Though Building 180 founder Shannon Riley has always considered herself artistically inclined, her background is in business and marketing. For ten years prior to establishing Building 180, she worked as a director of business development in tech. After moving to San Francisco in 2012 she was invited into a unique community of artists at a warehouse space on Treasure Island. A collective made up of seasoned artists, volunteers and novices, the group focused on large art installations for events such as Burning Man.
When the collective lost their space in 2015, Riley continued working with the artists, establishing Building 180 as an homage to the endangered artist community. A company driven by passion, Riley’s skillset in business paired with her deep roots in the art community allowed for her to partner with artists and place them with businesses seeking to beautify their spaces with art. Building 180 has since worked on public works projects, offices and small businesses across the Bay Area.
Paint the Void
Walking through the streets of San Francisco is an altogether different visual experience as of late. With shelter in place mandated across the state, we see empty neighborhoods punctuated by the countless businesses that have boarded up their windows. Organized by Building 180 and nonprofit, Art for Civil Discourse, Paint the Void is a project made to bring art to shuttered businesses while providing a stipend for artists affected by COVID-19. Creating murals on plywood, artists usually work out of their homes, or are paired with a nearby business to avoid unnecessary travel. Paint the Void has quickly evolved into a city-wide movement and has been multifaceted: supporting local artists, helping to protect businesses, and revivifying neighborhoods during a time of international crisis.
Art in the Workplace
Teaming up with companies of all sizes around the Bay Area, Building 180 works to align local artists with businesses seeking to enhance their spaces with customized art. Murals or installations bring an irreplaceable essence to a workspace, adding vibrancy and inspiration in a way that wallpaper or a super graphic cannot provide (and at a comparable cost). Engaging employees and visitors alike, art in the workplace prompts businesses to connect and give back to the community.
In light of COVID-19, companies have begun looking for more informational imagery. Wayfinding material in the form of 6’ markers or sanitization station instructions could easily become a norm in offices. Employing local artists to have a hand in this process would help alleviate what could be an intimidating transition back into the workplace. While health and safety will continue to be top priorities for companies around the world, adding an artistic touch can make a space feel warm and welcoming during a time of stress and uncertainty.