Building the Art House


Building the Art House filled 3 floors of the Rosenberg Library at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) May through November of 2017. Co-curated by Kate Connell and Emma Spertus, it was the second strategy initiated by Book and Wheel to ask the question: Can we build a collective cultural life in Southeast San Francisco? More than forty artists answered with a resounding “yes!”

The exhibition was divided into 3 sections:

Bling Blang, You Bring a Hammer I’ll Bring a Nail filled the Madeleine Haas Russell Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Library.  It brought together a multigenerational roster of visual and video artists working in all media. Artists who have home studios, studios in industrial buildings, or are artworkers in Southeast SF contributed their sketchbooks, linocuts, oil paintings, mural art, textiles, architectural models and public art proposals, performative screen prints, feathered words, neon sculpture, video, and a digital “sampler” that translates text messages into cross stitch. Exhibited side by side are artists who are long-time residents of Southeast SF and artists newer to the area.

Cutting the Rug: Capturing the Night Life:A collaboration with the CCSF Journalism Department, student journalists documented a range of musical and theatrical entertainment in grassroots neighborhood venues in Southeast San Francisco. Where else in the city can you hear live Banda, old school soul and Hawaiian music? Photographs document performances at the Italian American Social Club in the Excelsior, Public Glass and the Bayview Opera House in the Bayview, 7 Mile House in Visitacion Valley and El Toro in the Portola District. Invited community photographers were included.

Digging in: Our Green Spaces, a collaboration with YAX/Youth Art Exchange displayed youth artists’ photographic representations and artful interpretations of green spaces in the Southeast region of the city. The Visitacion Valley Greenway, the Bayview’s Quesada Gardens and the Alemany Farm are among those represented. The Southeast is home to a multitude of green spaces: community efforts created against all odds, epic organizing efforts and labors of love. They are vital centers of community life. Historically, Southeast neighborhoods have been the site of the City’s produce and cut flower production, home to truck gardens, greenhouses and windmills.

Building the Art House participating artists: Estelle Akamine, Matt Christienson, Kate Connell, Charles Dabo, Emory Douglas, Keith Ferris, Juan Fuentes, Micholiano Forks, Caitlyn Galloway, Nancy Hom, Phillip Hua, Andrew Kleindolph, Arthur Koch, Carey Lin, Lisa Magruder, Oscar Melara, Mark Myers, Ron Moultrie Saunders, Sarah M. Newton, Diane Olivier, Cecilia Peña-Govea, Mel Prest, Refa One, Anthony Ryan, Anne Seeman, Sarah A. Smith, Floyd Solder, Charlene Tan, Neo Ve’ave’a, Andy Vogt, Nathan Watson.

See the work of Co-Curator Emma Spertus.

Photographs by Sibila Savage.