Press Release: Bay Area artists in new group exhibition envision new possibilities for cities in transition, and the financial and spiritual well-being of their inhabitants 
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Image courtesy of the artist, Cynthia Tom
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Image courtesy of the artist, Sergio De La Torre
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Jess Young, Director of Communications & Community Engagement
SOMArts Cultural Center
415-863-1414 x112 •


SOMArts Cultural Center Presents
Place/Displaced, November 8–December 13, 2014

Bay Area artists consider strategies of resistance and healing for individuals and communities experiencing rapid loss of shelter, space and culture


San Francisco, CA, October 23, 2014––  Place/Displaced, a group exhibition on view with free admission Thursday, November 20th through Saturday, December 13th, presented by SOMArts Cultural Center, invites everyone to the table to explore the role we each play in a changing Bay Area in the present moment, marked by an unprecedented increase in Ellis Act evictions, Black flight and the outmigration caused by an affordability crisis. More than 40 participating artists and groups use their various creative practices to recall and record diasporic histories, reveal complex identities and address issues of cultural preservation. Included artworks and installations envision new possibilities for cities in transition, and the financial and spiritual well-being of their inhabitants.

Heavily influenced by a tenet of South African philosophy Ubuntu, “I am because we are,” SOMArts’ newest staff member, Curator for Inquiry and Impact Melorra Green, has selected for her first exhibition at SOMArts artworks that are deeply social in nature and foster human connection.

“Artists in Place/Displaced express the anger, pain, and sadness of the pillage taking place in our communities and speak out with their brushes, cameras, and bodies. Some utilize technology–– mapping and gaming installations confront the rising cost of living and the displacement of longtime Bay Area residents. Others offer interactive installations and performances that highlight our collective responsibility to remain connected to one another and raise all voices as we face social stratification and a widening class divide,” said Green.  

The opening reception Thursday, November 20, 6pm to 9pm, free admission, features a drum circle led by Kulture Freedom that anyone can join, live performances hosted by American Conservatory Theater’s Stage Coach program, live painting, brief artist talks and interactive installations facilitated by more than 13 participating artists and groups.

Wake Up the Walls, Friday, December 5, 5:30pm to 8:30pm, free admission, is an evening of creativity, music and art for all ages to accompany Place/Displaced. Hands-on activities for everyone include: theater games inspired by Augusto Boal and led by American Conservatory Theater’s Stage Coach program, an acrobatic dance performance by Body Waves, percussion and beat-based performances by Bay Area teens, and more. Participants can preview the Youth Art Exchange exhibition Our Changing City.

Ubuntu: Everyone At the Table, Wednesday, December 10, 7pm to 9pm, free admission with online RSVP, invites everyone to the table, including artists, curators, educators, political organizers and more, to generate ideas and inspire action that will nurture art and artists in the Bay Area. Each course of the 3-course meal prepared by The People’s Kitchen is served in the gallery and begins with an activity to ignite creativity, communication and action.

Several visual artworks in Place/Displaced, including an installation by Ako Jacintho depicting an eviction tag sale, reflect a harsh reality for many Bay area residents, who are experiencing a record number of Ellis Act and no-fault evictions or are struggling against the rising cost of living. Sergio De La Torre will replicate a real eviction letter at billboard scale inside the gallery.

The comic “(H)afrocentric” by Jewels Smith stars a radical black feminist, Naima Pepper, and her friends and family grappling with identities and neighborhoods in flux. Smith’s installation offers larger than life comic figures and a literal soap box where participants can publicly answer questions like, “How would you like to see your neighborhood transformed?” and “What does gentrification feel like to you?” by adding hashtags to images and text they share on Twitter and Instagram.

Cynthia Tom and Cris Matos offer an installation consisting of a large paper tree and a station where gallery visitors can customize and contribute paper house ornaments with their hopes and wishes and hang them from the branches.

Kristine Mays exhibits two figurative wire sculptures that evoke the body language of offering and of supplication, a personification of the power structures at play during this time of economic crisis.

Michael Ross’ “Migration House: Ready to Move” is a quilted house installation that asks how we gather our “cultural belongings” to prepare for migration, what we pull closer to us in preparation for the journey and what is ultimately lost because it cannot travel. An installation by senseofplace LAB [sic] features video and photographic documentation from an ongoing community-based project in which San Francisco residents add physical markers and text-based descriptions of their memories to relevant locations throughout the city.

Rodney Ewing will create a mural sized wall drawing in graphite using a portion of Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish's poem "Under Siege.” Ewing draws inspiration from Darwish, who consistently offered humanist and universalist messages in his poems despite having witnessed pivotal moments in Palestine’s history marred by brutal oppression, displacement and loss.

The exhibition and all related events take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible.

Place/Displaced group exhibition
Exhibition November 20–December 13, 2014. Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm and Saturday, 12–5pm. Free admission.
Bay Area artists consider strategies of resistance and healing for individuals and communities experiencing rapid loss of shelter, space and culture
More info:

Place/Displaced Opening Reception
Thursday, November 20, 6–9pm. Free admission.
Visual art opening features live performances & interactive activities and experiences facilitated by more than 13 artists
More info:

Wake Up the Walls
Friday, December 5, 6:30–8:30pm. Free admission.
Evening of performance and participatory art activities among the art in Place/Displaced and Youth Art Exchange’s Our Changing City
More info:

Ubuntu: Everyone at the Table
Wednesday, December 10, 7–9pm. Free with RSVP, meal included.
3-course meal uses creativity to inspire action and envision a nurturing and supportive future for art and artists in the Bay Area. Food prepared by The People’s Kitchen

Exhibition Collaborators:
3.9 Art Collective
Bayview Opera House
California College for the Arts Center for Art and Public Life
Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA
Justin Hoover
Ubuntu: Can Art Save a Community?

Live Performances and Activities by:
American Conservatory Theater SF
ArtReach Studios and Gallery
Black Folks Dinner
Body Waves
Impact Hub Oakland
Kulture Freedom
The Museum of African Diaspora Vanguard
Oakland Public Conservatory
The People’s Kitchen
Political Action Committee (PAC)
The Puppet Workshop
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Transitional Age Youth San Francisco
Youth Art Exchange  

Exhibiting Artists:
Shalini Agrawal
Anchor & Plow
Anton Belov
Todd Berman
Body Waves
Dylan E. Buffington
Margherita Buzzi
Katherin Canton
Georgia S. Chouteau
Joana Cruz
Sergio De La Torre
Irene Faye Duller
Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA
Rodney Ewing
Nina Fabunmi
Farah Q. Faizi
Dania W. Frink
Melonie Green
Mark Harris
Roy Huerta
Chason M. Ionov
Ako Jacintho
Alexander R. Kahn
Kiss My Black Arts
Shana La Reina
Sequoya A. Lee
Harrison Love
Joanne Ludwig
Stephanie Martinez
Cris Matos
Kristine Mays
Robert A. Morel
Barbara Ockel
Trevor Parham
Fitu Petaia
Shantre Pinkney
William Rhodes
Tim Roseborough
Michael Ross
Yukari Sakura
Ron Saunders
Karen Seneferu
Malik Seneferu
senseofplace LAB
Jewels Smith
Karly R. Stephens
Clark Suprynowicz
Xavier Thompson
Cynthia Tom
Chris Treggiari
Mark LeGrande Trotter
Keith KDub Williams
Wenzhe Xu
Jingtao Zhang

SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) was founded in 1979 and operates the South of Market Cultural Center, one of four city-owned cultural facilities in San Francisco.

SOMArts supports exhibitions, performances, classes and other collaborations that serve its mission: to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.

For more information about upcoming events, space rentals and technical services, visit or call 415-863-1414. SOMArts’ exhibition programs are supported by the Community Arts & Education Program of the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.