Rigo ’23 collaborating with The Luggage Store/509 Cultural Center
Award: $40,000 Visual Arts grant awarded in June 2007
Completed: April 2009
Rigo ’23 designed and created a stone mosaic walkway in Cohen Alley by collaborating with The Luggage Store, the Alley’s neighbors, and a calceteiro (master stonemason) from Lisbon, Portugal. Rigo’s “Cultural Geometry,” a permanent, public pathway, is a tribute to the Ohlone Indians as well to all immigrants who have landed in San Francisco. The Luggage Store involved nearby residents in development of the project—from idea generation and design review sessions with the artist to hands-on participation and documentation of the work and process.
The stone mosaic is part of the transformation of Cohen Alley in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a project led by The Luggage Store’s co-artistic directors Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazar since 1989. Now known as the Tenderloin National Forest, the alley is located between the heavily-trafficked streets Leavenworth and Ellis and features greenery, a staging area, murals, and other features. “Cultural Geometry” embodies the spirit of the alley’s transformation, incorporating patterns from Ohlone baskets and a centrally-placed hummingbird.
Artist Rigo ‘23 has completed many works of permanent and temporary public art, including a stone and tile mosaics and many popular Bay Area murals. Often focusing on issues of social justice, Rigo ’23 also collaborates with workers from different crafts in his art practice.
The Luggage Store was founded in 1987 by a group of Tenderloin artists and is dedicated to building community by broadening social and aesthetic networks, encouraging the flow of images and ideas among different cultural and economic communities. Each year, it organizes exhibitions, performing arts events, lectures, and other diverse projects.