Category Archives: News

Join us at Open Engagement 2016

Game TemplateBook and Wheel Works will be offering a workshop and presenting a project in progress during Open Engagement, 2016. Both events take place at the Oakland Museum. The conference begins Thursday, April 28 and runs through Sunday May 1.

Check out our Play the Way: Come Make a Game on Saturday, April 30, 12-1:30
More info


Hear a quick presentation about our new collaboration with Richard Talavera and The Mexican Bus, Rancho Grande on Sunday, May 1 3:20-3:35.

More info

Bau Cua Ca CopFlower Bau Cua Ca CopShell game first draft






Moving Art House Exhibition Extended!

Drop by the Portola Branch Library and check out the Moving Art House exhibition–extended indefinitely!

Moving Art House Logo orng bkcgrnd sm002 (2)

Create a Cootie Catcher: Unfold Stories!

Potrero Puzzler Cootie Catcher sm
Potrero Puzzler, Book and Wheel Works, 2013

Join us for a Giant Cootie Catcher
making workshop!

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Friday, June 26, 2015
3-5:00 and 5:30-7:45, or drop in any time.

Learn to design, play, and tell your story of home through the use of large origami fortune-tellers or cootie catchers. Drawn from their giant cootie catchers that unfurl stories of the San Francisco’s Potrero Hill  neighborhood, artists Kate Connell + Oscar Melara (Book + Wheel Works) and collaborator Alisa Messer will demonstrate how to design these unique large-scale paper structures to unfold complex stories of place and home. So, bring your stories, pictures and images of your place, your home, (or just draw/collage when you get here) and be ready to play together at the end of the workshop.

Materials and basic tools will be provided.

Check out YBCA’s Facebook page and RSVP there! 
We’ll begin workshops at 3pm and 5:30pm, but please drop in at whatever time is most convenient to you!

This workshop is one of 3 workshops in the Sustaining Place series curated by Book and Wheel Works for Conceiving Place by Mabel Negrete at YBCA.


Sustaining Place: How can we sustain place? Come play your way with us in these “thinkershops.” The social forces of urban renewal, development and displacement raise questions– what is possible? We will play our way to an exchange about nurturing an authentic San Francisco, supporting labor, allying with public education and services, paying living wages and cherishing and defending our neighborhoods and our homes. As we “thinker” our history together, sending our roots deeper, we value our city’s strong African American, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ, and working class communities. Our hands and bodies build mutual respect as we commit to a San Francisco that sustains all of us.

Joint statement by participating artists: Book and Wheel Works, Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, Jarrel Phillips, Alisa Messer, Amber Straus.

Watch for Moving Art House this winter!

The Mexican Bus

Moving Art House

We’re planing a mobile cultural space with dynamic programming for southeast San Francisco. Beginning in winter, 2015, and running through winter, 2016, Moving Art House, Richard Talavera’s  Mexican Bus (a beautiful environment on its own) will shape-shift for a series of events in San Francisco’s Portola District. More than a dozen artists—musicians and composers, poets, visual and performing artists—will create new work germane to southeast San Francisco. Over the course of a year the route of Moving Art House connects and illuminates a constellation of sites where Portolans and their predecessors have gathered over many years.

Thank you to generous funders who are making this project possible!
In order of receipt:

Zellerbach Family Foundation

Fleishhacker Foundation

Southern Exposure/Alternative Exposure

Thanks, too, to the Intersection Incubator Program, essential to San Francisco!

Stay tuned, more news to come!

Latinos in Architecture

Perspectivas 2014: The Meaning of Home and the Urban Fabric

Oscar was invited to participate in the Latinos in Architecture (LiA) exhibition:

Join LiA SF and the Architecture and the City festival
for its first Perspectivas 2014 Exhibition:

Alter Space Gallery
Opening night party
Saturday, September 6, 2014
7:00-10:00 pm
1158 Howard St. (between 7th and 8th Streets-blue building)
San Francisco, CA

Perspectivas 2014 1a  Perspectivas 2014 1b
Perspectivas 2014 is an opportunity to showcase built and unbuilt design work to the Bay Area community at large. The exhibit aims to showcase the work and talent of Hispanic architectural professionals, landscape designers, urban planners, design professionals, artists and students practicing in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Raul Anziani | Field Paoli, Larry Barcelon | Barcelon and Jang, Argelia Barcena | KMD Architects, Jose Brunner | A+D Architecture and Design, Lorena Fernandez-Fernandez | ByLorena, Irving Gonzales | Gonzales architects, David Lasker | Paletteur, Bruno Lopez | Kendall Young Associates, Oscar Melara | Book and Wheel Works, Paul Molina | Paul Molina Architect, Alejandro Pimentel | SF Department of Public Works, Mauricio Soto | Studio for Lightweight Design, Reinaldo Soto | Stantec Architecture, Sandra Vivanco | A+D Architecture and Design

Alemany Island Panels Going Up!

Alemany Island Panels Going Up!

45 Families and 3 Classrooms Made it Happen

Over the last two years, family and classroom groups in the Portola painted mural panels, each one an image from our Porto-Loteria game about the Portola District in San Francisco. A few weeks ago we put the first 30 panels up on San Bruno Ave. and Alemany, across from the Farmers Market. See more photos of the volunteer work day by Simon Thorpe here. The Alemany Island Project has 3 parts: The beautiful freeway support mural designed by Corey Ferris, native garden designed by City College of San Francisco Horticulture student Davery Yim and the Porto-Loteria panels painted by neighborhood families. A great crew turned out to install and we’ll be putting up 18 more in the next few weeks. Thanks to all for their hard work, to Reanna Tong for her ongoing project management, to the Portola Neighborhood Association and Jack Tse for stewardship  and to Lia Smith for her original vision, deep outreach and resourceful project design.

The Workers panel from Porto-Loteria just installed on San Bruno Ave., SF, CA

The Workers panel from Porto-Loteria painted by Oscar Melara, just installed on San Bruno Ave., SF, CA

Portola + Lotería

Play Porto-Lotería!

If you haven’t played lately, drop by the liberry:

San Francisco Public Library

Arete Libro: La Frontera

Arete Libro: La Frontera

Arete Libro: La Frontera

Opening Friday, August 16, 2013
Velvet da Vinci
2015 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Exhibition runs August 14- September 15, 2013

For the exhibition, La Frontera, we made Arete Libro: La Frontera or Earring Book of the Border
A book distributed across two earrings, a wearable index of the U.S./Mexico Border with
small pages made of recycled drum-head leather. The San Patricio Battalion, coyotes and
pollitos, Monarch butterflies, free to traverse the Americas and cempasuchiles/marigolds,
the flower of the dead on both sides, and Joaquín Torres García’s “Upside-down Map
of the Americas, 1943, each fill one of the pages.

La Frontera debuted at Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City,
June 6-July 28, 2013

The caja

The whole enchilada

Potrero Puzzler

Potrero Puzzler

Potrero Puzzler two sizesArt/Game to Check out from the Library

Right now, the Potrero Hill District in San Francisco is the site of more construction than any other neighborhood in the city.

We made the Potrero Puzzler so that friends, families, and especially neighbors could play, learn, and imagine the future of their neighborhood together.

It comes in 3 sizes — the size big is for 2 people to open and close. The Puzzler is a little about the past and a lot about the future — it asks what residents want for Potrero Hill. Playing games seems to allow people of all ages to relax and to let our imaginations loose. What would you like to see here on the Hill?

Portola Puzzler Choose a Number

The Potrero Puzzler was originally made for the exhibition from From Steel to Wheels: The Cor-O-Van Building’s Past, Present and Future curated by Ruth Miller at the Potrero Hill Library, spring 2013 for the exhibition artists focused on adaptive reuse of the Cor-O-Van building, once home to the Pacific Steel Mill, the biggest steel mill on the West Coast in the early 20th century.

Kaiser Permanente has purchased the site with plans to build a clinic, housing and parking. Talking to folks on the hill, we learned of ongoing plans for building on multiple sites—Rebuild Potrero to revitalize public housing on the hill, Pier 70 development and ongoing building in Mission Bay.

We also learned of the decades long struggle for health care on the hill and the desire of many in southeast San Francisco (Bayview, Portola and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods) to have a clinic in the Bayview. The Potrero Puzzler is a playful device for bringing those conversations together.

Potrero Puzzler open all the way
If you’re in the Bay Area, come by the Potrero Hill Library, you can check the Potrero Puzzler out just like a book with your library card.

Felix works the Potrero Puzzler medium size 2 Felix works the PP Erin and Kate with the 2 Person Potrero Puzzler
Audrey and Erik play 1 Audrey and Erik play

Portero Puzzler cuts over to a nearby neighborhood and makes an appearance at Portola Pop-Up Art Night
on San Bruno Avenue, at El Toro, home of Latin Rock.

Norma at El Toro Charles and the Potrero Puzzler
Norma Villazana-Price and Portola artist, Charles Dabo with the 2 person Potrero Puzzler opened flat.

Thanks to Sandy Spiker and Roel Vanbezoijen for the photographs.

Getting Ready for the 11th Havana Bienal!

Getting Ready for the 11th Havana Bienal!

Book and Wheel Works is working on


SANcafé includes a communal pop up café, a Map/Book and a digital Library.

We’re working on the artwork the for San Agustín Farm Map/Guide to Flavors and in Spanish: Mapa de Cultivos y Manual de Sabores de San Agustín for the 11th Havana Bienal, which opens May 11, 2012 in Cuba. Our part of the SANcafé project is a map that folds into a book and a digital library on urban agriculture. It’s another “edge of a big city project!” And more neighborhood mapping, bookmaking and another library collaboration.

SANcafé is one project developed for  MAC/SAN (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de San Agustín) a project of LASA (Laboratorio Artístico de San Agustín), an organization in San Agustín, a neighborhood at the outside southwest edge of Havana. San Agustín is a working class neighborhood of 37,000 people. In the past the neighborhood was the home of many of members of Fulgencio Batista’s regime and before that the site of extensive mango groves.

Read about our Portola District Fundraiser April 22, 2012!

Check out LASA’s blog!

SANcafé Press Release


Here’s a peek at the artwork for the San Agustín Farm Map/Guide to Flavors–lots of combining of images and text to come!