Friday, October 30, 2009

Art in Storefronts

In an effort to put a band-aid on the blight of certain neighborhoods, local artists have been asked by the San Francisco Arts Commission to create "Art in Storefronts" in the Tenderloin, Mid-Market, Mission and Bayview neighborhoods.

Helen Bayly and Leanne Miller were working on an ambitious mural for Market near 6th Street, next door to Pearl Art Supply store, but seemed as if they were going to have trouble finishing it for the October 23rd opening fiesta.

That party was essentially just another photo-op for San Francisco's ineffectual mayor, Gavin Newsom, who was addressing a crowd on Market Street.

There's an election this Tuesday with two unopposed candidates for Treasurer and City Attorney respectively, along with five city initiatives, four of which deal with advertising in public spaces.

The worst of the measures is Proposition D, which would allow for bright, digital billboards along Market Street between 5th and 8th Streets which is somehow supposed to mitigate the empty storefronts and criminal lunatics who hang out on the three-block stretch. This would be about as effective as putting an anti-fungal cream on skin cancer. Please vote no on D.


AphotoAday said...

Seems like if the rate of store closures continues it won't be long before the City will be just one big art gallery...

namastenancy said...

I was contacted by some marketing firm some time ago about this darn billboard scheme. I kept saying NO, NO and NO but they obviously didn't listen to me. Just another bat shit stupid idea which will bring more clutter and put more money into already bulging bank accounts.
I've seen the art on empty store fronts; I think that the idea originated in NY where the recession is even more draconian than in SF. I like the idea; it's better than empty storefronts, filled with trash and covered with graffiti. Of course, people having jobs with decent pay is the best yet but that's a long time coming.

sfmike said...

New York isn't suffering from the current economic unpleasantness as extensively as California if the anecdotes from friends of mine back there are any indication. Where do you think the majority of the trillions in bailout money went? They are all rather shocked by what is happening here in the Golden State.

janinsanfran said...

It was a pleasure to vote No on D!

Yes -- California's inability to solve its problems through a broken political process (it's not entirely the idiots we attract for politicians; much of it is structural) has become a laughingstock and horror nationally.

Unless the Dems are willing to rise to the occasion and modify the filibuster in the US Senate, the whole country will suffer from the same decay we see in CA politics.

namastenancy said...

I'm sure that the Wall Street crowd is doing just fine (thankyouverymuch) but the art scene in NY is suffering badly. Even Damien Hirst, the poster boy for record high prices for his art, is taking a hit. I think that either Edward Winkleman's blog or Carol Vent's blog had an article on the record number of gallery closures in the last year. Joanne Mattera usually has a Monday post on marketing and business for artists and that makes for depressing reading. There have been a number of articles about artists who have been dropped from their galleries or galleries who have simply closed without notice. SF has had some galleries closing but I was pleased to read in today's paper about some who have left the expensive space at 49 Geary and found better digs elsewhere.
So, perhaps I should have qualified my statement that the recession is more draconian in art circles in NY than in SF but then, the art scenes in the two cities are so very different that it's difficult to make a line by line comparison.
The bottom line seems to be that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are struggling, and for artists who aren't "big name" or "Old masters," it's even more difficult to pay the rent.
Still, art in the store fronts is a great idea; a new WPA would be an even better one.