Tags Posts tagged with "art"


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Lower Polk Neighbors, in collaboration with MOEWD, focus on establishing a positive street identity, supporting the arts and the artistic revitalization of the the area between Bush and Geary off Polk Street.

Join the NEN for a visual tour of the first quarterly art walk and be sure to catch the upcoming walk on

October 20th, 2011 from 6-10pm.

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Neighborhood Empowerment Network’s Daniel Homsey is joined by Susan Cervantes of Precita Eyes, Kate Connell of the Book and Wheel Works, and Robynn Takayama of the San Francisco Arts Commission to discuss the important links community art plays in bringing neighborhoods together. Watch a segment with Wendy Testu about the happenings in the “Welcome to the Neighborhood Project,” a community art and literacy program in Hunter’s Point.

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Mike Kershnar from NENtv on Vimeo.

Join the Art Institute and NENtv as we present famed San Francisco artist Mike Kershnar as shares his insight into public art and describes what has inspired his unique blend of texture and vibrant colors. Kershnar has been involved in the San Francisco art community for years and after college he established a non profit called Elemental Awareness which aims to utilize art and skateboarding to enrich the lives of children. For more information please visit http://www.elementalawareness.org/

This video was produced as a collaboration between NENTV and The Art Institute of California, led by instructor Marc Smolowitz.


Michael Pawluk –  San Francisco – 1/19/11 

For both merchants and residents alike, maintaining a clean and aesthetically pleasing community is difficult enough without worrying about the constant blight of graffiti and vandalism. Community groups and city agencies spend thousands of dollars every year in order to help fight the barrage of spray painted tags and doodles strewn throughout the city.

In order to help push back this unsightly trend, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department Of Public Works has started StreetSmARTS, a community program designed to connect merchants and local artists in order to plan and implement standing murals in public space. The program itself aims to pair wanting merchants faced with constant graffiti problems with respected community artists, approved by the SF Arts Commission, who will then design a mural and decide on a final layout with the land owner. By connecting merchants and artists, the SF Arts Commission is ensuring that local muralists have a venue for their work and the merchants can enjoy their property with a consistent theme and worry less about unwanted décor on their establishment.

In short, the program aims to fight fire with fire. It has been proven in the past that even though people may assume that the individuals responsible for most tagging are working out of disrespect for their community, time has shown again and again that large established art pieces can help to curb the unsightly recurrence of wanton graffiti.

One example of this is the Clarion Alley mural project in the Mission District which has established this once small dismal, graffiti laden alley into somewhat of a tourist attraction for the neighborhood.

Though the alley has a small group of resident who help to maintain it, the dozens of murals and pieces there remain largely untouched by random acts of tagging because the budding artists who would typically just scrawl their name across the wall maintain a certain level of respect for the large pieces of work that is already in place.

This preexisting level of respect within the art community is what the SF Arts Commission has utilized in order to make the StreetSmARTS program a success. Having already contracted dozens of murals throughout the city, most notably on Central Market, the SF Arts Commission hopes to make this year bigger than the last. If you or someone you know wants to become involved or has had trouble with graffiti in the past please visit theStreetSmARTS website for more information.


SF Arts Commission: StreetSmARTS

Tired of buffing out unwanted graffiti? The San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department of Public Works may have an answer for you: StreetSmARTS. Studies have shown that mural-painted walls incur far less tagging than blank walls. The StreetSmARTS program provides vetted artists for you to select from who will paint a mural on your wall with a design that is approved by YOU. For more information on how to get involved, click here.

Studies have shown that mural-painted walls incur far less tagging than blank walls. The StreetSmARTS program provides vetted artists for you to select from who will paint a mural on your wall with a design that is approved by YOU. For examples of walls painted in our 2010 pilot year, please click here.

To participate in StreetSmARTS, you simply need to provide the funds for supplies (approximately $1,500). With the reduction in graffiti abatement, you will see a return on your investment in no time. Interested property owners should contact Tyra Fennell at 415-252-2597 or tyra.fennell@sfgov.org


Mr. Clean SF, Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director for Operations, DPW

This Sunday I want to personally invite you to join in on the exciting return of our hugely successful Mobile Free Wall Activity. Rain or shine, the San Francisco Arts Commission with support from the Department of Public Works is set to assemble a 40 foot-long temporary wall that will act as a giant canvas for artists of all skill levels to drop by and be a part of creating a beautiful community mural.

It’ll be on Sunday, October 24th during the Sunday Streets event outside of City Hall on the Civic Center plaza from 10am to 3pm.

What is the Free Wall? Our mission at DPW is to keep this City beautiful, livable, and vibrant. A large portion of my job is the prevention and eradication of graffiti vandalism. DPW responds to over 30,000 requests to clean up graffiti each year. That’s over 100 a day on public property alone. Collectively all City departments, schools, residents, and small business owners pay out over $20 million a year cleaning up tagging and vandalism.

This Free Wall is a pilot project to give urban artists, who historically claim that there is no public space to create spray-can art, a safe location to do just that.

Here are the key tenets of this venture: 

  • This is a recognition that it is important to give young artists a place to create


  • There should be an emphasis on respect for public property


  • The Free Wall project and all of the DPW collaborations with the SFAC stress that the difference between art and vandalism is permission


  • Helping to engage the artist community in new ways results in a meaningful dialogue about keeping the City beautiful.


This Free Wall is, if anything, promoting the conversation about “what is art” and “what is vandalism?” What are the most efficient strategies to eliminate the vandalism and keep the city shinning and clean?

Hundreds participated in the activity in September that resulted in a beautiful community mural being created in less than four hours. World-renowned urban artist, Chor Boogie, oversees and facilitates the Free Wall Activities, providing his know-how and tutorials on spray-can art.

The success of the Free Wall program is the result of leveraging the expertise of the Graffiti Advisory Board and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Their passion and leadership are making innovative, engaging projects like this work.

The Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission Luis R. Cancel agrees. “The Free Wall Activity provides urban and aspiring artists with an opportunity to show their talent and creativity in a safe and legal manner. This program is a way of bringing urban artists and community members together to forge lasting, positive relationships that benefit our neighborhoods.”

The Free Wall capitalizes on the positive results and feedback from other SFAC-DPW collaborations like the StreetSmARTs program, which pairs urban artists with private property owners to create vibrant murals throughout the City. The first private-property mural of this fiscal year was unveiled last week at 1354 York Street. There are plans to create more than 20 murals through this program this year.


There is a lot of work to do to keep the City clean and to prevent and abate graffiti vandalism. I invite you to be a part of it of this movement. Come out on Sunday and see what the buzz is all about.

At a minimum, please check out and sign the Zero Graffiti Pledge, a City-wide commitment to abate and report graffiti.

I would love to get your feedback about the Free Wall. Send comments to zerograffiti@sfdpw.org, or you can tweet me with any questions @MrCleanSF<http://twitter.com/mrcleansf>.


Mohammed Nuru is Deputy Director for Operations at the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW).


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Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced the winners of the Community Challenge Grant Program (CCG), which provides matching grants to local residents, businesses, non-profits and other community groups to make physical improvements to their neighborhoods.

The CCG Program has awarded 28 grants totaling $577,656. The bulk of the CCG awards continue to be for permeable landscaping, public artwork, graffiti/litter abatement, community gardens and gathering spaces, equitably covering all areas of the City. The funding for CCG awards come from city businesses who voluntarily designate one percent of the business tax they already pay. 

The CCG focuses on projects that directly engage residents and businesses in creating green spaces, gathering places, public art, and other neighborhood amenities by featuring and applying ecologically friendly practices. The program is an important tool for enabling communities to take the lead in conducting small scale improvements in their own communities and neighborhoods.

“The Community Challenge Grants promote innovation in our neighborhoods and encourage communities to take pride in their streets,” said Mayor Newsom. “These innovative projects leverage public and private dollars to get communities working together toward making San Francisco a cleaner, greener, and safer city for everyone.”

“We are inspired by the twenty-eight innovative projects awarded this cycle,” said City Administrator Ed Lee. “The Community Challenge Grant Program works best when community groups are empowered to take charge to improve and green their neighborhoods. These projects continue to make San Francisco a cleaner, greener place to live and grow.”

The CCG partnership with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Urban Watershed Management Program is a critical part of the project. Through this partnership, grants were awarded to six community projects including implementing environmentally sustainable technologies for sidewalks and infrastructure and managing local rainwater in schools and parks.  The awarded amount totals $102,600.

“Each of these community-driven projects will help the entire City to better manage stormwater,” said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. “They demonstrate the importance of acting locally and are vital to the health of our watersheds.”

Community Challenge Grant Program Fall 2010 Grant Award Recipients

1. Jose Ortega Elementary School PTA

Awarded: $10,000
Project: Community Art

2.  Precita Valley Neighbors, sponsored by SF Parks Trusts

Awarded: $8,500
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

3. Progress Park, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $8,600
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

4. Inner City Youth  OMI Clean Team

Awarded: $15,000
Project: Litter Abatement

5. Market Street Association

Awarded: $20,000
Project: Neighborhood Beautification

6. Worchester/Alemany Triangle, sponsored by Mission Neighborhood Center

Awarded: $13,328
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

7. North West Bernal Alliance

Awarded: $14,579
Project: Graffiti & Litter Abatement

8. Korean American Community Center, sponsored by SF Clean City Coalition

Awarded: $15,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

9. Kids In Parks, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $20,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

10. Hayes Valley Farm, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $10,000
Project: Urban Forestry

11. Sunnyside Neighborhood Association

Awarded: $20,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

12. Chinatown Community Development Center

Awarded: $25,000
Project: Graffiti Abatement

13. Excelsior Action Group, sponsored by Community Initiatives

Awarded: $30,000
Project: Neighborhood Beautification & Urban Forestry

14. Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee

Awarded: $45,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

15. Hunters Point Family/Girls 2000

Awarded: $30,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

16. Japantown Sakura 150 Project

Awarded: $20,000
Project: Urban Forestry

17. Sand@OB Project

Awarded: $24,600
Project: Neighborhood Beautification & Urban Forestry

18. San Francisco Clean City Coalition

Awarded: $50,000
Project: Neighborhood Beautification & Urban Forestry

19. Pennsylvania St. Gardens, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $45,000
Project: Neighborhood Beautification & Urban Forestry

20. Storrie-Ord Neighborhood Group, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $5,449
Project: Urban Forestry

21. Vermont St. Neighborhood Group, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $10,000
Project: Urban Forestry & Landscaping

22. Tenderloin Housing Clinic

Awarded: $35,000
Project: Community Art

Urban Watershed Stewardship Grants Fall 2010 Award Recipients

23. Alice Fong Yu Elementary School PTA

Awarded: $3,500
Project: Rainwater Harvesting

24. Pennsylvania St. Gardens, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $40,000
Project: Street Park with Rain Gardens and Swale System

25. Plant*SF, sponsored by SF Parks Trust

Awarded: $15,000
Project: Sidewalk Landscaping and Impermeable Surface Removal

26. SF State University

Awarded: $21,000
Project: Rain Garden with Native Plantings

27. Sunnyside Cooperative Nursery School

Awarded: $3,100
Project: Sidewalk Landscaping and Impermeable Surface Removal

28. Surfrider Foundation, SF Chapter

Awarded: $20,000
Project: Sidewalk Landscaping and Impermeable Surface Removal


Documentary filmmaker S. Leo Chiang discusses the role of community in a post disaster environment and his experience in filming his latest documentary; A Village Called Versailles. The film chronicles the Vietnamese communities struggle in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina had devastated their homes. Their story shows the strength and importance of community in the effort to rebuild after a disaster.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Show Information

Guest: S. Leo Chiang, Walking Iris Films
Related Organizations: A village called Versailles
Host: Michael Pawluk
Additional Credits: Moontan (music)


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Sara Brissenden-Smith, Regional Outreach Coordinator, ITVS Community Cinema

Media is such a huge part of our lives today. You can stream live video of events happening on the other side of the world from your office, watch TV episodes on your iPod as you ride Muni, upload your political perspective and your interpretation of Beyonce’s latest video on youTube… tweet about the meal you just had and break up with your boyfriend via Facebook… all on your way to the BART station. Access to media has definitely changed.

As a young woman of color, I grew up with some very narrow definitions of my community presented in the media.  One-dimensional snapshots of my community have often left me feeling disconnected from representations of ‘my experience’.  Truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with media.

I don’t think I really understood how powerful media was until I had the chance to go to Ghana, West Africa about 10 years ago.  I met young African boys who were dressed like American rap artists and African girls who strived to look like young women in our music videos.  I had always assumed that the challenges I faced looking for diversity and depth to images of my community was an American struggle, one that primarily existed in our inner cities and urban areas.  The idea that an 8 year old African girl in a small village in Ghana could be affected by the same images I encountered was unsettling for me.  That trip changed my perspective in a lot of ways.  It made me aware of the need for communities to come together and dialogue about social issues and I realized that while media can be damaging, it has the potential be a great tool as well.

About a year and a half ago, I had the chance to start working with Independent Television Service (ITVS). ITVS funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens Tuesday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS.  The program I work with – the Community Cinema Program – is a groundbreaking public education and civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens. Community Cinema is on location in more than 60 cities nationally, bringing together leading organizations, community members and public television stations to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time.  I have the chance to produce free screening events of documentaries by independent filmmakers who tell stories that are unique, diverse and rarely seen. 

Organizing screenings in the Bay Area (both in San Francisco and Oakland), I have to say the level of community involvement and engagement has been amazing.  Each month hundreds of people come out to see films and community partners share their work and knowledge.  Some people come because they don’t know anything about the subject- others because the film tells the story of their lives.  I have seen mothers bring their children to learn about tree planting (Taking Root), a grandfather coming to learn about autism to deal with his grandson’s recent diagnosis (The Horse Boy), teachers bringing students to learn about recycling efforts in Egypt (Garbage Dreams), and youth DJs come to learn about the history of sampling in hip-hop (Copyright Criminals).  Every month is something different but the formula is consistent, communities share space for a couple hours and leave with questions, ideas and often a greater understanding of the issues and how we are all connected.

For me, working with Community Cinema has really reinforced the importance of telling the stories that are important to you, whether you went to film school, or just learned how to use a video camera.  While the experience can be empowering and liberating for the filmmaker and the film subjects, the scope extends far beyond the participants and can have a ripple effect, impacting audiences, communities and the world at large.

I feel fortunate to be able to witness community members as they participate in this process.  Many audience members return month after month, bringing family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  The conversations that happen are dynamic, sometimes charged and always transformative.  People leave screenings knowing more about how huge societal issues are being addressed by organizations down the street from where they live and many are encouraged to learn more and participate, whether that means they learn to compost, or volunteer at a school.  As I am encouraged every month, my appreciation for the power and true purpose of media grows, one documentary at a time.

Sara Brissenden-Smith is Outreach Coordinator of ITVS Community Cinema, which funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, new media projects online, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly PBS series Independent Lens.


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