ATA (Artists’ Television Access)
992 Valencia Street, San Francisco CA
July 20 – August, 2017

1967 Summer of Love –> 2017 Summer of Rage & Resistance is a satellite project of the Asian Art Museum‘s exhibition Flower Power

Happy to announce the launch of Clarion Alley Mural Project’s new Website. Over the course of 6 months I worked with Web developer Ari Salomon to design our new site and archive. Enjoy!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Danielle Smith
danielle@frameworksf.com

Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) is pleased to announce the launch of its first ever website, a comprehensive archive detailing the history of the project, its contributing artists, and 24 years-worth of public works. Since 1992 CAMP has been a community-based arts space, a place of refuge, and a gathering site for artists and activists to express ideas. In addition, CAMP is currently working to become an independent 501c3 non-profit to help streamline the organizational process and support a collective effort to protect artists’ intellectual property rights at the expense of corporate interests.

Running just one block (560 ft long and 15 ft. wide), Clarion Alley is a unique destination for street art and murals in San Francisco. With over 700 murals created since 1992, including San Francisco’s first international public art exchange with artists from Indonesia, CAMP has become a powerful presence in the community by using public art as a force for education, giving voice to disenfranchised communities, and providing a visual landscape that is helping to define the social/ political movements of our time. CAMP is one of San Francisco’s most frequented art spaces with over 200,000 visitors each year that walk the alley and take in a variety of styles and subject matter. CAMP is also one of the few remaining public spaces in San Francisco that offers a strong collective voice with social-political weight.

With the launch of its first website CAMP is taking steps to create a presence beyond the alley and hopes to reach people throughout the world with its messages of community empowerment, equity, and dissidence. CAMP’s website preserves the legacy of its artists and illuminates the context in which the artwork is created. The site includes an easy-to-use archive of past and present murals with supplemental writings and documents to help give historical and cultural context to the work. The site also answers Frequently Asked Questions such as: How often do the murals change? How are the artists selected? Who maintains the murals? Additional points of access will offer portals for engagement through social media channels and easy donation capabilities.

This exciting new dimension to CAMP’s presence is underscored by the organization’s recent decision to obtain its own 501c3 non-profit status. The organization has formed a Board of Directors that includes: Rigo 23, Susan Greene, Megan Wilson (Board President), Ivy Jeanne McClelland, (Board Secretary) Antonio Roman-Alcala, Christopher Statton (Board Treasurer), and Jose V. Guerra Awe. As an independent non-profit CAMP will continue to support community efforts to fight against the forces of gentrification, including the developers and real estate agents who often use CAMP as a selling point for the “cool, hip Mission experience”, as well as the corporations hoping to include the “gritty urban street art” image to sell their products.

About CAMP

The Mission of CAMP is to support and produce socially engaged and aesthetically diverse public art as a grassroots community-based, artist-run organization in San Francisco. Throughout its history Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) has used public art as a force for those who are marginalized and a place where culture and dignity speak louder than the rules of private property or a lifestyle that puts profit before compassion, respect, and social justice.

Clarion Alley runs one block in San Francisco’s inner Mission District between 17th & 18th and Mission and Valencia streets.

CAPITALISM IS OVER! If You Want It featured in Huck Magazine August 15, 2015

Five Postcapitalist Projects That Offer a Blueprint for a New World
Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future

By Alex King


Stop The Corporatocracy – My new mural on Clarion Alley – completed August 3, 2015


Megan Wilson, Home/Casa, Art Strikes Back, Clarion Alley, 2000

The following chronicles an experience I had during the first Dot-Com bomb/bust. I share it because in many ways it mirrors the situation that we are currently experiencing in the SF Bay Area, and in particular, the responses from the tech community and the community of new money that has moved in. The interaction that I had in 2000 with a woman from New York who was working for a dotcom PR firm that I share here, reminds me of many of the interactions that I’ve had with folks who are new to SF and part of the community that is displacing longtime residents, organizations and businesses and the attitude that we (those of us who are being displaced) just don’t really get it … and we’re just not working with them enough. In other words, they view the communities that many of us have spent years creating and contributing to as now theirs because they believe they have the right to it – and they have the money to buy it – the market is the force that determines who gets to stay and who must leave – regardless of whose livelihoods are at stake.

Dot-Com Boom/Bust 1.0

In the summer of 2000 – June/July Lise Swenson and I organized the performance series Art Strikes Back (Tim Costigan was involved in the early development phase of the project). We initiated the project as a creative response to the unprecedented growth and displacement in San Francisco and the blind greed and privilege that we were experiencing at that time. We sent out an open email to as many artists as we could asking if they would be interested in participating in the project through a performative work or another medium (murals, posters, text etc). Our plan was to stage performances every Friday and Saturday night at 7pm and 9pm for 6-weeks along the Valencia corridor in the Mission District – the area that was being the hardest hit by evictions. Anyone could participate – they just needed to provide us with a description of their work and the slot that they would like to sign up for (if available). My and Lise’s commitment was that we would organize the schedule, publicize the events, and document the works via still photography and video. For those who weren’t doing performances – we also did the same.

Lise Swenson’s performance The Emperor’s New Clothes, Art Strikes Back 2000

The response was overwhelming and we ended up extending the project to 8-weeks with over 80 artists who participated. The project was not without criticism – by others as well as ourselves – often it seemed like we were just providing free entertainment for the new wealthy interlopers. However, Art Strikes Back also brought a good deal of attention via the press to what was happening in San Francisco, which was our ultimate goal. The project was featured in the SF Chronicle, the LA Times, the London Telegraph, the Drudge Report, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” as well as numerous other publications.

We did not see the situation as being about tech vs. the rest of us – as we used tech to communicate and promote the project. Our press release stated:

As they suck up the atmospheres around them and leave nothing but a cultural waste behind, it is becoming harder and harder to produce the very cultural environments they are so eagerly buying up.  The participating artists are creating work at ground zero, from nothing and for nothing.

We were referring to the people who had moved in and completely disregarded that they were moving into an existing community and that they were creating a great deal of pain and suffering for many who had spent their livelihoods creating and contributing to the communities that were our homes. Basically we saw/see it as a case of contemporary colonialism.

Later that fall in November 2000, I was contacted by a woman named Valorie in New York who was putting together a Website and listening tour about the San Francisco’s Mission District and DUMBO in Brooklyn with her co-workers. When I looked up her email address, I learned that she worked in marketing and PR for a new dotcom company. She was interested in footage of Art Strikes Back to juxtapose with work in DUMBO as a way of “showcasing various artists, musicians and dancers from both neighborhoods.” Her title with the company was “Associate Information Architect.”

Rene Garcia and Marci Klane, Art Strikes Back, 2000

Of course I was suspect of her intentions and challenged her on the underlying motivations for the project, to which she was “shocked” by my tone as I called out her company. She responded with the following:

As I made clear in my opening, I don’t wish to comment how “companies like mine” fit into this equation. This is a personal project of mine, not a company endeavor, and I feel I’ve stated to you my support of the arts. But I will respond to how I see myself in relation to the communities I wish to represent. I live a couple neighborhoods away from DUMBO, in an old-Italian area known as Carroll Gardens. Brooklyn, like all of Manhattan, has experienced dramatic rent increases over the past four years, the last two in particular. The NYT wrote an article early this summer stating that real estate has increased over 40% since January. Everyone feels this pinch. I can’t afford to live by myself even in Brooklyn so I share a tiny 2 bedroom apartment with a dancer. Her and I have discussed extensively the “new economy,” how it’s affected her, her friends (both here and in San Francisco), and never has blame been placed on me personally. We worry about the use of technology and if it inhibits interpersonal communication and people’s relationship with their bodies, not my employer. We both question the cultural benefit of this New Age, weighing its pros and cons. But both my roommate and I feel in order to temper a new technology, one needs to know how to work with it. And that is what I’m learning at my company. Additionally, new media indisputably serves as a global distribution vehicle for all artists. I believe this is a benefit. Technology in itself is not inherently evil, nor are the people creating it.

Thus, to summarize my relationship to the art community, I see myself as a patron and legal supporter. I attend gallery openings and exhibits in DUMBO and encourage my friends to support local Brooklyn artists as well. We help them financially and through word of mouth. I do not apologize for my profession nor the fact that I’m not an artist by trade. I leverage my network of friends and colleagues to help DUMBO’s artists as well as promote legislation that protects and funds the profession of dancer, musician, painter, sculptor.

Your comment “we don’t want companies like the one you work for in our neighborhoods, nor do we want the culture that has resulted from the “dot-com Spring” in our neighborhoods” saddens me. Your experience compared to mine differs dramatically. Talent, energy and passion are the three adjectives I use to describe my coworkers and therefore our environment. Those are values I want governing my community, all tempered by a civic sensibility. That sensibility is what I hope to create with this website.

Thus I would like to continue our conversation further. Both of us are entitled to our positions. But I believe Megan, that although our backgrounds are different, our objectives are one. I care about the borough I live in and hope to see it realize itself as an art’s bastion. That said, I ask you the similar question, “How do you see the artists’ role in gentrification and displacement?” I do not mean to be spiteful but illustrate NY’s gentrification history over the past 20 years. The Bowery and Soho, once industrial strips of Manhattan housing numerous immigrant groups, have been popularized by artists. Today they are now one of the most desired and expensive areas to live in Manhattan. Original tenants, who lived there for years, were forced to find affordable alternative housing elsewhere. When I moved to NYC in 1997, I was told that whatever neighborhoods the artists live, those areas were up and coming. DUMBO and Williamsburg prove this point. Each area has witnessed a dramatic rent increase after artists began occupying warehouse space. Thus, in NYC, artists have, indirectly, raised the rent and have driven out the Polish, Italians, West Indians and many other ethnic groups as New Yorkers have followed the artists into these neighborhoods. Therefore I was shocked at the tone of your email. In my mind, I see you holding a similar culpability, if either of us truly own one. This is a complicated matter. Gentrification and urban development are never easy questions to integrate much less experience. That’s much of what I studied in school. Yet I believe both of us acknowledge our civic and artist responsibility and are acting on it.

I don’t mean to put you with this response but if we are to continue our discussion, I want to redirect our dialogue. I want to be part of a solution and see myself as such.


The Dot, Art Strike’s Back, 2000

I responded with the following:

Valorie,

I raised the questions that I did because I think it’s important that we all do that for others and ourselves to check in with how what we do impacts our lives and others – though I am aware that I was much more direct in asking them of you because of the project that you are initiating.  Many of the decisions that I’ve made for my life, including my work, have been the result of that kind of critical analysis posed to me by others.  And as an educator and someone who works for a media literacy organization, asking those types of questions is a daily endeavor.

However, I also know that this issue is not a simple one or one that can easily be couched in terms of black and white – which is why it has become so volatile.  You also raised a good question – that of the role of the artist in the gentrification.  Sadly, we are the market indicator for gentrification.  And I’m not sure what the answer to that is given that artists move into residences we can afford – we tend to be economically poor.  But we also tend to be incredibly community-minded and put a lot of time and energy into the neighborhoods that we become a part of – and it is precisely the manifestation of that time and energy that makes our neighborhoods desirable.  Obviously we too suffer from the result of our commitment in the process – being forced to leave the communities we helped to create.

In reference to my comment that we don’t want companies like yours – or the culture that has resulted – in our neighborhoods, I can only speak from the experience here – as you said, yours has been different.  But I will give you a little bit of background as to why so much hostility – the energy that has fueled the communities here to band together and take action, including our efforts to pass Proposition L, a slow-growth measure that ultimately was defeated by a 1 percent margin – has been felt towards the New Economy.  I also want to make it clear that this is not directed at technology or people having jobs – as you know, it’s much more complex, as are the issues around technology and the economy.

In the past three years – though the acceleration has really been in the last two – we have watched (and responded) as the communities that we have spent years building and contributing to have been dismantled.  And by contribute I mean – we have created many public art projects, often for NO monetary compensation (projects that we are beginning to see destroyed as the buildings they are housed on are being demolished for new condos), we have created community gardens, we have patronized the small family businesses of the ethnic communities you alluded to, we have organized community events, we have taught the kids in our neighborhood, we have worked at community organizations, and we have started our own families here – in essence we have contributed an enormous amount of time and energy to our communities.  This is not just a job for us – this is our livelihood.  The destruction of our neighborhoods has happened in the form of skyrocketing rents, as well as property that’s been taken off the rental market and sold as condominiums.  Every week we hear of more evictions.  And every week we hear of more and more people that are being forced to leave San Francisco altogether.  This has also had an enormous impact on arts organizations and non-profits that are even more vulnerable with commercial leases – many of these are folding.

What we’ve watched move in to replace the community members (many of whom had been here for years and years) and the community organizations are dot-com startups that (in the Mission) are being deceitfully classified as “business/servers” instead of the correct “office” classification that would disqualify their occupancy in the live/work spaces many are now operating from (check out: http://www.sfbg.com/News/35/07/07oglvwk.html).  The office classification would also have kept many of them out – as the cap for this year was reached early in the year.  Our neighborhoods do not have the capacity to support the traffic and numbers of people this industry is bringing in.  Additionally, as you are well aware, and as many of us predicted from the get-go several years ago, many of the companies moving in here are not sustainable on their own – they are not profitable – once the venture capitalist pulls out after seeing no profit for the third year in a row with no signs of that changing, the companies are tanking.  So that the organizations – many of them very established, long-standing (10, 20 years plus) foundations to the community – that were evicted and as a result had to close, were evicted so that a startup company comprised of young, talented, energetic twenty-something transplants from somewhere other than SF could have a fun, energetic, passionate work environment for two, maybe three years.  In addition, our neighborhood also now feels like a college campus with a kegger happening every night.  The small family businesses and restaurants have had to close shop because the new patrons to the neighborhood want more upscale venues – and they can pay for it.  We also have not experienced contributions from the new boom economy to our community in the form of philanthropy.  As a fundraiser, I can say firsthand that our community organizations are not in anyway a priority to this new money.  Nor are the arts.

I also am aware that it’s probably hard for many of the young folks involved in this boom economy and these new companies to understand the impact they are having.  Many of them are just out of college or graduate school and have never known what it means to be a part of an adult community outside of the college environment – nor do they have any investment in the communities here.  And if it is their first job out of school, or even if not, it’s a really fun environment – and that is great, we should all have the opportunity to enjoy what we do for a living and feel passionate about it.  But we should also have the right to housing and the option to stay in the communities that we have spent so much energy creating and not be forced out because we do not have money.

All that being said, I do believe that you have a genuine interest in supporting the arts and I commend you for that.  I will start sending you more info specifically about Art Strikes Back so that you can begin to understand more about our role in the response here.  I will say too that Art Strikes Back was also problematic in that sometimes it felt more like we were just providing free entertainment for the people our message was targeted at.  Though much of it was very powerful and did hit home, as well as drew a lot of attention to the issue – we did get a good amount of press.

I look forward to seeing how your project takes shape and helping to work with you on it.

Megan

Our correspondence ended there. I sent Valorie additional information and images and she never responded – not even to say “thank you.” Apparently she’d moved on to the next thing. The company she worked for went under soon after our exchange. I looked her up recently and she is still doing PR/marketing for tech companies.



Sidewalk Food Tours of San Francisco is the latest “foodie” tour company to disrespect and exploit the communities they claim to love. Clarion Alley Mural Project has repeatedly requested Sidewalk Food Tours of San Francisco to stop using our project for their profits – We nicely wrote owner Josh Hirsch and asked tour guide “Casey” in person to please stop using our project as part of their $60/person tours that they’ve included CAMP on and that they have NO connection to – and to remove our images from their marketing materials … the response? total disrespect and entitlement. Please help spread the word far and wide that Sidewalk Food Tours SUCKS!

Photo by Peter Menchini

Photo by Peter Menchini

Protesters disrupt landlord from getting on Google bus

By Sara Bloomberg

48 Hills

DECEMBER 16, 2014 — Sometimes he drives to work, but this morning Jack Halprin decided to take a private shuttle to his office at Google.

Housing advocates were awaiting him.

Shortly before 7 am, around a dozen protesters blocked a tech shuttle from leaving its stop at 18th and Dolores streets when someone in the group started yelling, “He’s walking down Guerrero!”

Maybe Halprin thought he could sneak by the loud group—and their signs denouncing him—unnoticed. But no such luck.

Halprin, a lawyer for Google, is using the Ellis Act to evict the remaining tenants at 812 Guerrero St., a seven unit building tucked between the bustling Valencia commercial corridor and Dolores Park.

And the question on everyone’s minds since he served the eviction notice last February is: Why does he need a seven unit building all to himself?   Continue Reading HERE

Halprinprotest from Mission Local on Vimeo.

Better Homes and Gardens – San Francisco’s Mission District in 2000 … footage from ground zero for the dotcom bomb and the epidemic of evictions that resulted … Precursor to the latest project Better Homes and Gardens Today - thank you Christopher Statton for editing!

Essay by Claire Bain

ATA Blog
Published October 28, 2014

Megan Wilson and Christopher Statton are in ATA’s display window, painting hundreds of signs with one word on them: “Home.” Black letters and a flower spell out the word in English or other languages, each on a solid color background. Sold in pairs for $100, one sign goes to the purchaser; the money and the other sign goes to one of three homeless service organizations. They could have just painted a bunch of signs in their studio and put them up for sale, but they chose instead to perform the production of the signs in the window. More than fundraising, they are organizing, raising awareness through outreach, providing information, and holding the City accountable for its human responsibility. And they are accomplishing all of this by subverting the tools of commercial language. Read more HERE.

Directed by Avery Yu and Haley Jensen
Released September 2014

MI CASA NO ES SU CASA tells the story of a rapidly evolving neighborhood: San Francisco’s Mission District. Stripping down the word “gentrification” to its literal and interpreted meanings, this film addresses the multifaceted perspectives of the issue. Through interviews with long time residents, politicians, professors and community activists. Mi Casa No Es Su Casa gives us a snapshot into this vibrant neighborhood and the complicated politics of its newfound popularity.

Interviews with Megan Wilson, Erin MC EL, Roberto Hernandez, Christopher Statton, Miriam Zuk, Jean Yaste, and David Campos.