Art in Storefronts Returns to Central Market

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, 2011 – Now in its second year, Art in Storefronts (AIS) returns to Central Market with six storefront installations and five murals. The latest in The ARTery Project’s efforts to revitalize a once-vibrant commercial corridor, the program temporarily places original art installations by San Francisco artists in vacant and under-used storefront windows and exterior walls. The new AIS projects will be unveiled at alaunch event on Friday, May 13, from 5−7 p.m., that will also include receptions at three neighborhood galleries, the debut of two sculptures made possible by Black Rock Arts Foundation, live music, and Off the Grid food trucks.

“Last year, we saw Art in Storefronts make a huge impact on the Central Market, Tenderloin, Bayview, Mission and Chinatown neighborhoods and we look forward to building on that success with this latest installment,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel. “We launched The ARTery Project in the fall with three dynamic site-specific light installations, which was a big step forward in transforming Central Market into a lively and sustainable destination with the arts at its core. Art in Storefronts adds another layer of cultural richness to the neighborhood.”

“We are working to bring new light to this neighborhood through a dynamic collaboration between city agencies, community organizations, and the business community,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “These vibrant public art works will attract locals and visitors alike, driving foot traffic to the neighborhood and stimulating the local economy.

The festivities will kick off outside of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts at 998 Market Street with an unveiling of two murals. Gamelan X, a Balinese fusion ensemble, will lead a procession up Market Street where the public may catch performances by the John Brothers Piano Company; the Jaz Sawyer Trio; and the Space Cowboys DJ Collective performing on their hi-tech mobile sound system called The Unimog at U.N. Plaza. The public may play on Bulbous, a temporary wall of drums created by Office Division at U.N. Plaza, or meet the artists who will be stationed at their installations giving impromptu art talks throughout the event. In addition, the luggage store will debut artist Keith Agoada’s installation of living plants called City of Green, which transforms the exterior wall between the gallery’s second and third floor windows. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts will host a closing for their TRANSMUTATIONS exhibition in their new space, and Central City Hospitality House Community Art Program will hold a closing party for their Identity Theory exhibition.

“This addition to the ARTery Project is one way to turn vacant storefronts into vibrant, ground-floor art exhibits that engage passersby and generate community pride,” says Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents District 6 and the Mid-Market area. “I’m particularly proud that we have so many talented local artists in District 6, who represent the diversity and cultural narrative of the area.”

SFAC is proud to partner with Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) on Market Street Blooms, an installation of two of Karen Cusolito’s 20’ flower sculptures at U.N. Plaza and across the street at 1123 Market Street. “The Black Rock Arts Foundation has flourished amidst the Bay Area’s highly concentrated population of artists, activists, volunteers and other doers and has the aspiration of contributing a lasting, positive impact on the Bay Area’s cultural history,” said Executive Director Tomas McCabe. “As part of this longer-term vision, we see the Mid-Market area as an ideal location for public art.”

Adding an array of eclectic visual offerings to Central Market, this round of Art in Storefronts installations will remain on view through August 13, 2011. Highlighting the bicycle culture of Market Street, Alexis Arnold fills a Market Street window with old bike rims encased in glinting crystals along with a series of gold-painted U-locks (the bicycle detritus often left behind as a marker). Vanesa Gingold presents colorful sculptures and mobiles inspired by interviews with individuals from the Central Market community about their childhood memories. Creating an illusion of transformation, Madeline Trait’s installation presents a pile of discarded aluminum cans that magically transform into gracefully flying butterflies that fill the storefront and escape to the exterior surroundings of the building. Erik Otto envisions change as a catalyst for Central Market’s history and future. His installation depicts the openness for lasting change through metaphors symbolized by clouds, houses, and a circle of neon light. On a storefront window, the Indigenous Arts Coalition project loopingimages of historical footage, personal photography, appropriated images and impactful text to represent the “double life” of individuals straddling cultural identities. Cat U-Thasoonthorn documents in black and white photographs the defunct commercial signage around Central Market. Combined into a panoramic fictional street view, the scenes are reanimated with the insertion of neon and fluorescent lights.

This round also features a record number of murals. Robert Harris creates an abstract urban landscape of Market Street looking towards the Ferry Building. Above the city skyline, a series of paintbrushes will drip bright colors onto the scene while the bottom of the mural will be bordered by brightly colored painted tiles representing Market Street’s culturally diverse environment. Paz de la Calzada covers the old Strand Theater with a charcoal drawing of tangled strands of hair, which appear to wrap around the building. Both Robert and Paz’s murals are funded by the Department of Public Works as part of the StreetSmARTS program. Vicky Knoop and Beatrice Thomas celebrate under-recognized businesses and iconic sites of Central Market with their mural rendered in the style of vintage tourist postcards. Rafael Landea’s mural pays homage to the historic theaters that once lined Market Street, depicting a swirl of old theater seats swept up into tornado-like activity. Each chair will be unique and reflects on the lost glamour of Market Street. In a photo-collage mural Amber Hasselbringbrings to life the story of the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and the London Plane tree, two indigenous species found on Market Street. For more information, please visit the SFAC Art in Storefronts site.

This year, the San Francisco Arts Commission is partnering with Rickshaw, a San Francisco-based bag company, who will sponsor the Art in Storefronts social media campaign. Visitors to Central Market murals and installations are encouraged to participate in the media making process by taking a photo of themselves in front of an Art in Storefronts site and posting the image to a social media outlet of their choice. If they let SFAC know by filling out an online form at sfartscommission.org/raffle, they will be entered into a raffle to win one of ten medium-sized Rickshaw bags (valued at $100). “As a founding member of SFMade, supporting local programs like Art in Storefronts is a core value of our business says Marketing Manager Chris Schroeder. “We design and manufacture products in San Francisco inspired by the creative spirit of urban environments, so it’s our pleasure to partner with the SFAC on a program revitalizing urban space.” This limited edition bag is lined with custom artwork by Art in Storefronts artist Rafael Landea and is available for sale (http://www.rickshawbags.com/sfac) with 30 percent of the proceeds benefiting the San Francisco Arts Commission.