Kate Connell and Oscar Melara
Book and Wheel


We Trade February 2021 (Upcoming)
We Trade Our Art for Your Art,
a growing archive of Southeast San Francisco cultural life. Send us your drawing, painting, print, cartoon, story, poem, song lyrics and we’ll send you the print of your choice, select from the Southeast San Francisco Artists Portfolio at bookandwheel.org/wetrade/ . Fourth project with the goal of building a collective cultural life in Southeast San Francisco.

Chispa, 2019-present (on hiatus during shelter in place)
A mobile cultural hub for Southeast San Francisco in the form of an independent float/art cart. Wherever Chispa sets up, live music and performance arrive. A drawing table is set up and trading begins for the Southeast San Francisco Artists Portfolio. Book and Wheel’s third strategy for building a collective cultural life in Southeast SF.

The Cultural Map of Southeast San Francisco, 2017-present
A participatory mapping project that invites residents of Southeast San Francisco to add their ideas for sites of culture in the Bayview, Excelsior, Portola and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods of San Francisco. Second strategy for building a collective cultural life in Southeast SF

Building the Art House, April -November, 2017
A three part exhibition at the Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco included forty artists working in painting, drawing, mixed media, video, greenspace and architectural design. Co-curated by Kate Connell and Emma Spertus.

Moving Art House, July 25, 2015-February 29, 2016
Mobile cultural space in the Portola District of SF. Book and Wheel collaborates with the Mexican Bus as it shape shifts to host events that include commissioned works from musicians, poets and visual artists of southeast SF.

Sustaining Place, May-August, 2015
Workshop series for the SPARKmaker’s Thinkering School at Conceiving Place, by Mabel Negrete
Room for Big Ideas, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Alemany Island Project, 2008-2014
A multi-panel mural, native garden on a street island and a soaring 50′ painted freeway support. Collaboration with 45 families, 3 classroomsand 1 firehouse in the Portola District, with the Portola Neighborhood Association, San Francisco.

Arete Libro: La Frontera, La Frontera Exhibition, 2013
A wearable index of political, cultural and personal concerns relating to the U.S. Mexico Border
Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, D. F., Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Potrero Puzzler for the Potrero Branch, San Francisco Public Library, 2013
A game for talking about how to plan your neighborhood, made in three sizes and based on the “Cootie Catcher.” Art to check out from the library.

SANcafe, for Museo Contemporaneo de San Agustin, a Project of the 11th Havana Bienal, 2012
A commissioned project that riffs on the ubiquitous triad of museum cafe, gallery guide and bookstore. Book and Wheel created two of three elements, a map/gallery guide and a laptop library on biodiversity, organic farming and nutrition, in Spanish.
Collaboration with Laboratorio Artistico de San Agustin, Havana, Cuba.

Made in the Portola: Crossing the Street, 2006-2011
A collection of handmade artists reference books on the Portola District of San Francisco, including: a neighborhood atlas, pair of graphic novels, silk book of skies and a diorama book with mail box for personalized postcards.
Collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library.

Made in the Portola: Portola at Play, 2008-2009
A game, book, movie and original music score and recording that describes the working class Portola District located on the outside edge of San Francisco.
Collaboration with filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez and musician/composer John Calloway and with the San Francisco Public Library.

Our Work Life, 2001-2004
A labor history mural lining the inside of SamTrans commuter buses. The rolling mural made San Francisco Bay Area labor history accessible to more than 1,500 members of the commuting public daily.
A collaboration with the Labor Archive and Research Center at San Francisco State University, Amalgamated Transit Workers Local 1574 and San Mateo Metro Transit Association. Permanently installed at the Evans Campus of City College of San Francisco.

The Nacimiento Project, 1995 – Present
A room-sized diorama installation, layered each year with contributions from more neighbors, family members, friends, fellow workers, artists, musicians and actors.

Grants and Awards:

Alternative Exposure/Southern Exposure, 2018, 2014
Fleishhacker Foundation, 2018, 2014
Zellerbach Family Foundation, 2018, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2004
San Francisco Arts Commission, 2008
Creative Work Fund, 2007, 2002
Blue Mountain Center Artists’ Residency,  2015, 2010, 2006
Cooper Hewitt, Top Ten: People’s Design Award 2009
LEF Foundation, 2004

Selected Publications

Ferrer, Christine Joy. “The Moving Art House.” Race, Poverty and the Environment. Vol 21. No. 1, 2018.

Connell, Kate and Oscar Melara. “Can We Build a Collective Cultural Life in Southeast San Francisco? Amplifying Working Class Culture.” Multiple Cities. multiplecities.org. April 2018.

La Frontera. Mexico, D. F.: Museo Franz Mayer, San Francisco: Velvet da Vinci Gallery, 2013.

Elder, Lauren, Kate Connell and Oscar Melara. “Viva la Evolución.” Public Art Review. Vol 24. No. 2, Spring/Summer 2013.

Weiss, Rachel. “Trusting the Public: The 11th Havana Biennial.” ArtNexus. 86.11 (2012) p64. Web.

Oncena Bienal de la Habana, Practicas Artisticas e Imaginarios Sociales. Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Wilfredo Lam/Consejo Nacional de las Artes Plasticas. Dogana, San Marino: Maretti Editore, 2012.

“Creative Work Fund: Crossing the Street.” ArtPlace America. Vol 1. No. 9, September 29, 2011. ArtPlace America. Web.

“Empowering Communities Through Art.” Neighorhood Empowerment Network,” City of San Francisco. Spring 2011. Web.

Whiting, Sam. “Neighborhood Views,” San Francisco Chronicle. 20 Nov. 2010. E1. Web.

Wallace, Ruth. “Crossing the Street: Local Artists Put the Portola on Display.” Crosscurrents/KALW News. 19 Oct. 2010.

“New Library in Portola Neighborhood.” San Francisco Chronicle 29 April 2009: E3. Print.

“Portola at Play,”  Community Arts Network. April 15, 2009. www.communityarts.net

“SamTrans Bus Driver Creates Artwork About Work.” Passenger Transport. 62:46. 22 Nov. 2004

Murphy, Dave. “Buses Driving Home a Lesson on the History of Local Labor.” San Francisco Chronicle. 8 Oct. 2004. Print.

“Mural Project Honors Bay Area Labor History.” Artweek. Oct. 2004: 27. Print.

“Our Work Life.” Community Arts Network. 15 Oct. 2004. www.can.org.

Glass, Fred. “San Francisco Librarian’s Art Gets Around on the Public Bus.” California Teacher. Sept./Oct. 2004.

Nyberg, Justin. “Labor of Love: SamTrans Installs Traveling Homage to Working Class.” San Francisco Examiner. 7 Sept. 2004: 8. Print.

Whittington, Mark. “Bus Mural Honors Workers.” San Jose Mercury News. 6 Sept. 2004: 2C. Print.


CEMA Archive, University of California, Santa Barbara
City College of San Francisco, Campus Public Art Collection
Labor Archive and Research Center, San Francisco State University
San Francisco Public Library