December 21, 2023 to March 01, 2024

we were here

Artist and writer tanea lunsford lynx presents new work created out of her time in residence at the San Francisco Public Library as part of the SFAC's Artist in Residence Program

Exhibition Dates: December 21, 2023-March 1, 2024
Location: African American Center, San Francisco Public Library Main Branch,100 Larkin Street, 3rd Floor
Hours: Please check SFPL website for public hours

The San Francisco Public Library in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission's Artist in Residence program is pleased to present we were here, an exhibition by 2022 Artist in Residence tanea lunsford lynx!

we were here is a creative investigation of the Black American presence in San Francisco in the late 1800s and early 1900s, particularly at the occurrence of the 1906 Earthquake. This exhibition grounds into an archival experience and recollection of a larger-than-life story told by Aurelious Alberga (1884-1988) about his experience and survival of San Francisco’s 1906 Earthquake and fires. Interviewed by Albert Broussard in 1976 as part of a larger oral history project organized by the Friends of the Public Library and and the SF African American Historical and Cultural Society, Alberga's story affirms in lunsford lynx's words:

We were here
And like always
Like now
Finding a way to laugh at a disaster

Because somehow we'd survived it

Highlighting available sources at the San Francisco Public Library--including oral history audio clips, printed transcripts, and archival photographs of San Francisco in 1906 post-Earthquake--alongside lunsford lynx's own writing and reflections, we were here celebrates the historical presence of Black San Francisco and ponders a present where the stories of our elders have been built into the reconstruction of the city, awaiting reclamation. 

Artist Reception
Thursday, January 11, 2024 | 5:00-7:00 pm
African American Center @ the SFPL
100 Larkin Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102
Free and open to the public


tanea lunsford lynx is a writer, abolitionist, and fourth generation Black San Franciscan on both sides. lunsford lynx is a proud alum of Voices of Our Nation (VONA) and the Lambda Literary Retreat. She has been awarded an individual artist grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission as well as residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts, The San Francisco Public Library (in collaboration with RADAR), Mesa Refuge, the Rising Voices Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, the Erica Landis Scholarship at Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Grace Paley Fellowship at Under the Volcano. Here work has been published in Foglifter, the Lambda Literary Anthology, and in Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Voices on Activism, Resistance, and Love. In 2018, she co-curated Still Here VI: Existence as Resistance a performance featuring queer Black San Franciscans as a part of the National Queer Arts Festival. lunsford lynx earned a BA from Columbia University and an MA from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She has more than 10 years of experience as a performing artist, curator, activist and educator in San Francisco and is currently at work on her first novel.


Launched in 2015, the San Francisco Arts Commission Artist in Residence Program builds partnerships with City Departments in order to provide unique artist residencies that result in strengthening the value of artists participating in and responding to the advancement of civic dialogue. The SFAC is partnering with the SFPL once again and will welcome four new artists to start exploring the library this fall!

Program partner


How Did Black Residents Grapple With San Francisco’s 1906 Earthquake? A New Exhibit Takes a Look (SF Standard)

Why this SF artist's new library exhibit is 'really special' to her (SF Examiner)

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online