Category Archives: News

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The Potrero Puzzler was originally made for the exhibition from From Steel to Wheels: The Cor-O-Van Building’s Past, Present and Future curated by Ruth Miller at the Potrero Hill Library, spring 2013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!


ArtPlace America post

ArtPlace America Post

A post on Crossing the Street appears this month and next on the new ArtPlace website. Site for the new funding consortium
ArtPlace America, projects that improve urban neighborhoods are featured.

Link to:


Neighborhood projects funded by the Creative Work Fund on ArtPlace

Alemany Island Project Begins!

50 Households in the Portola are working on the Alemany Island Project now!

The 3-part Alemany Island Project will be installed under the 280 Freeway across from the San Francisco Farmers Market on Alemany Boulevard.  To be unveiled in 2012, the project includes: a beautiful 50′ mural of a San Francisco Garter Snake and Mission Blue butterflies painted on a freeway support, a native garden designed by a City College of San Francisco Horticulture Dept. student and a 48 panel mural painted by Portola residents of images from the Book and Wheel Works Porto-Loteria game. Lia Smith, Chairperson of the Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee, began work on the project in 2008, and through her efforts the project was awarded funding from the San Francisco Community Challenge Grant Program.

Lia and outlining Worker panel from Porto-LoteriaLia outlining the Worker image on a panel

Portola neighbors at a painting workshop
One half of the Porto-Loteria Panel Painters




Artists’ Talk at the Portola Library

Saturday, March 19, 2011 Artists’ Talk at the Portola Library

We’ll tell some of the neighborhood stories that led to Crossing the Street. If you haven’t seen the Crossing the Street handmade books about the Portola District, now’s your chance. Come get your free maps! You’ll have a chance to tell your stories, too.

Raffle! Prizes!

Portola Branch Library
380 Bacon St. at Goettingen
San Francisco, CA 94134

Email us for more information:

SF History Expo

20 Great SF Neighborhood History Projects!

The SF History Expo in the Old Mint showcased 20 San Francisco Neighborhood Projects. We got to meet San Franciscans working on the Bernal, Portrero and Visitacion Valley history projects. Foundsf was there, collecting oral histories and scanning visitors’ personal photographs for their website More than 3,500 visitors passed through the Expo over 2 days. The Old Mint was lovely, lots of people came to see the inside. Thanks to the San Francisco Historical Society which produced the event.

SF History Expo

Join us at the San Francisco History Expo

This Saturday and Sunday, February 12 & 13, 2011 at the Old Mint at 5th and Mission Street. The Hours Are from 11-4 both days and the Expo is FREE!

Link to the Expo

Crossing the Street…

Crossing the Street Extended!

The Crossing the Street exhibition at the Portola Branch Library has been extended through May 31, 2011. You’re invited to come to the library on Saturday, March 19 at 1:30 pm for an artists’ talk with us on working together with Portola residents and with the Library to make the Crossing the Street book collection.

See you there!

Nominated for People’s Choice Award!


Nominated for People’s Choice Award!

Portola at Play has been nominated for a People’s Choice Design Award at the Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Institution!

Check it out and add a comment…we’d be honored to get your vote!
There are pages of great projects, from grass roots ones like ours to corporate designs like iPhone and Google Wave.

Create a login and you can vote!