Friday, November 14, 2008

New mural emerging in Bayview

The charming Bridgeview Garden, at the corner of Bridgeview and Newhall Streets in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, is getting dressed up. A mural is already emerging, and is the next phase of a resident generated plan to create a community-defined destination point in what was once a tough stretch of a challenged neighborhood.

The mural is part of the Bayview Is... Campaign, a multimedia campaign designed to give residents the chance to express their own diverse perspectives of this amazing neighborhood.

Two artists with Bayview Hunters Point roots have created a basic mural design which has been approved by the Arts Commission. That basic design is the mural’s “first layer,” and creates a colorful canvas of “areas” that will be used by local artists and cultural affinity groups to express several unique perspectives about our neighborhood.

It’s like a community quilt where groups have a patch of their own…except this Bayview Is... quilt is pretty big and on a wall!

Last Saturday, November 8th, neighbors and volunteers from SF General Hospital put the first coat of primer, tinted with a golden color, on the wall. Tomorrow, a second coat goes on. The "first layer" of the mural will be complete by year's end.

The Quesada Gardens Initiative is tremendously grateful to the Zellerbach Foundation for leadership funding for this mural, and for Bayview Footprints Bayview Is... Campaign.

Neighbors not already involved in the Bridgeview Garden project or the Quesada Garden around the corner, are plugging into the community-building work, perhaps attracted by the stunning color that appeared in a few hours where an ugly wall of patchwork gray had been such a familiar site for decades.

The “first layer” of the mural soon will take the shape of the rendering above: a sunrise motif with birds in flight moving toward the future.

The facilitating artists are well-known to many Bayview Hunters Point residents. Malik Seneferu, a Black / African American painter, draughtsman, muralist, and book illustrator, employs self-taught technique and style. The "first layer" design is his.

Seneferu has lived, worked, mentored, and curated throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Seneferu's work has traveled to Durban South Afrika (“War against Racism” in 2001), Haiti and Kenya. His art contains intense hues, is reminiscent of the ancient African Diaspora, and communicates confident and eloquent messages of empowerment.

Seneferu has a long history of service to the Bayview Hunters Point community. He currently works with at-risk youth through arts and education at Hunters Point Family’s Bayview Safe Haven program, a holistic after-school program that provides educational, recreational, health, and social services to youth ages 12-21.

Heidi Hardin recently founded Think Round, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to connecting art to community and individual transformation that emphasizes matters of the spirit, family, and the environment. She was the Visual Arts Programming Director for the Bayview Opera House for 15 years, and a Museum Artist at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco where she supervised the Doing and Viewing Art and Big Kids/Little Kids arts programs for four years.

Her most recent exhibit, The Human Family Tree/A Walk Through Paradise, premiered at the Bayview Opera House in 2000 to acclaim by the U.S. Senate and Congress, California State Assembly and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as a monumental work of beauty for all. Hardin has been involved in the Bayview Hunters Point community as an artist, artist-instructor, and artist-administrator since 1984.

Together, these artists and the Quesada Gardens Initiative and Bayview Footprints groups are bringing a new major piece of San Francisco public art to life. The mural wall sits midway up a hill between the beautiful Quesada Garden, and an existing mural there, and the new Bridgeview Garden above.

The artwork, visually, will connect two vibrant projects, and dramatically expand the Bayview neighborhood’s arts scene. The mural is on the theme of Bayview Is… suggesting that every community and individual in this diverse neighborhood has a unique experience of place and vision for the future.

The professional artists, educators and community process facilitators are working together to identify individual artists and/or groups of artists (youth, professional artists and emerging talent, and others) who represent the range of diversity in Bayview.

The Quesada Gardens Initiative and the Bridgeview Garden are part of a 100% resident-led community-building initiative, homegrown in the heart of Bayview. Strategies include public art and events, community and backyard gardens, and organizing.

The Bayview Footprints Collaboration of Community-Building Groups is a network of grassroots groups, many of them arts groups, focused on telling a more balanced story of the neighborhoods historic, current and future strength. The Quesada Gardens Initiative is a Co-Founder of the network, and is leading the Bayview Is... Campaign.

Anyone interested is welcome to comment on the project here, or call 415.822.0800, email, or stop by most any day when volunteers and neighbors can be found working together. Saturday's from 10am to 2pm are usually group volunteer days. Your group would be really welcome!

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