About As We Live It

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As We Live It is a project over a year in the making. In 2009, Heidi Swillinger invited me to the San Francisco Study Center, to screen a documentary created by film therapist, Phillip Cha and participants in the SF Behavioral Health System. The film profiled four people who employ creative endeavors to communicate the struggles and triumphs of their lives. The stories are powerful in their brave sincerity. Once the film ended, I was part of an overwhelmingly emotional response from the other audience members who were so clearly touched by the artists featured. From that day on, I began working with Swillinger and the staff of the SF Study Center to showcase the work of San Francisco residents who, for myriad reasons, are participants in the SF Behavioral Health System.

After a call for submissions, we received portfolios from nearly 100 local artists. SF Study Center staff members M. Roy Crew, Office of Self Help, Geoffrey Link, executive director, Swillinger and I were then tasked with selecting the final work for the exhibition. The result is nearly 100 works from 38 artists who have, at one time, sought support from the vast programs available in this city. Many artists focus on portraits; faces staring straight-ahead, ready and hoping for interaction with the audience. Other artists create images of place, bridges, landscapes and shorelines, perhaps representing sites of either unbearable pain or tender solace. Still other works are an investigation of craft, celebrating the intimate act of making art. Overall, As We Live It is a temporal marking of artists articulating visually what they could not otherwise say.

On behalf of the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, I would like to commend all of the artists in the exhibition as well as those who submitted work for consideration. Their prolific creativity was a sheer joy for us to witness. I would also like to acknowledge the special efforts of Heidi Swillinger, whose boundless energy and commitment was foundational to making this exhibition possible.  Also thanks to all of the clinicians, social workers, psychologists and various staff members who work for the 18 partnering organizations. Their dedication to their clients is unmatched and we are so proud to be able to spotlight their marvelous work.

Aimee Le Duc

SFAC Gallery Manager

As We Live It Coordinator

SFAC Galleries

401 Van Ness (at McAllister), Ste. 126
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-252-2244

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