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 […]

San Francisco Moves to Remake Market Street

A highly conceptual image from the SFCTA of what a re-visioned Market Street could look like. Five San Francisco agencies, together with a number of community partners, will initiate a series of bold trials this month, which they hope will eventually help transform Market Street into a revitalized, thriving city thoroughfare, bustling with "activated public […]

Mission Community Market Hopes to Revitalize Dormant Street

Organizers of the nascent Mission Community Market hope to transform an underutilized block of Bartlett Street in the Mission into a thriving weekly market, where vendors sell their goods and kids play in the street after school. As an initial test, the Mission Community Market Collaborative (MCMC) is throwing a block party and fundraiser on […]