Care in the Time of Covid-19
Featuring CatchLight Local Fellows Yesica Prado and Felix Uribe, and San Francisco’s COVID Command Center Artists in Residence Mabel Jiménez, S. Renée Jones and Ajuan Mance
Public Exhibition at San Francisco City Hall
October 4, 2021 to April 15, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and CatchLight present Care in the Time of Covid-19: Inside our pandemic response and portraits of resilient San Franciscans, a two-part exhibition at San Francisco City Hall featuring photography and illustration documenting disaster service workers, COVID-19 response and prevention efforts, and life in some of San Francisco’s neighborhoods over the past two years. The CatchLight Fellows’ and San Francisco’s COVID Command Center Artists in Residence’s poignant work around communities celebrates individual and collective resilience. The public exhibition will be on display, free and open to the public, in the lower level and North Light Court of historic SF City Hall.
San Francisco’s COVID Command Center Artists in Residence
Artists: Mabel Jiménez, S. Renée Jones and Ajuan Mance
From November 2020 to March 2021, San Francisco’s COVID Command Center (CCC), in partnership with SFAC and SF Public Library, hosted the only artist in residence program in the country at COVID-19 operational headquarters. The CCC, located in downtown San Francisco at Moscone Center, coordinated the efforts of over 12,000 City employee disaster service workers deployed to fight the pandemic and provide prevention information, housing, food, testing and vaccinations for San Francisco residents. The CCC Artists in Residence program engaged local photographers and illustrators in three-month residences that provided unprecedented access to the CCC operational effort. This exhibition features the work of three of the CCC Artists in Residence who documented how the City mobilized to fight the pandemic and where that expansive operation intersected with the efforts of community organizations, healthcare providers and local residents.
Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington says, “It’s incredibly important to recognize the powerful roles that artists can play when our City is struggling. The City created these artist residencies at COVID Command Center to document the heroic recovery efforts throughout San Francisco as well as daily life in diverse communities. As chroniclers of the challenges faced by our hardest hit neighbors, their work uplifted communities where disaster service workers were deployed, shining light on those helping each other in times of need, sharing the best of San Francisco. It’s the perfect exhibition to reboot our SFAC Galleries program in City Hall.”
Illustrator and Mills College professor Ajuan Mance spent her residency interviewing and drawing portraits of City employee disaster service workers. She also created works featuring artists who participated in relief efforts, highlighting the important role our creative community can play during times of need. Mabel Jiménez, a freelance photographer closely tied with El Tecolote newspaper, and S. Renée Jones, a photographer, instructor and gallery director at Sixth Street Photography Workshop, captured operations inside Moscone Center and also in the Mission, Excelsior, Bayview and Fillmore neighborhoods. The artists’ resulting portfolios have become a permanent part of the COVID Community Time Capsule archive at the San Francisco Public Library.
CatchLight’s Local Bay Area Fellows
Artists: Yesica Prado and Felix Uribe
CatchLight is a San Francisco-based media organization building a community-centered model for visual journalism. In 2019, it launched its CatchLight Local fellows program fostering the collaboration of locally-based emerging visual journalists with local newsrooms. The pilot program was initially supposed to last only four months from October 2019 to March 2020. As the pandemic hit, CatchLight felt it was crucial to continue supporting the work of its fellows both documenting the impact of COVID-19 on their communities and bringing critical information to the public.
This exhibition features two of the Bay Area fellows. Yesica Prado is a photographer and filmmaker who has been an important part of the vehicular community for the last four years. While she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Prado lost her housing. She obtained an RV and joined a community of vehicular residents. As a CatchLight fellow, she worked with the San Francisco Public Press to report on the impact of parking policies on vehicular living. Through the pandemic, she brought critical information and access to resources to vehicular residents in San Francisco and beyond. Reflecting on the project, Prado notes, “While creating this work, my neighbors taught me an important life lesson: Home is not necessarily a place with four walls — it’s where your heart is. It’s where your family is.”
Felix Uribe has been a resident of the Tenderloin since 2015. As a CatchLight Local fellow working in partnership with Bay City News, he looked at the effects and what it has taken to stay in the Bay Area in the middle of a housing crisis. Like Yesica, he continued his work through the pandemic, documenting the impact of COVID-19 on the Tenderloin. He comments, “Over the years I've met so many incredible people living in the Tenderloin. I hope my work shares the love I have received from them.”
Dates: October 4, 2021 - April 15, 2022
Location: San Francisco City Hall, Lower Level and North Light Court
1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours: Mon to Fri, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Hours subject to change. Please check website prior to visiting: https://sf.gov/location/san-francisco-city-hall
Free to the public
About the Artists
Mabel Jiménez (pronouns she/her) is an independent photographer and reporter based in San Francisco. Being raised in Tijuana, 15 minutes from the Mexico/U.S. border, themes of biculturalism and immigration have influenced her photographic and journalistic work. She has documented San Francisco’s Latino community since 2008 and is the former Photo Editor for El Tecolote bilingual newspaper, where she continues as a regular contributor. During her seven-year tenure in the position, she created, produced and curated a yearly group photography exhibition showcasing the newspaper’s best photojournalism.
S. Renée Jones
S. Renée Jones (pronouns she/her) is a photographer, educator and gallery director. For the past 25 years, Jones has worked with the Sixth Street Photography Workshop. Jones began her engagement with SSPW when she was homeless, and now she teaches beginning photography, advanced photography, studio lighting, portraiture, Photoshop, and gallery exhibition preparation to participants living below the poverty line. Jones also studied psychology and art therapy at San Francisco State University. When taking photographs Jones asks herself, “…what causes my soul to connect and gather in that which surrounds me, what moves beyond mimicry, the splash of color or visual trickery, leading me to my next moment of healing.”
Ajuan Mance (pronouns she/her or they/them) is a Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at Mills College in Oakland, California, and a lifelong artist and writer. In both her scholarly writing and her visual art, Ajuan explores the complexities of race, gender and identity in the U.S. She is the author of the publications: Inventing Black Women: African American Women’s Poetry and Self-Representation, 1877-2000 and Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century. An artist, illustrator and comic creator, she has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as comic and zine fests. In 2021, her 1001 Black Men sketchbook project will be released in book form.
Yesica Prado (pronouns she/her) is a multimedia visual journalist, using photography and video to document Bay Area vehicular communities from within. Her work has been included in the 2020 YBCA exhibition, Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?, and at the SF Urban Film Fest in 2021, where she was also invited to participate in a conversation with San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Her short film, Quarantine Diary, received international visibility when it was picked up by the BBC and the 2021 United Nations Association Film Festival –– Moving Forward. Prado immigrated with her family to the US from Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, when she was 9 years old. She earned a master’s degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley and a BFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has been published by the BBC, San Francisco Public Press, Berkeleyside, Los Angeles Times, HuffPost and KQED.
Felix Uribe (pronouns he/him) is a San Francisco-based photographer, whose work focuses on depicting the resourcefulness, strength and beauty of his Tenderloin neighbors, highlighted by his in-depth project, What it Takes to Stay. His work includes partnering with City Hope to create “family photo walls” that welcome area residents for meals, showers and karaoke, as well as photo essays on the grassroots activists that are making streets safer for kids going to school, and improving access to fresh healthy food. His Equity Ripples project with PolicyLink brings visuals, stories and context to statistics in the Bay Area Equity Atlas. His work has been widely published in The Bay City News, Local News Matters, The New York Times, among others.
CatchLight is a nonprofit media organization leveraging the power of visuals to inform, connect and transform communities. Borrowing from the practices of art, journalism and social justice, it believes in the power of visual storytelling to foster a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of the world. It serves as a transformational force, urgently bringing resources and organizations together to better inform and connect communities. Its goal is to discover, develop and amplify visual storytellers at all levels. The CatchLight Local program has been made possible by the support and collaboration of the Kresge Foundation, Photowings, the GroundTruth Project and the Lenfest Institute and was conducted in partnership with the San Francisco Press, Bay City News and The Salinas Californian. catchlight.io
About the San Francisco Arts Commission
The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries and Art Vendor Licensing.
The San Francisco Arts Commission is committed to creating a city where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, resources and platform to share their stories, art and culture and where race does not predetermine one’s success in life. We also acknowledge that we occupy traditional and unceded Ohlone land. Fueled by these beliefs, we commit to addressing the systemic inequities within our agency, the City and County of San Francisco and the broader arts and culture sector. This work requires that we focus on race as we confront inequities of the past, reveal inequities of the present and develop effective strategies to move all of us towards an equitable future. sfartscommission.org.