Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces


Artist Marlon Sagana Ingram makes a scene. Image courtesy of the artist.

From July 9–August 20, 2015, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism‘s fiscal sponsor, SOMArts Cultural Center, presents Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. As a key contributor to the exhibition, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism will be opening up our Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive and online History Collection Lab, to support online and offline efforts to gather, organize, and share archival material from Bay Area alternative spaces and this monumental exhibition.

“Making a Scene…spotlights a rich history of Bay Area artist-run, independent and alternative spaces, as well as the pioneers and contemporary trailblazers of social justice who utilized these spaces as a catalyst and megaphone. Archival material from more than 20 individuals and spaces, and art and installations by more than 30 current and historic Bay Area artists, unite the featured spaces’ disparate, yet overlapping and contingent histories of cultural engagement, community development and social justice.”

Modeled on Wikipedia, the Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive is an online regional archive for socially-engaged art practices and creative political activism. This community archive documents the prolific and longstanding tradition of art and activism in the Bay Area to provide inspiration for future generations of artists and activists. We invite everyone to recall and contribute historical work as well as to document current work by artists and activists on this collaboratively edited site. Drawing on the rich resources of Collective Memory, the archive also provides content for arts-integrated social justice curricula for Bay Area teaching artists, educators, and their students.

History Collection Lab: All Ephemera Welcome!

Did you ever make a scene?  If you were/are part of an artist-run, alternative Bay Area space, please consider sharing your stories and historical material.  As part of Making a Scene, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism will be hosting two live history collection labs where we’ll be providing digital image scanners, cameras, audio and video recording equipment, and technical support to facilitate contributions from the public to Making a Scene and the Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive. Memories, stories, flyers, photos, documents, and shoeboxes welcome.

History Collection Lab Hours

Thursday, July 9, 2015 from 6-9pm
Free exhibition opening reception at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)

Wednesdays + Fridays from 10am-2pm
SOMArts Cultural Center Main Gallery Annex, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 8:30pm to 10:30pm
SOMArts Cultural Center’s celebrated Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party: 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)
$12 advance tickets/$15 at the door. Buy now →

Open 24 Hours Every Day Online
Digital contributions can be made via Internet anytime. Visit our online History Collection Lab to learn how →

More information about the exhibition here. Visit the Collective Memory Art & Activism Archive here.

Submit a Scene! →

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Essential Information

Where in the Bay Area was/is this space located?  Please provide an address if possible.

Narrative Description

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Maximum upload file size: 2 MB. Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, mp3. To add additional images, please visit our Digital Ephmera Uploader.

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*By submitting the above information as oral history, you agree to be a follow-up interview at a later date.

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Please note that all contributions to Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then do not submit it here.

By selecting "Submit," you are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Image Licensing and Permissions for details). Please do not submit copyrighted work without permission! Thanks for sharing.

The History Collection Lab was initiated as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces, an exhibition supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. SOMArts’ exhibition programs are generously supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission and The San Francisco Foundation, and are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts.