closeup photo of the artistic and often intricately designed interior of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.

A closeup photograph of the creative and sometimes intricately designed inside of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

Marcelo Defreitas, creative director of the Gregangelo Museum, in San Francisco.

Marcelo Defreitas, inventive director of the Gregangelo Museum, in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

Members of the Gregangelo Museum staff pose for a group photo near the building's entrance, Friday, June 3, 2022.

Members of the Gregangelo Museum workers pose for a bunch photograph close to the constructing’s entrance, Friday, June 3, 2022.


Charles Russo/SFGATE

A closeup photo of the artistic and often intricately designed interior of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.

A closeup photograph of the creative and sometimes intricately designed inside of the Gregangelo Museum in San Francisco.


Charles Russo/SFGATE


Views of the Museo Gregangelo in San Francisco, with workers members, backside left, together with inventive director Marcelo Defreitas, prime proper. (Charles Russo/SFGATE)

Though a lot of the leisure business is again on monitor at this level, the Gregangelo Museum has stood on its pivot. They nonetheless supply excursions of the inside, however the focus has shifted to reworking the outside of the home into a brand new expertise based mostly on the riddle of the Sphinx. Three backyard areas signify youth and innocence, maturity and sensuality, and knowledge and dying. The narrative is pushed by a collection of environment-based puzzles, which primarily work a bit like an escape room: remedy the puzzle, proceed to the following step.

These challenges naturally evolve into conversational messages, main friends to get to know one another (and themselves) a bit higher. You may be requested to share an expertise that originally felt small however had a bigger butterfly impact, a time once you misjudged somebody based mostly on their look and even larger questions in regards to the which means of humanity.

A view of the colorfully decorated gardens outside the Museo Gregangelo.

A view of the colorfully embellished gardens exterior the Museo Gregangelo.

Charles Russo/SFGATE

It is a susceptible expertise that in at the moment’s cynical panorama feels stubbornly classic, like a collective of artists thriving in a stately suburb of one of many world’s costliest cities. However for Herrera and the remainder of his motley crew of creatives, his overarching mission is not nearly his personal artwork, it is about unlocking a way of self-expression in his friends.


β€œActually, your story is rising because the tour progresses,” says Herrera. “The artwork is known as a catalyst so that you can inform the story.”

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