Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco's oldest alternative arts group, is in dire financial straits. After nearly 50 years, the group announced yesterday that it would stop producing new work at the end of this month.

According to the Chronicle, which shares space with the arts group at Mission and Fifth Streets, the groups will be "restructuring" and laying off most of the staff. From the Chronicle:

Yancy Widmer, chair of the board of directors, and outgoing interim Executive Director Arthur Combs detailed what they called the restructuring of the organization. Due to "deeply challenged" finances, the board is laying off most of the staff and reverting to a fiscal sponsorship and rental space model. The performance programs announced through this summer will take place as scheduled.

"The action wasn't a surprise," says Sean San José, Intersection's performing arts director and co-founder of resident theater company Campo Santo. "The severity of it was. The idea that the programming could not exist is something of a shock to me."

The organization was founded in North Beach in 1965 to serve disadvantaged youth and artists who objected to the Vietnam War. In more recent years, the organization served as an incubator for artists of all backgrounds by providing residencies, fellowships and sponsorships in addition to performances and exhibitions. Notable Most recently, Intersection's resident theater company Campo Santo has been gathering rave reviews for Chinaka Hoge's play "Chasing Mehserle."

Intersection will keep their space at 925 Mission Street while it works out new relationships with their resident artists.

[Intersection for the Arts]