LOWER 24TH STREET IN THE MISSION – Gets The Artistic Touch

San Francisco artists present three unique site-specific storefront installations

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The third installment of the Art in Storefronts pilot program will launch on lower 24th Street in the Mission District with a lively community event on Friday, November 20 from 7-10 p.m. A new economic development initiative, the pilot program engages San Francisco-based artists to reinvigorate four neighborhoods that have been hard-hit by the economic downturn. The program was initiated by Mayor Gavin Newsom and represents a partnership between the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), neighborhood based economic development organizations and Triple Base Gallery, which provided curatorial oversight. Art in Storefronts officially launched on Friday, October 23 in the Central Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods followed by 3rd Street in Bayview on October 30. All installations will remain on view through the end of January 2010.

MISSION: We Built This City.
Tahiti Pehrson at work on his papel picado.

“Art in Storefronts taps into our incredible creative community to help combat some of the effects of the economic recession on our neighborhood commercial districts,” said Mayor Newsom. “By placing original works of art in a vacant storefront, we are helping to stem the tide of neighborhood blight, enhance quality of life, improve safety and cultivate neighborhood pride.”

The Mission launch event will kick off at Triple Base Gallery, located 3041 24th Street (at Treat), with a community celebration featuring an unveiling ceremony lead by Mixcoatl Anahuac Danza Azteca and live jazz by The Association. The evening will also include an art walk, which, in addition to the three storefront installations, will include Triple Base Gallery’s 24th Street Promenade, an ongoing project that places ten additional art projects in businesses located along the corridor. The public will have the opportunity to meet the artists who will be stationed at their installations giving impromptu art talks throughout the event. The event is hosted by Lower 24th Street Merchants & Neighbors Association, a partner organization that helped establish Art in Storefronts in the Mission.


BAYVIEW (1624 Oakldale Ave). Living Room. 
Elisheva Biernoff describes how she collected photos from people in the neighborhood to create the portraits hung in her installation.
Photos, Geneviève Massé

State Senator Mark Leno, Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel,
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell

“The arts have always played a vital role in beautifying Mission District streets and expressing the neighborhood’s rich and diverse cultural heritage,” stated Supervisor David Campos. “Art in Storefronts marks a new chapter in the district’s long and famous artistic tradition by uniting artists and business owners in the common goal of transforming vacant storefronts into appealing spaces that will attract future businesses to the area and ensure a vibrant commercial corridor in the future.”

As part of the project scope, an online toolkit with information for both artists and landlords about how to execute an Art in Storefronts project will be developed and added to the Arts Commission website, sfartscommission.org, by November 20. Business owners who are interested in strengthening and attracting economic growth into their communities will be able to access instructions and key forms that will help them contract with artists independently of the City.

“Since the initial launch of Art in Storefronts in the Tenderloin and in Central Market on October 23, there has been an incredible amount of praise and support from both the cultural community and the public for this program,” said Luis R. Cancel. “With the Mission District launch, we can see the impact of this project in four very distinct neighborhoods. Our hope is that visitors to these project areas will come away with a sense of the rehabilitative effect art can have on a community and will be inspired to implement similar projects in their own neighborhoods using the resources we’ve made available online.”

TENDERLOIN (144 Taylor). Fight for your Neigborhood.
Spurred by the Tenderloin’s historical connection to the sport of boxing, Chris Treggiari and
Billy Mitchell created a boxing gym that also serves as a reminder to fight for the neighborhood during tough economic times. Photo, Matthew Millman

The selection process was very competitive with nearly 200 applicants applying. Triple Base, a Mission District art space experienced in organizing art in storefronts projects, provided curatorial oversight for Art in Storefronts. “The overwhelming response to this pilot project shows its great potential to grow,” said Triple Base co-directors, Joyce Grimm and Dina Pugh. “The selected proposals responded to the culture and history of specific neighborhoods in the most innovative ways and incorporated diverse media. Because these installations would be located on street level, it was also really important for us that the works be accessible to a broad audience. We are excited for people to come down and discover the installations on lower 24th Street and to see all of the other amazing community-supported art projects, like the 24th Street Promenade, that are happening in the neighborhood.”

Mission Project Descriptions
Kelly Ording and Jet Martinez transform a vacant storefront into a free fortune-telling business that will instruct passersby to ask “Ms. Teriosa” a question about their future. Tahiti Pehrson’s intricately hand-cut paper works celebrating street scenes fill her storefront, creating shadow play throughout the day. Abner Nolan creates a highly polished display space for curating everyday materials and objects collected in and around the immediate neighborhood.

CENTRAL MARKET (990 Market).
No One Seems To Care That I Want Roots, by Liz Maher. Photo, Eduardo Solér

About the Art in Storefronts Team
Established by charter in 1932, the San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts in San Francisco. Led by the belief that a creative cultural environment is essential to the City’s well-being, the Arts Commission programs permeate all aspects of City life. Programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Arts & Education, Cultural Equity Grants, Public Art, SFAC Gallery, Street Artist Licensing, and summer in the City Concert Series.

SFAC’s Community Arts and Education Program started in 1967 when a group of artists and activists brought a radical notion to the San Francisco Arts Commission: fund artists and arts organizations to work in neighborhood and community settings. The program was called the Neighborhood Arts Program and the total budget for the first fiscal year was $25,000. Today, the Community Arts and Education program continues to nurture art for and by the people where they live and work, in our neighborhoods and online.

TENDERLOIN (116 Taylor Street). Our Busy Lives. Central City Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program window features work created by community artists that denotes the busy lives of poor and homeless people living in the Tenderloin. Photo, Matthew Millman

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is dedicated to enhancing San Francisco’s economic vitality. OEWD’s programs are responsible for strengthening San Francisco’s many diverse neighborhoods and commercial corridors, creating a business climate where companies can grow and prosper, and ensuring a continually high quality of life for all San Franciscans.

Triple Base invigorates the local art community with experimental art exhibitions and provides emerging artists with mentorship and support. Brought together by a shared interest in site-specific and multi-disciplinary contemporary art practice, co-curators Joyce Grimm and Dina Pugh aim to foster exchanges between a growing network of local and international artistic communities. Triple Base strives to give artists the time, space, and resources to create thought-provoking artwork and make the work accessible to the diverse audience that Triple Base attracts through its gallery exhibitions and public programs.

Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association
Lower 24th Street is in the center of San Francisco’s eclectic and predominantly Hispanic Mission District. It runs along a tree-lined street known as “El Corazón de la Mision”, or “The Heart of the Mission.” The stretch of 24th Street running from Mission Street to Potrero Street boasts a vast number of colorful and unique specialty stores, restaurants, taquerias, Mexican bakeries, fresh produce grocers, butchers, cafes, and art galleries, as well as the greatest concentration of murals in the city.

The Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association was created in 1999 by a group of long time residents, merchants, and service providers concerned with quality of life issues in the community. Our diverse membership consists of merchants and residents of different ethnic backgrounds, genders, lifestyles, and economic levels.

CENTRAL MARKET (984 Market). Consider It, by Phillip Hua. Photo, Eduardo Solér

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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