Welcome to the NeighborHOOD

Location:  San Francisco, CA
Project Description: 

The collaboration with 16 youth from Literacy for Environmental Justice and seven, environmental and socially conscious artists, has culminated in the creation of an interactive installation in the newly opened EcoCenter, San Francisco’s first off the grid public building and environmental education center. The Multidisciplinary Artwork was created between 2008-2010 and explores environmental and social justice issues facing the community of Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP), as seen through the youth’s eyes.

The collaboration created a diverse and interactive body of artwork that is place based and culturally relevant to the BVHP community. The artwork tells the history, celebrates the communities and explores the concerns with the present and future environment of these areas of San Francisco. This urban experience serves as a social and environmental exploration in how art can inspire communities and environmental sustainability.

Before any work began, all of the artists and the youth interns went on walking ‘Tours’ of the Bayview/ Hunters Point area to learn more about the environmental history of the neighborhood. These walking investigations, along with in-depth discussions, and journal writings led the participants to create work about their personal experiences, gentrification and displacement, the opposing forces of man vs. nature, art as activism, and the positive people and influences in their community. The youth provided focused geographical and activist contexts, and have allowed their insights to guide the creative process. The varied artistic forms of the project highlight the diversity and intensely personal quality of these topics, which have allowed the youth interns a range of ways to consider their experiences and to communicate them to the Bayview Hunters Point communities and beyond. They have created public artwork that goes beyond stating the facts, to engage, give back to and empower the community.

Various mediums were used, including: video, sculpture, photography, painting, graphic arts, screen-printing and assemblage. As paid interns, the youth are collaborators with the artists and the creative force for the entire project from conception and creation to installation and maintenance of the artwork. The title: Welcome to the NeighborHOOD speaks to the future of this rapidly changing neighborhood and references the newcomers who will be moving into the neighborhood, with 10,000 new housing units currently planned to be built over the redeveloped Shipyard/SuperFund site.