In Our Own Pictures and In Our Own Works
Exploring Creativity and Empowerment in the Tenderloin
Dates: April 24 - June 19 2009
City Hall Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm
In Our Own Pictures and In Our Own Works is an exhibition consisting of artworks from two amazing San Francisco Community Art Programs, The Sixth Street Photography Workshop and the Central City Hospitality House. For years the City of San Francisco has developed and helped to maintain remarkable art programs designed to foster creativity and empower disenfranchised residents. People are motivated by rich cultural and artistic experiences as they can provide empowerment opportunities which may include learning new skills as well as the ability to dream beyond the current reality. This exhibition is a celebration of two San Francisco Community Art Programs and highlights the results of years of bridging art and social practice to empower those in need. It is especially important to focus on the important work of organizations such as these in a time when funding for nonprofits is in jeopardy!
The Sixth Street Photography Workshop and Central City Hospitality House are both unique organizations that foster community; however their missions are very different.
Both exhibitions of artwork illuminate expressive outlets for making art, which have informed and encouraged individuals to be better, feel better, or see the world in a different light. In Our Own Pictures was created by The Sixth Street Photography Workshop. Residents of Sixth Street were invited to have their portrait taken in full view from the sidewalk, in the Muse/Dekker Photography Studio between Howard and Folsom. Each participant is respectfully represented by a photographer from the neighborhood trained by the Workshop. A collection of photographs were taken and each person who participated was given several copies of their portraits to take with them. These served as a formal document of a moment in time as well as a tool to reconnect with often estranged family and friends. In Our Own Works is a collection of figurative works from the Community Arts Program at the Central City Hospitality House which is currently celebrating forty years of service. The works on display have been selected from the archives of the open art studio space in the Tenderloin. This organization provides a sheltered place to create and gives support to individuals living in severe poverty who may also be suffering with addiction problems. During studio hours, artists work in a variety of media and are encouraged to explore their imagination and express their feelings and concerns through the creation of works of art.
Video Works Included:
- Art Frees the Soul (on Sixth Street Photography Workshop) by SPARK: A Production of KQED Public Television and the Bay Area Video Coalition and
- Hospitality House: The First Forty Years directed by Jay Johnson
About the Sixth Street Photography Workshop
Sixth Street Photography Workshop is founded and directed by photographer and educator Tom Ferentz. Their mission is to share the art and skills of photography with low-income and homeless adults. Sixth Street Photography brings a multi-faceted, participatory program to Sixth Street at a time when dramatic change threatens its identity. Through its fifteen years of existence, Sixth Street Photography Workshop has established a foundation and network based in trust. The community sees the Workshop as one of its own, and participants have been making portraits in community spaces since 1992. Sixth Street Photography started in the Pontiac Hotel on Sixth Street, in a community space shared with a health clinic, Sixth Street Merchants and Residents Association, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other groups. They have established a new model for practicing photography in poverty-stricken areas by working with photographers who are informed community members and sensitive to the realities of living in poverty.
About The Central City Hospitality House
Hospitality House takes great pride in its Arts Program. It is the only free-of-charge fine arts studio for homeless and poor artists in San Francisco. Each year, the Community Arts Program (CAP) offers more than 250 artists the materials and space necessary to create, house, exhibit, and sell their artwork. But more than the art that is made here, the CAP is a progressive and crucial component of the programs offered at Hospitality House because it helps relieve the intangible, private effects of poverty. For those navigating through the impersonal social service system, self-expression and imaginative talent can be stifled and ignored. The CAP exposes people to creative resources that would otherwise be unobtainable to them. These materials are the tools that provide an often-neglected outlet for creative freedom and, subsequently, they serve to enhance self-esteem and ambition.