Archive for the ‘Mission district’ Tag

Thinking about the Front Yard Garden 2013   Leave a comment

The rains have begun late this year and because of this it has been a long and fruitful growing year for the front yard garden. The flowers from the squash and sungold cherry tomatoes were picked, the squash itself nurtured, all by neighbors unknown.

Food plants are meant to die back, drop their seed and nourish the soil as they go. All of this takes time, the garden is not always “pretty”, as the seasons work toward the plants end and the soil rests. Recently someone called the non emergency number in San Francisco to report that the front yard garden was a Danger- high priority. I could see as I took a look at the garden that it might be a bother to someone getting out of their car, not dangerous, but “definitely a bother.”

The front yard food garden is separated by a driveway that has a rose tree and other non food plants. The non food part of the garden touches my neighbors garden.  I garden their plot also. My neighbors got a letter about the front yard garden.  I had begged these neighbors I consider friends to be part of the city planting that was happening in the Mission District, and now they are displeased with me and the front yard garden. The letter we both got has not made them want to keep their front yard garden any more than they already did not want to have the front yard garden.  Before and after getting the letters the gardens were prettied up.

I plant and maintain these gardens for all of the folks that like finding free treasure, for folks with plenty and for folks with not enough.  There are millions of hungry people in the U.S.A. and this garden helps me feel better about that fact.

Another neighbor, a friend had told me to expect the letter.  This neighbor is one of the many gardeners in the front yard garden. He was a farmer in Mexico and has given me many garden tips. He said he had tried to explain fallow soil and why it was messy.  He said she did not understand.

I realize many do not know that plants are alive. Plants are alive.

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Big City Thoughts   Leave a comment

If you are accosted by a screaming po liceman continue walking  and do not respond. If you stop as I did, because you are afraid and behave without thinking as I did, ask if you are being detained. If you are not being detained (another word for arrested) continue walking and say nothing.  Do not speak with any po licemen, even if you witness an incident.  If you want to report an incident go to a po lice station.  If you want to report a po liceman in San Francisco there is paper work you can fill out and submit.

Big City Thinking 2013   Leave a comment

I was walking my dog, doing errands, minding my own business.

I dropped off a video for my friend at the Mission Library, on the corner of Bartlette and 24th Street. I noticed the construction going on in the immediate area.  I spent time really looking.  I noticed the purple building across the street being renovated, the  workmen on the 2nd floor noticed me.  I stayed a bit longer musing at the money being pumped into the area and then walked on. The area is becoming cleaner, more colorful, with newly painted buildings, new murals, gentrified by the corporation. A general feeling of wealth pervades. Long time businesses must be thrilled with the revitalization of their neighborhood and yet there is a look of poverty among many of the people.

I was thinking….. San Francisco is looking like a Real Big City and 24th and Mission is losing its look of a well used, accepting, even friendly, kind of homey, and homeless, chewing gum covered MUNI and 24th Street BART station Neighborhood. There are not the “usual characters”, some have died I realize, but the homeless that I knew, and that knew me, because I am also a character in this neighborhood are not there anymore.  The under served  are more and different people, and it feels like a less congruent neighborhood.

I have crossed the street and have passed Cafe La Boheme, a longtime business in the Mission District of San Francisco California. I am on the north side of the street, by the bench, on the curb, waiting for the light to change.

I am standing next to two Central American women, they are on my right and carry on a quiet conversation that I cannot hear. They are clearly not ‘with me’ and yet ‘we are together’ standing on the curb. I like this part of living in the City; together, yet not together. A black car with a blue and white flag hanging from its rearview mirror stops early, not passing through the yellow Mission Street light, waiting for us three and others I do not see. I acknowledge this gesture with a wave and we three women, step onto the road, from the curb, to cross with the light, legally.

Just as we step onto Mission Street an American po liceman, on a bike, in dark blue shorts, with very tanned legs, going east on 24th Street, turns left or north, onto Mission Street,  directly in front of us! He is unsafely close to us. He proceeds to ride his bike on the wrong side of the street, having barely missed us. I yell to him, “Hey! You almost hit us And you’re on the wrong side of the street!”  I say the And part as if it is underlined, in a tone that insinuates he does not know the bike rules and that I do.

I can see him out of the side of my eye, he is coming back for me.  I am scared. I say to the women, “I think he is coming for me” they agree that he is  “probably” coming for me. I edge closer to these women. They do not move away.  We keep walking. We are across the street.

I can feel and see his American po liceman anger as he reaches me on the sidewalk. I don’t see anyone but him now. I am facing north.  I am breathing fast. I don’t look away, avert my eyes. I do not remember seeing anything else going on around me. The American po liceman straddles his bike and begins to scream at me. He screams at me, in front of witnesses, he screams at me, that his excuse or reason  for breaking the rule of riding on the wrong side of the road is so that he can “sneak up on the bad guys”.  I swear he says “sneak up on the bad guys.” He screams at me to mind my own business! That he is doing his job! Though I initially stop walking, he does not impede my forward progress when I begin to walk on as he screams.

As I walk I tell him, ” I can still speak out. I hear my voice become quieter than I feel, is that because of my anger or my fear, I wonder? He must know I am afraid. I am ashamed, I think that I looked down, cowed by his rage.  I think, I don’t know. I think I have failed and averted my eyes. I am ashamed.  Does the The American po liceman ride off, because he realizes I am afraid? Does he ride into the cross walk and onto the wrong side of the road to show me he can?”

A 30 something African man tells me I did the correct thing, bolstering me. He reconnects me to the changing neighborhood and myself. I am still breathing fast. I speak with the man for a moment, encouraged by him. I appreciate his neighborliness. I walk to a cafe and tell my story to the young women working. They tell me they are not surprised by the American po licemans behavior and one of them wonders why it did not escalate.

I remind the young women that there were many witnesses and that I am perceived as a white woman, we acknowledge this truth. I wonder if  my ethnicity was more obvious or if I had been wearing a hoody if I would have been safe from serious retribution? I wonder if this American po licemans behavior is to teach the witnesses, as well as myself to not speak out, to not speak the truth?

1 Chronicle S.Dorrance presents ‘Contemporary Group Art Show’ May/June 2014   2 comments

I am  chronicling my process for organizing and presenting my next group show. May to June 2014, San Francisco, California. I think the title is one of the most important parts of the show.  I am giving it deep thought and I have a bit of direction. I talk about it with any who will participate in the discussion. I look for others to name it; it usually comes together for me in that way.

I am in my mind often these days, picking the artists, 1st initials only f,c,s/j,j,L/,j,w,d,/r,j,e,/d,o,m?/,v, h?. There may be others, some of these may not participate. Some of the artists will read this blog looking for their letter. This is a lot of artists.  Too many?  I will have to ponder this number. I may have a size limit? Something to think about.

I am considering spaces. I have loyalties, things I want to support in my neighborhood and things that support me. I always like to include my neighbors in my projects. I will begin working from my street level House Sparrow Mosaic Studio (new name for my long time studio space) soon, on my mosaic for this show and begin collecting my neighbors ideas.  I may get my show title this way. The interactions I have with my neighbors when I am working on a project  keep me motivated and not only in my alone head.  House Sparrow Mosaic Studio is unique in that it let’s my neighbors see what I am doing and  share with me what they are doing. It’s a great part of working in the urban environment.

I have decided on my mosaic piece, and have even mocked it up, still some small details to be decided.

Contemporary Art in The City   Leave a comment

Local San Francisco artist Fernando Marti’s pen and ink drawings and others from his sketch book (prints, some framed) opened at the bustling Cafe La Boheme, 23rd, May 2013, in San Francisco. I particularly like his rendition of the American Mexican wall, he has printed or etched more than one. This wall that separates humans from humans and bugs from bugs is always on my mind; I like seeing it on other artists minds.

At this intimate gathering, in the largish cafe where not all were there to see Fernando Marti’s work were some of his close human friends, their kids, his lovely wife and their four year old son. I was surprised and pleased to see that people I call ‘neighbors’, were the same people that Fernando calls ‘friends’. Labeling people has been on my mind lately.

Go see and buy the reasonably priced art of Fernando Marti’s, sit and have a glass of wine at Cafe La Boheme 3318 24th Street (just across from BART), and check out the hood in San Francisco’s Mission District.

MAPS ONLY, Revisited   Leave a comment

I was outside of my studio, watering the San Francisco, Mission District, neighborhood front yard garden when Fernando Marti, an artist, map maker and architect walked up with his young son.

We spoke just a bit before Fernando asked his son if he remembered the Maps Only show.  He didn’t remember the Maps Only show he said, which was not surprising to me, ” as he is just a little boy.”  Fernando made a soft musing sound and then asked, “do you remember the Pirate Show”? “Oh yes”, he remembered the Pirate Show!

The Pirate, Oliver Lowe stole the 700 plus crowds heart with his performance, installation and map. Many thanks to Oliver for influencing one of the younger attendees of Maps Only:Radical Cartography in Contemporary Art, “influencing the crowd is always my goal.”

MAPS ONLY: RADICAL CARTOGRAPHY IN CONTEMPORARY ART, MAY 26, 2012   Leave a comment

The walls were painted, the floor adorned with a painted compass rose;  a collaboration of Oliver Lowe, Deborah Scailes and Char Green, with much feedback from the gallery. The walls got the artists names,  and  their art work was hung by Kevin Evenson of exclusiveartservice@mac.com, May 25th, 2012.

Tempers flew, in not a bad way, food was eaten, wine drunk and relationships forged at this show. It was really a great evening of Art and an artful moment. In presenting MAPS ONLY: RADICAL CARTOGRAPHY IN CONTEMPORARY ART I wanted the ‘artful moment‘. I wanted the gathering together and hanging of the art, to be Art.  I really like the artful part of Art. The artful part of Art shares food, wine and lemonade. The artful part patches walls for one night and paints on the floor for 2 nights. This hard work or Art in this collaboration between the artists in this show was over in a moment.