Adobe and the Creative Community: A Beautiful Collaboration

by Mala Sharma

posted on 07-20-2018

Two years ago, Adobe jumped into a bold, one-of-a-kind artistic collaboration. The Minnesota Street Project was tackling an overwhelming problem — exorbitant amounts for rent in San Francisco crushing the local arts community and driving creative people out. To keep artists in the city, they converted three warehouses into affordable space for artists to work, exhibit, and collaborate. Inspired by their work, Adobe partnered with the program to help solve this problem.

Since then, we’ve worked alongside some of the most interesting artists in the city. We’ve offered them technical mentorships and Adobe tools, and teamed up with our fellow residents in the wonderful and inspiring world of art beyond our computer screens. We’ve used our studio space to collaborate on linocuts, new virtual reality painting tools, traditional photography projects, and 3D printing workshops.

In a workshop that took us across the full spectrum of screens, we worked with artists on creating compositions using Adobe tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, and Capture. Adobe’s Erica Larson, a silkscreen expert, broke out the ink and fabric and taught us how to silkscreen our designs. As it turns out, while many Adobe employees are comfortable with the digital composition process, some had never physically printed anything.

“Quite a few of our artist colleagues work with ink and paint like it’s second nature but hadn’t had the chance to create a digital composition that could translate into a silkscreen,” said Lisa Temple, Adobe’s head of community innovation and collaboration. “We traded expertise from the worlds we know best, found common ground in our shared love of creating, and all came away with insights to inspire our next projects.”

Based on this fantastic experience, we knew we had to launch a new series of collaborative, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-jump-in creative events.

Just recently, a few Adobe employees reached out to Dana Hemenway, a Minnesota Street artist and California College of the Arts instructor, to teach us about ceramics and Minnesota Street’s state-of-the-art kiln. That group is now bringing together artists and Adobe staff to create using clay in a series of Ceramics Socials. We’ll even experiment with a hybrid project inspired by our last series — screen printing onto clay!

Phillip Maisel, a resident artist at 1240 Minnesota Street, said the Adobe workshops are a great break from the sometimes “hermetic routine” of his studio.

“I loved the colored clay workshop,” he said. “It was so fun working with my hands in this unfamiliar way, and to have low expectations on results. It was also really wonderful to engage with my studio neighbors in a totally different context.”

These projects are at the heart of what we’re working toward at Minnesota Street — a financially sustainable collaboration between Adobe and our community that lets us all share our expertise and expand our creative visions. Many of our Adobe colleagues spend their days thinking about technology tools for artists, and this project is giving them a great deal of inspiration for where to take those tools next. And it’s helping connect artists with valuable resources and materials, including Adobe apps they’ve never tried before.

We hope this new kind of collaboration will be a way to find common interests with the people in our communities — and come together to support one another.

To learn more about the Minnesota Street Project, check out their website. And if you’re in the San Francisco area, treat yourself to a visit for a chance to see brilliant work from some of our favorite local artists.


Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud