Public Projects

We Trade, 2020-Present, Web based project
Online Trading portal that builds and archive. Southeast San Francisco residents trade their drawings, paintings, poems, stories and song lyrics for pieces from the Southeast San Francisco Artists Portfolio a growing collection of 50+ prints. 

Chispa, 2019-Present, Southeast San Francisco
Mobile cultural hub on an art cart anchoring live events throughout the Southeast region of San Francisco. New commissions from local visual, performing and literary artists forefront regular events (temporarily on hiatus during shelter in place). 

The Cultural Map of Southeast San Francisco, 2017-Present, Southeast San Francisco
Participatory mapping project created in multiple formats with collaborator, Sofia Vivanco Airaghi. Offered at local events.

Building the Art House Exhibition, April-November 2017, City College of San Francisco
Exhibition on three floors presenting the work of forty Southeast San Francisco multigenerational artists. Work included painting, drawing, sculpture, video, green design.
Co-curators: Kate Connell and Emma Spertus

Moving Art House, 2015- 2016, Southeast San Francisco
Mobile cultural space in the Southeast of San Francisco. Book and Wheel collaborated with the Mexican Bus as it shape-shifted to host a constellation of events. On board: commissioned works from musicians, poets and visual artists of Southeast San Francisco.

Alemany Island 2014, proximate to Alemany Farmers Market, San Francisco
A multi-panel mural, a native garden on a street island and a soaring 50? painted freeway support. Collaboration with 45 families, 3 classrooms and 1 firehouse in the Portola District, with the Portola Neighborhood Association, San Francisco. Design by Book and Wheel from their Porto-Loteria game.

SANcafé, for Museo Contemporaneo de San Agustín, 11th Havana Biennial, 2012
Commissioned project riffing 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.

Crossing the Street, 2011, Portola Branch Library
Collection of handmade artists reference books documenting 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.

Portola at Play, 2009, San Francisco Public Library
A game, a book, a 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.

Our Work Life, 2004, SamTrans public buses
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, various locations
Room-sized diorama installation, layered each year with contributions from more neighbors, family members, friends, fellow workers, artists, musicians and actors.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2018 Future City, Latinos in Architecture, California College of the Arts

2016, 2013 “La Frontera” Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, D. F., Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Museum of Art and Design, New York, New York

2014 The Meaning of Home & the Urban Fabric, Latinos in Architecture, Alter Gallery, San Francisco

2013 From Steel to Wheels, Potrero Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Grants and Awards

Alternative Exposure/Southern Exposure; Round 12, 2018; Round 8, 2014

Fleishhacker Foundation; 2018, 2014

Zellerbach Family Foundation; 2018, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2004

Blue Mountain Center Artists’ Residency; 2015, 2010, 2006

Cooper Hewitt, Top Ten People’s Design Award; 2009

San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant; 2008

Creative Work Fund; 2007, 2002

LEF Foundation; 2004

Lectures, Workshops, Presentations

2020 “Cartographies in Community,” International Society for the History of the Map Symposium, panelists

2020 “Urban Forums: McLaren Park + Philosphers Way,” Shaping San Francisco, speakers
2019 “Take Part: Yes, I Live Here!” Public Knowledge: SFPL and SFMOMA, Workshop leaders

2019 “Model SF: Collectively Shaping the City” with Bik Van der Pol, Shaping San Francisco and Public Knowledge: SFPL and SFMOMA, panelists

2019 ¡Porto-Lotería! Game Day, Portola Branch, San Francisco Public Library, artists

2018 “Flowers and Farms in the Portola,” San Francisco History Days, Old Mint, SF, CA, panelists

2016 Open Engagement Conference, Oakland, Workshop leaders and speakers

2015 Sustaining Place, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, with Mabel Negrete, workshop designers


Connell, Kate and Oscar Melara. “Can We Build a Collective Cultural Life in Southeast San Francisco? Amplifying Working Class Culture.” Multiple Cities #2. Multiple Cities. Spring, 2018

Elder, Lauren, Kate Connell and Oscar Melara. “Viva la Evolución,” Public Art Review, Vol 24, Number 2, Issue 48, Spring/Summer 2013.

Bibliography: Catalogs, journals and selected press

Ferrer, Christine Joy.The Moving Art House, Living Art and Culture in Southeast San Francisco,” Race, Poverty and the Environment, 21:1, p 64-69, August 2016. 

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

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. Exhibition Catalog.

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

 “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. Web.

“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.

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