Public Knowledge grew out of several years of thinking, planning and relationship building in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Several projects highlighted below laid the groundwork for the Public Knowledge project through activities that explored the role of the arts in civic life and engaged audiences beyond the museum’s walls.
Meeting Points: Stories in Art from the Urban Frontier
October 17, 2015
Rincon Annex, Maritime Museum; various locations in San Francisco
Meeting Points brought together artists, writers, and local San Francisco luminaries for talks and conversations on SFMOMA’s connections to the cultural fabric of San Francisco, past and present. Participants viewed colorful and historic public works by Anton Refregier and Sargent Johnson and experienced Can We Talk About Art, a map by the artist Amanda Eicher that charted the locations of participants – including an arts commissioner, F-Train driver and park ranger – eager to talk about how art matters in our lives today. Best-selling local author Gary Kamiya spoke about the hidden aspects of Aquatic Park’s cultural history; artist Constance Hockaday spoke on the public value of the waterfront; and artist Ernest Jolly presented a new intervention in collaboration with Invisible Venue in the context of Sargent Johnson’s vibrant site-specific works.
May 24, 2014 to June 29, 2014
San Francisco Public Library
Chimurenga Library was a month-long installation and research project by Chimurenga, a Cape Town-based collective focused on Pan-African history and culture. Presented as part of the exhibition Public Intimacy, Chimurenga Library invited library visitors to connect various items in the stacks at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library to generate different narratives, with a focus on the work of African American artists, writers, and performers who participated in pan-African festivals of the 1960s and 1970s. The presentation comprised text, audio, video and library materials that explored the history of FESTAC ’77, the Second World Festival of Black Arts and Culture, held in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. Though the event remains the largest Pan-African arts festival ever, it is neither widely known nor well understood. Chimurenga Library explored its legacy: how it connected to local Bay Area history and communities, and what it might mean for us several decades later.
May 22, 2015
The Visibility Workshop was a day-long event that gathered a diverse set of dedicated designers, data visualizers, activists, curators, educators and art practitioners in the Bay Area invested in the stakes involved in making research, information, communities and creative practices visible to wider publics, as well as thinking about how to increase our sense of collective agency and capacity for building the kind of civic culture we want to be a part of. With artist Burak Arikan, the goal of the day was to share and discuss tools, strategies and tactics for highlighting shared values through our practices, strengthening communities in times of transformation and thinking about change. The workshop involved calling out what in this moment needs to be made visible, pulling together important questions and resources for a toolkit, and brainstorming next steps towards larger goals. A list of relevant and useful resources that were discussed in the workshop can be found here.
April 28, 2015
The Storytelling Workshop was a day-long event that gathered a diverse set of dedicated community organizers, journalists, historians, educators and art practitioners in the Bay Area invested in increasing a sense of collective agency and capacity for building community through storytelling. The goal of the day was to reflect on why and how we tell the stories we tell, and how we might think about change. The workshop involved discussing personal strategies and tactics of storytelling, identifying the stories that we would like to make more public, and holding a rapid prototyping session where we came up with ways to put our stories to work. A list of relevant and useful resources that were discussed in the workshop can be found here.
February 27, 2015
The Resilience Workshop was a day-long event that gathered a diverse set of dedicated educators and art practitioners in the Bay Area who are invested in fostering collective agency and civic culture in the communities they work amidst. With artist/architect/urbanist Teddy Cruz and political scientist Fonna Forman of the Center for Urban Ecologies at UC San Diego in attendance, the goal of the day was to think about how a group of thinkers, researchers and cultural practitioners can work together, from within and beyond the context of art, to rethink infrastructures, spark public imagination and reactivate histories of civic engagement. The workshop involved discussing practical tools, strategies and tactics connected to the idea of strengthening communities in times of transformation, as well as identifying new connections and compelling questions that the participants can take forward in their specific areas of practice and future projects. A list of relevant and useful resources that were discussed in the workshop can be found here.
February 13, 2015
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
The Reskilling Workshop was a day-long event that brought together a group of thinkers and cultural practitioners from the Bay Area and beyond to think about and discuss what it means for individuals and organizations to reimagine their skill sets as their fields and environments undergo fundamental change. The invited practitioners, who come from fields as diverse as art, urban planning/architecture, creative networking, data visualization, social practice, cultural history or critical geography, discussed and questioned tools, strategies and tactics connected to the idea of skills and capacity building in times of transformation. In the process, the workshop participants developed a list of useful references and sources that can help inform future projects and specific areas of inquiry. The list can be found here.
The Field Trip – The Abstraction of Politics and the Politics of Abstraction
September 22, 2013