Painting Eyes on the Street: Debut of SF’s Art in Storefronts Program

Art_Store_fronts_1.jpgArtist Chor Boogie puts the finishing touches on his mural at 1028 Market St. Photo: Matthew Roth

Building off Jane Jacob’s maxim that more eyes on a street make the street feel safer, the San Francisco Arts Commission has commissioned numerous artists to display their projects in abandoned storefronts as part of the Art in Storefronts program, and as the photo above illustrates, some of those eyes are literally watching you.

Rather than feeling any Orwellian tremors, I found the eyes mural, called The Color Therapy of Perception by Chor Boogie, and the other projects, such as Bayly and Miller’s Find Your self in Natural History, a warm and welcoming visual addition to an otherwise bleak stretch of plywood-covered store fronts along Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets. And I wasn’t alone. People stopped, took pictures, and shot video of the artists as they put the finishing touches on their work, in preparation for the official public launch ceremony this afternoon.

Fox_small.jpgFind Yourself in Natural History Mural. Photo: Bayly and Miller

Art in Storefronts is a complement to the Better Market Street traffic diversion pilot started by the MTA last month and seeks to enliven the aesthetic appearance of the street, turning a down economic situation into an opportunity to showcase the work of local San Francisco artists. Art in Storefronts already received national attention when Time Magazine referenced it as an innovation for combating "vacancy blight."

Art in Storefronts reaches beyond Market Street to several locations in the Tenderloin, the Mission, and the Bayview. It is a collaboration between the San Francisco Arts Commission,  Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Triple Base gallery, and the Department of Public Works (DPW). The pilot project will continue until at least February 1st, when its extension will be re-evaluated.

The Art Commission and the MTA’s new paintings in the Art in Kiosks program have also started showing up on Market Street, including beautiful watercolors by Pamela Wilson-Ryckman. The paintings depict subjects in various city parks, taken from archival photographs, which, according to Wilson-Ryckman, “suggest experiences of isolation and loneliness but also of affirmation within the densely populated city.” The Art in Kiosks program runs through December 31st.

A celebration featuring live bands will begin with an unveiling ceremony today from 5-7 pm at 989 Market Street (at 6th Street) followed by a reception next door (979 Market Street) where the public can pick up a map of the newly-transformed storefronts. The public will also have the opportunity to meet the artists who will be stationed at their installations discussing their work.

More of Chor Boogie’s mural and Kiosk watercolors after the jump.

art_in_store_fronts_2.jpgPhoto: Matthew Roth
art_in_stor_fronts_3.jpgPhoto: Matthew Roth
Wilson_Ryckman_2.jpgImage: SFAC
Wilson_Ryckman_1.jpgImage: SFAC


Eyes on the Street: Market Street Advance Stop Bars

New advanced stop bars have been striped on Market Street between 10th Street and 5th Street. Photos: Matthew Roth It has been six weeks since the MTA started diverting private automobiles off Market Street, an effort to improve conditions for pedestrians, Muni vehicles and cyclists in the eastbound direction, while measuring the economic impact of […]
One of the murals viewed during WOBOs mural ride. Photo: WOBO/Meryl Klein

Eyes on the Street: WOBO’s Mural Ride

Last Sunday morning, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) held its annual The Wheels + Walls Mural Ride, which took cyclists on a tour of West Oakland’s iconic wall art. From the WOBO Facebook page: WOBO Weekends is a monthly walk and ride series that gets you moving and discovering the awesome amenities, history, and hidden gems […]
Volunteers cleaned up the Duboce bike mural on Saturday. Photo: SFBC/Melyssa Mendoza

Eyes on the Street: Renewing a Symbol of a San Francisco Community

On Saturday, twenty volunteers helped a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition effort to clean and renew the mural behind the Duboce Triangle Safeway, along the bike path between Market and Church Streets. From the Bike Coalition’s call for volunteers: In 1996, longtime member and SF Bicycle Coalition leader Joel Pomerantz invited Mona Caron, a young artist […]

Nurturing Change on Central Market Street

From SPUR: Join John Peterson of Public Architecture and Judy Nemzoff from the San Francisco Arts Commission to learn about their partnership and efforts to revitalize Central Market Street. The ARTery Project will help transform Market Street into a nationally-celebrated cultural destination. The project’s signature component, Lights on Market Street, features three temporary site-specific light installations. In […]