San Francisco, CA – The Creative Work Fund (CWF) is pleased to announce that it has awarded 19 grants totaling $683,822 for projects in the greater Bay Area counties. This year marks the CWF’s 19th year of supporting projects in which artists collaborate with nonprofit organizations to create new work with total grantmaking in excess of $10 million.
The CWF’s 2013 grants feature artists in the fields of traditional and visual arts. Selected traditional arts projects will lead to performances of Syrian and Carnatic music and Tibetan and Hawaiian dance, as well as African American quilt making, Mexican cartonería, Hawaiian kapa cloth, Islamic calligraphy, Ohlone basketweaving, and Tibetan carving while the visual arts projects feature works in ceramics, multi-media installations, murals, photography, and public art.
2013 Traditional Arts Awardees and Collaborators
- Fathi Aljarah (Fremont) collaborating with Zawaya (San Mateo)
- Gautam Ganeshan (Berkeley) collaborating with Tree of Life/Subterranean Arthouse (Berkeley)
- Ruben Guzman (Oakland) collaborating with Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland)
- Patrick Makuakane (San Francisco) collaborating with Yerba Buena Arts and Events (San Francisco)
- Patricia A. Montgomery (Oakland) collaborating with the African American Museum & Library at Oakland
- Zubair Simab (Danville) collaborating with Pippa Murray (Sausalito) and the Islamic Center of Manteca
- Wendeanne Ke’aka Stitt (Santa Cruz) collaborating with Academy of Hawaiian Arts (Oakland)
- Penpa Tsering (El Cerrito) collaborating with Tibetan Association of Northern California (Richmond)
- Tsering Wangmo (El Cerrito) collaborating with Vajrayana Foundation (Santa Cruz)
- Linda Yamane (Seaside) collaborating with Santa Lucia Conservancy (Carmel).
2013 Visual Arts Awardees and Collaborators
- Robert Dawson (San Francisco) collaborating with Library and Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County (Stockton)
- Edward “Scape” Martinez (San Jose) collaborating with Mural Music & Arts Project (East Palo Alto)
- Mia Nakano (Oakland) collaborating with Hyphen Magazine (San Francisco)
- Pancho Pescador (Oakland) collaborating with American Friends Service Committee (San Francisco)
- Clare Rojas (San Francisco) collaborating with 509 Cultural Center (San Francisco)
- Ehren Tool (Berkeley) collaborating with Palo Alto Art Center Foundation (Palo Alto)
- Mark Brest van Kempen (Oakland) collaborating with Arts Benicia (Benicia)
- Richard Wright and Creativity Explored (San Francisco) collaborating with the San Francisco Girls Chorus
- Rene Yung (San Francisco) collaborating with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
Grants are recommended to the CWF by prestigious committees of panelists. The 2013 Traditional Arts panelists were: Theodore Levin, Professor of Music, Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire); Marsha MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts, Michigan State University Museum (MSU) and Professor, Department of Art and Art History at MSU (East Lansing, Michigan); Judy Mitoma, Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (Los Angeles, California); Miriam Phillips, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland’s School of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Affiliate Faculty in Ethnomusicology, and dancer (College Park, Maryland); Russell C. Rodriguez, director, Alliance for California Traditional Arts’ Apprenticeship Program and musician (Watsonville, California). Also assisting in the review were Amy Kitchener, Executive Director of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (Fresno, California); ethnomusicologist David Roche (Point Richmond, California); and musician and arts administrator Sylvia Sherman (Oakland, California).
The 2013 Visual Arts panelists were: Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, California); Doryun Chong, Chief Curator of M+ museum of visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries (Hong Kong); Anne Pasternak, director, Creative Time (New York, New York); Terezita Romo, Program Officer for Arts and Culture, the San Francisco Foundation (San Francisco, California); and Jon Rubin, artist (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Also assisting in the review were Kevin B Chen, Curator, Intersection for the Arts (San Francisco, California); Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez, executive director of Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (San Jose, California); and Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts (Walnut Creek, California).
Photo by visual arts recipient Robert Dawson
Brief Project Descriptions: 2013 Creative Work Fund Grant Recipients
Fathi Aljarah (Fremont) collaborating with Zawaya (San Mateo)
Syrian-American composer Fathi Aljarah is collaborating with Zawaya to produce a concert celebrating war-torn Aleppo’s rich musical heritage, which is threatened by the current civil war. The concert, “Aleppo Alive” will present a Wasleh, a suite of songs and instrumental pieces in the Aleppan tradition, to be performed by Zawaya’s Aswat Arab music ensemble and directed by Mr. Aljarah. Through their collaboration, the artist and nonprofit will conduct research on Aleppan musical traditions, formulate a training module on those traditions for the Aswat ensemble, develop and produce repertoire based on the Wasleh, and produce a concert and DVD featuring the music. Typically the Wasleh is composed of two types of material—Muwashshahat (usually performed using classical Arabic language and coming from origins in the Andalusia region) and Qudud Al Halabiyya (featuring both standard and colloquial Arabic, referring to simple rural or village life and specifically originating out of Aleppo). Lead artist Fathi Aljarah was born and raised in Aleppo and trained and practiced extensively in classical Aleppan music. He is the top Arab master violinist in the United States and possesses extensive knowledge of Arab folk and classical music and history. His musical lineage includes having been an apprentice to Sabah Fakhri, a master of al-qudud al-Halabiyyah in Syria. Nabila Mango and Haya Shawwa Benhalim established Zawaya in 2003 to preserve, present, and promote the Arab arts in the Bay Area. Zawaya’s precursor, Aswat, which was founded in 2000, is an Arab music ensemble.
Gautam Ganeshan (Berkeley) collaborating with Tree of Life/Subterranean ArtHouse (Berkeley)
Carnatic musician Gautam Tejas Ganeshan is collaborating with Tree of Life (known as Subterranean Arthouse) in Berkeley to create new songs that tell the “Story of This Place” at the Arthouse. The artist will develop original compositions in English in the tradition of South Indian Classical Music that will be presented in five exploratory performances at the Arthouse. Carnatic music—traditional devotional music from South India—enjoys an active listenership worldwide—particularly in the Bay Area. However, many feel that the purity of intention that characterized the great musicians of the past is not found commonly enough today. What originated as a spontaneous musical outpouring of bhakti (devotion) now typically occurs as a recitation of centuries-old material that may or may not reflect the personal convictions of the musician. Lead artist Gautam Ganeshan seeks to refresh the Carnatic tradition by developing and singing texts in his native tongue of English—allowing his listeners an unprecedented experience of the structure of Carnatic music and sharing lyrics that represent his life experiences. In addition to his many accomplishments as a musician, Gautam is the founder and director of the Sangati Center, which has hosted more than 350 public chamber concerts of Indian classical music in the past six years. The Subterranean Arthouse, in downtown Berkeley, hosts a year-round interdisciplinary series of concerts, dance performances, and theater events. An important aspect of the Arthouse is its strong ties to a diverse, local artistic community. Through this project the lead artist and Arthouse are working to build an audience locally for performances on a chamber scale and encourage audience involvement in Carnatic music.
Ruben Guzman (Oakland) collaborating with Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland)
Artist Ruben Guzman is collaborating with Centro Legal de la Raza (Centro Legal) on The Ahuilti Project, to produce a sculpture in the traditional art form of cartonería (papier-mâché), addressing the theme of immigration. The sculpture will respond to long-standing issues of immigration and human rights in the United States as well as excitement around recent progress towards immigration reform. Centro Legal is a community-based legal services center, founded in 1969. It works to advance the rights of immigrant, low-income, and Latino communities through free and low cost legal advice and representation in the areas of employment, housing, and immigration. It will provide Mr. Guzman with access to immigrant youth and families who would like to be interviewed for the project. The artist and nonprofit will focus, in particular, on those who are immersed in immigration cases. Mr. Guzman, then, will produce a sculpture that responds to and is inspired by these conversations. Centro Legal will unveil it at two community events and will afterwards display it in its lobby where it will be viewed by hundreds of low-income Latino community members each year. Ruben Guzman has been a practitioner of the traditional Mexican art of cartonería for some 25 years. He learned the tradition from the Linares family in Mexico City, who are considered the leading practitioners of this artform in the world. His cartonería pieces are included in collections of the Smithsonian Museum, the Sonoma County Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California—among others.
Patrick Makuakane (San Francisco) collaborating with Yerba Buena Arts and Events (San Francisco)
Patrick Makaukane and Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu (Na Lei Hulu) are collaborating with Yerba Buena Arts and Events—producers of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (the Festival)—to create a day-long, traditional Native Hawaiian cultural fete. The day will feature the ritual construction of a sacred kuahu—something that has never been seen in the Bay Area before and only rarely built nowadays in Hawai’i. The performance is scheduled for June 20 2015, marking the 30th anniversary of Na Lei Hulu and the 15th anniversary of the Festival. Beginning with a sunrise ceremony, Na Lei Hulu will conduct sacred and secular cultural activities all day in various locations throughout Yerba Buena Gardens. A 90-minute hulu performance that afternoon will feature more than 250 dancers on stage and between five and eight newly choreographed dances. All chants, songs, and dances will have a connection to themes of the natural environment—land, sea, and sky. On June 19—the evening before—the collaborators will present a talk story by Lucia Tarallo Jensen, one of Hawai’I’s pre-eminent cultural scholars about the spiritual and cultural philosophy of the kuahu at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Kumu Hulu Patrick Makaukane is a leading practitioner of traditional hula. He earned the title of Kumu Hula in 2003 after intensive study under a traditional master. The Festival enhances the vitality and quality of life in the outdoor spaces of Yerba Buena Gardens through the curated presentation of world-class, admission-free performing arts, community, and cultural programs reflecting the Bay Area’s ethnic and artistic diversity.
Patricia A. Montgomery (Oakland) collaborating with African American Museum & Library at Oakland with Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (fiscal sponsor)
Artist and master quilter Patricia Montgomery will collaborate with the African American Museum and Library to create a series of story quilts, “Forgotten Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement.” The series will include 20 story quilts each measuring 60” x 60” that then will be structured in the shape of a swing coat. The work will combine the African American quilting tradition with digital images, pastel drawings and thread work. Each coat will represent one unsung heroine. When exhibited in March 2015 at the African American Museum and Library, the coats will be hung from the ceiling at the level of an average adult, simulating a civil rights march. Some coats will be hung alone, while others will be hung arm-in-arm. The artist and museum will work together on the historical research, exhibit development and installation, as well as public and educational programs. Lead artist Patricia Montgomery has been acknowledged as a master artist for the 2011 Alliance for California Traditional Arts apprenticeship program. Over the years she has created several mini-series story quilts. She has served on the board of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland. The African American Museum and Library is one of only a few institutions that combines library services with those of a museum—hosting exhibitions and a range of public programs that focus on the art, history, and culture of African Americans.
Zubair Simab (Danville) collaborating with the Islamic Center of Manteca
In addition to working on paper, calligraphers have provided blueprints for works in mosaic, ceramics, and other media. Calligraphed text-based architectural mosaic and ceramic works are a signature of Islamic art and architecture. In this project, the Islamic Center of Manteca is collaborating with Islamic calligrapher Zubair Simab and mosaic artist Pippa Murray to create a calligraphed architectural mosaic installation for its building. The Islamic Center of Manteca (the Center) is a new mosque and community center that opened in June 2013. While Muslims have had a presence in California’s central valley for at least 100 years, the new Center is the first purpose-built mosque in San Joaquin County. It serves the spiritual, counseling, and social service needs of a very diverse segment of residents (predominantly Afghans, but including Fijians, Palestinians, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Indians, African Americans, West and Southern Africans, Latinos, and European Americans). The artists will draw inspiration from the diverse traditions and cultures that make up the congregation and community. Lead artist Zubair Simab was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His training in calligraphy began when he was a young boy: He again picked up the serious study of Islamic calligraphy in 1997. He is part of the Islamic Art Exhibit Collaborative, a group of Muslim artists in California. Pippa Murray studied her craft formally in Europe and California: she is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and The Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics. The medium and scope of this project will be unprecedented for both artists. The project connects two traditional artists—one Muslim and one non-Muslim—modeling millennium-old historical collaborations to promote a sense of pluralism and pride in a marginalized community.
Wendeanne Ke’aka Stitt (Santa Cruz) collaborating with Academy of Hawaiian Arts (Oakland)
Lead artist Wendeanne Ke’aka Stitt will create six kapa cloth costumes based on traditional Hawaiian garments that will be danced in a hula created by Kumu Hula Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu of the Academy of Hawaiian Arts. Kapa is made from the inner bark of the wauke (paper mulberry) tree and involves stripping the outer bark, fermenting it in water to soften the fibers, pounding it out on a flat rock, soaking again, and pounding out on a wooden anvil with a carved wood mallet until the desired size is achieved. The cloth is then dyed and surface designs are applied with a carved, decoratively patterned bamboo tool. Wendeanne Ke’aka Stitt began learning to make kapa as an apprentice to Kumu Kapa Dalani Tanahy and Hawaiian language teacher Kumu Kau’i Peralto—as part of a group that became Kuku I Ka Pono, or “pounding kapa with purpose.” The group’s goal was to make kapa for use in the burial of bones disturbed by new construction in Hawai’i as well as bones repatriated from museums worldwide. Stitt, a visual display artist and quiltmaker, has become known as the most prolific maker of Hawaiian kapa in California. Her tools are made by hand from hardwood trees sustainably harvested in the Santa Cruz Mountains; and all of her dyes are derived from flowers, roots, berries, seeds, and minerals from Hawai’i and Santa Cruz. The Academy of Hawaiian Arts, a hula halau based in Oakland, offers hula classes for dancers of all ages as well as classes in Hawaiian music and workshops in Hawaiian crafts. Stitt will work with the Academy’s creative director, costume mistress Puanani Schierenbeck, and women in the organization to create the six hula costumes.
Penpa Tsering (El Cerrito) collaborating with Tibetan Association of Northern California (Richmond)
Traditional Tibetan woodcarving artist Penpa Tsering is collaborating with the Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC) to create a full set of traditional Tibetan altar pieces, complete with cabinets, shelves, and a throne table. The finished pieces will become part of the Tibetan community center that is owned and managed by TANC in Richmond, California. Mr. Tsering will demonstrate his work at various stages of the project and TANC will feature its development on its website. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama is presenting consecration prayers for TANC’s center in February 2013, they will seek his blessings for the project. Traditional Tibetan woodcarving requires mastery over both carving techniques and the images, symbols, and motifs that are being carved. The practice can be traced as far back as the 7th century, with its earliest forms visible in Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet. The lead artist started his practice as an apprentice to two Tibetan master craftsmen, Dechen and Lobsang Wangchuk, at the age of 12 in Lhasa, Tibet. While inside Tibet, he was involved with reconstruction of monasteries and temples that had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Coming into exile, he did carpentry work at Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, India, but has had limited opportunities to share his craft publicly in the United States. The pieces Mr. Tsering will make for TANC’s center are often found in Tibetan households, monasteries, and temples; but few Tibetan families living in the West possess them. TANC was founded in 1990 to create a sense of community for the first Tibetan immigrants in the Bay Area. Its goal is to preserve, practice, and promote Tibetan cultural traditions and to empower Tibetan Americans to thrive and to become contributing members of society.
Tsering Wangmo (El Cerrito) collaborating with Vajrayana Foundation (Santa Cruz)
Tibetan secular history was preserved and passed on from generation to generation through ritualized dances, which often were accompanied by narration or song. Tsering Wangmo and Vajrayana Foundation are collaborating to stage and record the most famous and characteristic work in this form, the Lingdro dance, which tells the history of the 11th century Tibetan King Gesar of Ling. Among project activities, the collaborators will translate the epic’s lyrics into English for the program; will commission authentic costumes, headgear and shoes from Tibetan and Nepalese tailors; and will teach the dances to local young men and women—both Tibetans and Westerners. Members of the Vajrayana Foundation will play the musical instruments that accompany the piece. The artists will perform the work al fresco (open air) in the traditional manner, at Pema Osel Ling, Vajrayana Foundation’s Tibetan Buddhist spiritual center in Santa Cruz, in July 2014. The performance also will be webcast and recorded. Lead artist Tsering Wangmo, artistic director of Chaksam-pa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company, was born in a Tibetan resettlement camp in South India. She studied traditional Tibetan music, dance, and opera at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamasala from 1982-89. In 1985, she was fortunate to spend four months learning Lingdro Dechen Rolmo from the only living Lingdro master in exile, Pha Norsang. This new rendering of the Lingdro is meant to bridge the cultural gap between the large community of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners (most of whom are not Tibetan) in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area and the local Tibetan community in exile. Vajrayana Foundation’s mission is to establish, preserve, and transmit the spiritual, artistic, and cultural traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.
Linda Yamane (Seaside) collaborating with Santa Lucia Conservancy (Carmel)
California native basketweaver Linda Yamane will create two Ohlone twined work baskets—a pechump tiprin that sits on a stone mortar for acorn preparation, and xaapsh, a utilitarian twined container. Each of the baskets connects very specifically to her Rumsien Ohlone heritage and her homeland in Carmel Valley. She is working with The Santa Lucia Conservancy, whose office and property are adjacent to her ancestral village of Tucutnut, along the bank of the Carmel River. That land includes riparian habitat in which Ohlone basketry plants grow. Access to plant materials needed for native basketry has long been a stumbling block for contemporary California Indian basketweavers, and the Conservancy’s plant ecologist is working closely with Yamane to manage sedge, Bracken Fern, and other needed materials by removing invasive plants. He also will help her to track down the asphaltum seepage needed for the baskets. Together they will develop web-based educational materials to teach about Ohlone traditional uses of native plants. At the project’s culmination, the collaborators will put the work baskets to work—harvesting and preparing acorns for a cooked acorn meal. Linda Yamane is a Rumsien Ohlone artist, basketweaver, singer, and tribal scholar who traces her ancestry to the native people of the Monterey area. She is active in reviving Rumsien language, song, folklore, basketry, and other traditions that were once thought lost. The Santa Lucia Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust incorporated in 1995 to conserve the ecological integrity of the protected lands within the Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel, California. It actively manages 18,000 acres of natural lands within the Preserve, conducts and promotes ecological research, and offers free environmental education programs.
Robert Dawson (San Francisco) collaborating with Library and Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County (Stockton)
California’s San Joaquin Valley has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States. Given research into the connection between families’ health and literacy and children’s academic success and reading levels, promoting reading and literacy can improve its community’s well-being. Photographer Robert Dawson will spend one year documenting the culture of public libraries and literacy in San Joaquin County—collaborating with the Library and Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County (the Foundation) and in partnership with the Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library. While collecting images of the libraries; bookmobile; and literacy activities in homeless shelters, neighborhood centers, and outlying parts of the county, Dawson also will gather stories of how people use the libraries and literacy programs. Photographic historian and curator Ellen Manchester will research archives that will provide context for presenting the images. They are planning a large format print version for exhibition in Stockton; a digital exhibition for presentation in branch libraries, community centers, and other public spaces; an interactive website; a media campaign; and an archive of prints to be donated to the libraries’ special collections. The Foundation and library are introducing Dawson to community members, helping him to scout subject matter, and working with him on the public presentations and media campaign. Lead artist Robert Dawson grew up in West Sacramento. He completed a large-scale photographic study of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys between 1982 and 1993 that culminated in the traveling exhibition and book, The Great Central Valley: California’s Heartland (University of California Press, 1993). Since 1994 he has been working on a photographic study of public libraries throughout the United States. Founded in 1990, the Foundation supports family and community literacy programs and works on improving and expanding public library services in Stockton and San Joaquin County.
Edward “Scape” Martinez (San Jose) collaborating with Mural Music & Arts Project (East Palo Alto)
East Palo Alto is a vibrant, artistic, and culturally rich minority-majority city populated by Latino, African American, and Pacific Islander communities. It suffers from violence, economic hardship, substance abuse, and educational inequality. In the summer of 2013 a surge of violence caused the City Manager and Police Chief to approach Mural Music & Arts Project (the Project) about finding creative ways of supporting community youth in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence. Using East Palo Alto’s Shot Spotter, the Project decided to use the city’s “hot-spots,” which are seen as the city’s most dangerous locations, for artistic beautification and experimentation. In response, lead artist Edward “Scape” Martinez is collaborating with five emerging youth artists to create “Voices of EPA,” two murals that will be installed at identified crime “hot spots” to promote peace and unity. Selected youth artists will work alongside Scape to spread awareness about the project—developing an outreach process leading to a community design workshop. Multi-generational East Palo Alto residents will be invited to contribute ideas for the murals’ concepts, colors, and content. Scape Martinez is an established graffiti artist and writer. His work has been displayed in museums and galleries regionally, nationally, and internationally. He is a strong advocate for young adults and has published several books about graffiti arts: This project will shift his role from being a youth educator to being an artist who is working alongside talented youth. Founded in 2001, the Mural Music & Arts Project is an arts-based youth development organization aimed at educating, empowering, and inspiring youth through participation in the arts.
Mia Nakano (Oakland) collaborating with Hyphen Magazine (San Francisco) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (fiscal sponsor)
Oakland-based photographer, videographer, and educator Mia Nakano is collaborating with Hyphen Magazine to create “The Visibility Project: Faces, Stories, and Histories of Queer Asian American Women and Transgender Communities.” Hyphen is a nonprofit news and culture magazine that tells stories of Asian America. Conceived in 2002 by Bay Area journalists, Hyphen showcases people outside of the boundaries of Asian American stereotypes. This project recognizes that while lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) have been active in multiple communities and capacities, the queer part of their identity frequently goes unmentioned or unrecognized. Nakano will create a new LGBTQ online section at hyphenmagazine.com that will feature regular LGBTQ API contributors. She also will take two mini-tours of the South and Midwest, creating a community snapshot of their LGBTQ API communities. As she travels, she will work closely with Hyphen’s editors to produce and publish videos, post photos, blog, and create multi-lingual translations of interviews to post on Hyphen’s website. In the project’s culmination, Nakano and Hyphen will publish a book of portraits and a photo exhibition that will be launched at a community event. Nakano also will work with API Equality Northern California to develop a curriculum using the book and Hyphen’s website as assignment resources. Mia Nakano’s work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Leeway Foundation, and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center; and she has contributed to such media outlets as Colorlines, the Kathmandu Post, and Democracy Now!
Pancho Pescador (Oakland) collaborating with American Friends Service Committee (San Francisco)
The American Friends Service Committee’s youth-led organizing committee 67 Sueños is collaborating with Oakland-based artist Pancho Pescador to create 67 Sueños UnDocu-Murals: Visualizing Lives Unseen—up to three murals examining the millions of low-income migrants who may be left out of immigration policies currently being discussed by the federal government. The murals will be placed strategically in the Fruitvale and “Deep East” communities of Oakland. Under Pescador’s guidance, up to 50 participants will be involved in the production and painting of murals at each site. Youth will organize mural unveiling events and community festivals. Once the murals are complete, 67 Sueños will host mural tours, engaging students groups, migrant justice activists, and public art organizers in discussions of their themes, imagery, and social justice content. Pancho Pescador melds traditional muralist sensibilities with arte callejero techniques popular to urban youth aesthetics. Born in Chile, Pescador lives on the “Deep East,” side of Oakland where many undocumented migrant communities live. He has painted more than 30 murals in Oakland and is a member of Oakland’s Community Rejuvenation Project. The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice as a practical expression of faith in action. Since its inception, it has provided young people an alternative to military service, engaging youth in movements for justice, peace, and the empowerment of marginalized people.
Clare Rojas (San Francisco) collaborating with 509 Cultural Center (San Francisco)
Clare Rojas, the 509 Cultural Center, and others involved in shaping a Mid-Market Arts District in San Francisco will collaborate on the creation, development, and installation of a large-scale public mural on the five-story Warfield Building. The finished work will be visible to Market Street motorists, mass transit riders, and pedestrians. Because the Warfield, constructed in 1922, is an historical landmark building, no permanent additions can be made to it: Rojas’s mural will be presented for one year. The project will explore how a powerful contemporary visual image can enrich the urban context of Mid-Market and engage the neighborhood’s stakeholders in a nuanced public dialogue about the District’s future. Clare Rojas has exhibited her work locally and nationally. Recent shows include the Beautiful Losers exhibition at the Cincinnati Center for Contemporary Art and Will Poor Will at the Belkin Satellite at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The proposed mural will be a natural outgrowth of Rojas’s earlier work, which was overtly feminist and employed surreal or unreal figures in a narrative intent. She plans to re-integrate symbolic figures within a large-scale abstract composition for the mural. The 509 Cultural Center has been located in the Tenderloin since 1987, and its co-directors Laurie Lazar and Darryl Smith opened the Luggage Store Gallery at Sixth and Market streets in 1990. In addition to presenting exhibits, performances, and literary events in the gallery, they manage the outdoor Tenderloin National Forest. They intend for Clare Rojas’s mural to launch a 509 Cultural Center public art program.
Ehren Tool (Berkeley) collaborating with Palo Alto Art Center Foundation (Palo Alto)
Ceramic artist Ehren Tool will create a new body of work that honors local veterans while highlighting their challenges. Beginning in April 2014, the Palo Alto Art Center (Art Center) will invite community members to lend objects, images, and ephemera related to their military service or to that of their relatives. In June, Ehren Tool will be in residence in a small ceramic studio inside the Center’s Glass Gallery, where he will incorporate these items into ceramic cups. Images and photographs will be scanned to create glass decals; medals and objects will be imprinted into the wet clay. Members of the public will be invited to visit during Tool’s working hours to learn about his process, and the cups will be fired with assistance from Art Center staff. As he produces the cups, Tool will display them with his installation growing and changing daily over three weeks. Tool also will work with master printmaker Kathryn Kain at the Center to develop a series of prints about veterans’ issues. The resulting exhibition, Containers of Community, will be on view for two months. A culminating public program will feature other veterans’ groups and artists. Tool will redistribute the cups from Containers of Community to the veterans and community members who contributed resource materials. Lead artist Ehren Tool creates ceramic objects and sculptures that address the experience of war. Tool served as a U.S. Marine in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation works to expand the reach and impact of the Palo Alto Art Center, which was established in 1971 by the City of Palo Alto and serves some 70,000 people annually with high-quality art programs.
Mark Brest van Kempen (Oakland) collaborating with Arts Benicia (Benicia)
Currently a master plan is being developed for the environmentally sensitive Benicia Waterfront that will integrate the historical downtown area with the adjacent marshlands and park. Through an 18-month residency with Arts Benicia, lead artist Mark Brest van Kempen will work to integrate public art and public dialogue into this process of waterfront development. Each of three six-month-long temporary site-specific installations will explore different aspects of the site—such as the history, ecology, and hydrology. Each installation will trigger a set of public events—discussions, design charettes, seminars, and performances—to explore some of the ideas raised by the installations. Together Arts Benicia and the lead artist will work to incorporate the results of these art events into the official planning process for the waterfront. Mark Brest van Kempen has created a variety of artworks using the landscape itself as sculptural material. He has received numerous commissions for permanent public art projects, and recently was invited by the German government to submit designs for a national reunification monument in Leipzig. The mission of Arts Benicia is to “stimulate, nurture, and educate the cultural life in Benicia and beyond.” It presents and promotes the work of local artists in a professional setting, provides public programs for adults and children, and has an ongoing arts education program for adults.
Richard Wright of Creativity Explored (San Francisco) collaborating with the San Francisco Girls Chorus
As part of the celebration of its 35th anniversary year, the San Francisco Girls Chorus (Girls Chorus) is presenting a rarely staged 20th century master work by Benjamin Britten, Noye’s Fludde, developed from a 15th-century mystery play and intended by Britten to be performed in a church, rather than a theatre. Noye’s Fludde is based on the biblical story of Noah and his ark. The Girls Chorus works to be creative in all aspects of the choral art form, and to communicate the joy of singing through involvement in the community. In this project, it will partner with Richard Wright and some 15 other artists from Creativity Explored—an organization that works to challenge cultural perceptions about persons with disabilities. Many of Creativity Explored’s artists highlight animals in their artworks and many of those works have been exhibited both in its gallery and off-site in juried exhibitions and museums. For example, Richard Wright’s drawings feature detailed and multi-textured renditions of imaginary creatures, ancient masks, and monsters from the world of film. Since joining Creativity Explored in April 2012, Wright has been professionally exhibited at The Luggage Store Gallery. Through this collaboration, participants from the Girls Chorus and Creativity Explored will visit one another to learn more about one another’s processes, inspire the choral performance, and incorporate into it a range of imaginative animal artworks. Approximately 59 pieces will be created for use as puppets, props, and headdresses. After the performances, the Girls Chorus will auction the artworks, with proceeds to be divided between the Girls Chorus and Creativity Explored.
Rene Yung (San Francisco) collaborating with the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Through Chinese Whispers: Bay Chronicles, lead artist Rene Yung is continuing an exploration of the untold stories of Chinese immigrants to the San Francisco Bay Area through a multi-faceted research and development process that will culminate in an installation at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Visitor’s Center. She also will create an eight-minute video, a take-away foldout map, and a soundscape that will be accessible online. The project focuses on the shrimping industry that Chinese immigrants established around the Bay in the 19th Century, including sites at San Francisco’s Hunters Point, China Camp in Marin, and near Redwood City. With her project team of artists, scholars, and Maritime Museum staff, Yung will sail on Grace Quan, a replica 19th century Chinese shrimp junk, to sites of these former Chinese fisheries. They will chronicle the journeys through visual, audio, and textual documentation and conduct public programs at each landing site. This documentation will be compiled and transformed into the installation. Rene Yung’s art practice has grown from mixed media installations to large-scale social projects that connect community, place, and history. The Creative Work Fund project continues Chinese Whispers, through which Yung has explored the historical role and experience of the Chinese in helping to build the settlements of the American West. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park celebrates and interprets the cultural diversity of the Bay Area’s maritime history. Its extensive archives and collections include five National Historic Landmark ships, a maritime museum, visitor center, Aquatic Park Historic District, and a maritime library.