Bay Area Art & Activism Timeline

As part of Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area, curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with “SHELLMOUNDS,” the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.

In trying to survey our past, these are just a few of the countless stories we have to draw upon. We cannot tell them all since not all books will fit on one shelf. However, we hope that viewers will enjoy browsing this collection and be reminded of the deep roots of creativity, diversity, love and political liberation that have made the Bay Area so special. We have made our selections in the spirit of James Baldwin and Take This Hammer in order to highlight stories of uncompromising clarity and courageous artistic vision.

While the stories are arranged chronologically, we can draw upon any of them at anytime to bring the past into the present. Time is also a tool. For activists, this is one of the most powerful aspects of our art and media. Remembering and reiterating our stories allows us to work critically and knowledgeably with time and change–because progress is sometimes a seductive myth and ghosts can be helpful.

Some stories will be familiar and hopefully some will not. We invite everyone to take note of these titles and look the stories up for themselves. They are listed here with short descriptions and illustrative links.

If you have a story you would like to share, we are collecting them. Please scroll down or click here to share.

4000 BCESHELLMOUNDSOhloneArchaeologyShellmounds are large scale earthworks composed of shell midden deposits. They are the oldest archaeological evidence of human settlement in the Bay Area. Estimated at over 6,000 years old, they are a starting point from which to consider the creative and collaborative work that continues today. FoundSF →
1492 (1991)Almanac of the DeadLeslie Marmon SilkoBook – Indigenous StorytellingSilko’s prophetic 1991 novel provides indigenous perspectives on the effects of European colonialism on space, time, and imagination in the Americas while modeling the radical possibilities of indigenous American storytelling, magic, and politics for the future. SFPL →
1790Hidden Mural of Mission DoloresIndigenous ArtistsArt – IndigenousBehind the first altar inside the sanctuary of Mission Dolores is a hidden mural rendered in ochre, red, white, yellow, black, and blue that includes abstract patterns and Christian imagery. The mural measures 21 inches high by 22 feet wide. In 1790, there were 456 Peninsula Costonoan (86%), 45 East Bay Costonoan (9%), 23 Coast Miwok (5%) and 1 Bay Miwok (>1%) at Mission Dolores. More →
1769 (2013)SAINTS & CITIZENS: Indigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican CaliforniaLisbeth HaasBook – HistoryWhile focused on indigenous mission encounters in Southern California, Saints and Citizens: Indigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California offers detailed accounts and interpretations of indigenous creative practices and political agency during the California Mission era. More →
1849The Gold Rush & Comstock Silver Load Geopolitics – HistorySan Francisco becomes a significant port of call with the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills (1848–1855) and then silver in Western Nevada. Wikipedia here and here →
1871San Francisco Art AssociationSFAIOrganization – EducationThe San Francisco Art Association would establish one of the oldest art schools in the United States with the California School of Design (CSD) in 1874. CSD was renamed California School of Fine Arts in 1916, which then became the San Francisco Art Institute in 1961. Wikipedia →
1888Bayview Opera House Organization – PerformanceThe Bay View Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater is San Francisco’s oldest theater located at 4705 Third Street in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. More →
1893Xavier Martínez: Painting & Murals ArtistsMexican-born Martinez, moved to San Francisco in 1893 and enrolled in the California School of Design (SFAI) to study painting. He became a central figure in the Bohemian art scene. Martinez was an instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCA) and the California School of Fine Arts (SFAI). He remained invested in his Mexican roots and published poetry and philosophy in Spanish. Wikipedia →
1901WAITRESSES ON STRIKE! Labor MovementStriking waitresses shut down 200 San Francisco restaurants. More →
1907School of the California Guild of Arts and CraftsCCAOrganization – EducationThe California College of Arts & Crafts (1936) was established, then later renamed the California College of the Arts (2003). Wikipedia →
1910Cantonese PoemsAngel Island Immigration StationPoetryAngel Island served as an immigration station for people arriving from East Asia, South Asia, and Russia. The government detained and interrogated thousands of Chinese newcomers to determine whether they were lawful immigrants. While detained, many immigrants left poetry on the walls of the station. More →
1913Tina Modotti ArtistsActress, model, photographer, revolutionary political activist, Tina Modotti immigrates to United States from Italy and lives in San Francisco. FoundSF →
1915Panama-Pacific International Exposition Art – ExhibitionThe Panama–Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was a world fair that took place in the Marina district of San Francisco between February 20 and December 4, 1915. The purpose of the fair was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it served as an opportunity to show the city re-built after the severe damages caused by the 1906 earthquake. Wikipedia →
1930Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera ArtistsDiego Rivera and Frida Kahlo arrive in San Francisco. Rivera paints the Stock Exchange fresco “Allegory of California.” His visit would strongly influence many of the artists whom the government would later commission to decorate the walls of the new Coit Memorial Tower on Telegraph Hill. FoundSF →
1934BLOODY THURSDAYSan Francisco General Strike/West Coast Longshoremen’s StrikeLabor MovementViolence and conflict ensue when police try to open the Port of San Francisco on Thursday July 5 of  the 1934 West Coast Longshoremen’s Strike. Wikipedia →
1934Coit Tower Murals: “Aspects of Life in California”WPA Public Works of Art ProjectPublic ArtIn 1933, New Deal relief administrator Harry L. Hopkins gave his support to a groundbreaking plan that commissioned artists to produce public works of art. He argued that “work relief,” was necessary because it not only provided otherwise jobless people with money to buy food, but also preserved their skills and restored their self-confidence. FoundSF →
1941MAYA ANGELOUCollected WorksLiterature – PoetryWriter and activist Maya Angelou arrives in San Francisco arrives as a teen anger and attends high school. Angelou would go on to write I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and many other works.  BATA →
1941HARLEM OF THE WEST Geopolitics – RaceBetween 1941 and 1970,   over 5 million African-Americans left the South for other parts of the United States. Drawn by World War II job opportunities in the Hunters Point Naval shipyard, many African-Americans settled in the Bay Area and established San Francisco, and the Fillmore District in particular, as a thriving West Coast hub of African American art, culture, and politics. PBS →
1946 (1976)CROSSROADSBruce ConnorArt – Experimental FilmBruce Connor’s 1976 experimental film used found footage of the United States’ 1946 nuclear weapons test at Bikini Atoll. Clip →
1942 (2006)In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans During the InternmentShizue SeigelBook – HistorySeigel’s book offers a comprehensive look at non-Japanese American allies that helped incarcerees during and after World War II. More →
1946Rincon Annex MuralsAnton RefregierPublic ArtMurals painted and censored. Refregier described his desire to paint the past, not as a romantic backdrop, but as part of the living present, a present shaped by the trauma of depression, strikes, and impending war. The controversial content would cause an uproar from conservatives who repeatedly attempted to censor it. FoundSF →
1946OAKLAND GENERAL STRIKE Labor MovementPreceded by Strikes at Oakland department stores, Kahn’s and Hastings, by 400 women employees, the Oakland General Strike involved over 100,000 workers from the American Federation of Labor unions in Alameda County who declared a “work holiday” and walked off their jobs. Wikipedia →
 1952Graphic Arts Workshop Radical PrintOriginally a range of classes operating under the umbrella of the Communist Party’s California Labor School, the Graphic Arts Workshop (GAW) became a separate entity sometime between 1949 and 1952 when conservative political pressure and the loss of their nonprofit status closed down the school. More →
1953City LightsLawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. MartinBookstore – BeatCity Lights bookstore was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. Books and publications on alternative culture made it a unique destination for both locals and tourists. The store remains a legacy of anti-authoritarian, radical politics, and insurgent thinking. More →
1955HOWLAllen GinsburgPoetryConsidered a benchmark in Beat poetry, Howl was written in three parts by poet and writer Allen Ginsberg in 1955. It was published as part of a 1956 collection by City Lights and became the target of a federal obscenity trial due to its references to drugs and sexually explicit content. Listen →
1956The LadderDaughters of BilitisPublication – LesbianThe Daughters of Bilitis was founded in 1955 as a social group for San Francisco lesbians and grew into a national organization with the publication of The Ladder, their monthly magazine by and for lesbians. They would convene at a conference in 1960, the first national public gathering of lesbians in the US. FoundSF →
1957 (2010)23 Women Artists and Artists of Color: 1950s-60sCarlos Villa – rehistoricizing.orgArtists – InternetVilla’s presents the work of women artists and artists of color from varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds who worked in a “pre post–race” environment, an era in which the artist hero was almost always a white male, in particular among abstract expressionists. More →
1959San Francisco Mime TroupeRG DavisPerformance – ActivismFounder RG Davis started avant-garde performance events in lofts and basements. When he discovered Commedia dell’Arte (Italian Renaissance marketplace comedy), he began a tradition of free shows in local parks. The troupe became a collective in 1970. Their performances include melodramas, spy thrillers, musical comedies, epic histories, sitcoms, and cartoon epics. More →
1960The National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities CommitteeFrank Wilkinson and Dick CrileyAction – Civil RightsHUAC conducted hearings in San Francisco’s City Hall, drawing hundreds of protestors, mainly college students. Without warning, the police turn fire hoses on the protestors and push them down the staircase in the building’s rotunda. The following day, 5,000 people gathered in front of City Hall to protest against HUAC. More →
1961Bernice BingCollected WorksArtistsArtist Bernice Bing is born in San Francisco and would become an accomplished painter (MFA, SFAI ’61) who would head the South of Market Cultural Center (later renamed the SOMArts Cultural Center) in the 1980s. More →
1960Marcus BooksJulian and Raye Richardson – The Success Printing Co.Bookstore – BlackIn 1960, the thriving Black business district known as the Fillmore in San Francisco, Julian and Raye Richardson were co-owners of The Success Printing Company. After reading Marcus Garvey’s Philosophy and Opinions, they decided to change the names of their 30 year-old printshop and bookstore to Marcus Books Printing and Marcus Bookstores, which resulted in opening another store in Oakland, California. More →
1963TAKE THIS HAMMERDir. Richard O. Moore
Feat. James Baldwin – NET
Documentary Film – RaceIn 1963, Baldwin tours San Francisco for KQED’s documentary “Take This Hammer” on the African American community and publishes “The Fire Next Time,” which was about the civil rights movement and later became a national best seller. BATA →
1963The Fire Next TimeJames BaldwinBook – Essay – RaceThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin contains two essays: “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation,” and “Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind.” SFPL →
1964Civil Rights Act American HistoryThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public. Wikipedia →
1964FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT Movement – Civil RightsThe Free Speech movement included Mario Savio, Jack Weinberg, Michael Rossman, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others. In the spring of 1965, the FSM was followed by the Vietnam Day Committee, a major starting point for the anti-Vietnam war movement. Wikipedia →
1965Wee PalsMorrie TurnerIllustration – MulticulturalismWee Pals was a syndicated comic strip about a diverse group of children. The comic was created and produced by Morrie Turner. It was the first comic strip syndicated in the United States to have a cast of diverse characters dubbed the “Rainbow Gang.” Wikipedia →
1965Intersection for the Arts Organization – ArtIntersection for the Arts was established in 1965 by an interfaith coalition of three churches with funding from the Glide Foundation. The organization began as a merger of several faith-based experiments that were using art to reach disenfranchised neighborhood youth and provide artists who were conscientious objectors with an alternative to serving in the Vietnam War. Wikipedia →
1965Delano Grape StrikeAgricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the United Farm WorkersLabor MovementOn September 8, 1965, Filipino American grape workers and members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee walked out on strike against Delano-area table and wine grape growers protesting years of poor pay and conditions. The Filipinos asked Cesar Chavez, who led a mostly Latino farm workers union, the National Farm Workers Association, to join their strike. More →
1966Compton’s Cafeteria RiotTransgender ResidentsProtest – Police ViolenceLocated, in the Tenderloin District at 101 Taylor Street, Compton’s Café was the sight of one of the first recorded transgender uprisings in the Unites States. More →
1966HUNTERS POINT RIOT Protest – Police Violence – RacismResidents of San Francisco’s predominantly black Hunters Point neighborhood protest the killing a seventeen-year-old Matthew Johnson by a white police officer shot as the boy fled the scene of a stolen car. Police called in the Highway Patrol and National Guard to subdue the situation. FoundSF →
1967The Black PantherArt, Graphics, Illustration by Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture BPPPublication – Movement – BlackAs the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas was responsible for creating some of the most iconic images, graphics, and illustrations of the Black Power Movement. Video →
1967International Grape BoycottUnited Farm WorkersLabor MovementSee organized in conjunction with the Delano Grape Strike, the international consumer boycott of non-union grapes was instrumental in securing victory for Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the United Farm Workers against California grape growers.  More →
1967Western Addition Community OrganizationHannibal WilliamsGeopolitics – RaceWACO launched an all-out attack on the SF Redevelopment Agency whose redevelopment plans often targeted low-income residents and residents of color for displacement. Their lawsuit resulted in the 1975 Federal Uniform Relocation Act. Which says “if you use a dollar of federal money to displace a person, you have to use federal money to re-house them.” FoundSF →
1967Neighborhood Arts ProgramSFACOrganization – ArtA project of the San Francisco Arts Commission was one of the first community arts programs established in the United States and worked to ensure residents of the city experienced and participated in the arts.  More →
1967The Human Be-In and the Summer of Love Movement – CountercultureThe Human Be-In was an event in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park held on January 14, 1967. It was a prelude to San Francisco’s Summer of Love, which made the Haight-Ashbury district a symbol of American counterculture. Wikipedia →
1968SF STATE STRIKE!: The Longest Student Strike in U.S. HistoryThird World Liberation FrontAction – Social Justice – EducationThe Third World Liberation Front (TLWF) led a student strike at San Francisco State University that lasted five months. TLWF was a joint effort of the Black Student Union, Latin American Students Organization, Asian American Political Alliance, Filipino American Collegiate Endeavor, and Native American Students Union. BATA →
1968COALAudre LordePoetryPoet Audre Lorde published her first work in 1968. COAL (published 1976) established Lorde as an iconic voice of the Black Arts Movement. Read →
1968The Rolling QuadsUC Berkeley Students with DisabilitiesMovement – Disability RightsUC Berkeley Students with disabilities organize and advocate for accessible classrooms, curb cuts in the City of Berkeley, and other accommodations for people with disabilities. Wikipedia →
1969INDIANS WELCOME: Occupation of AlcatrazIndians of All TribesAction – Geopolitics – IndigenousNearly 100 young Native American Indians, mostly students, occupied Alcatraz, demanding the US government cede the island to Native American people. More →
1969UC BERKELEY STRIKE!: The 2nd Longest Student Strike in U.S. HistoryThird World Liberation FrontAction – Social Justice – EducationTWLF led a student strike at UC Berkeley, which included the Mexican American Student Confederation, Asian American Political Alliance, African American Student Union, and the Native American group. Wikipedia →
1969ExploratoriumFrank OppenheimerArt – TechnologyThe Exploratorium is a museum and public learning laboratory in San Francisco focused on science, art, and human perception. More →
1970Galería de la Raza Organization – Chicano/Latino ArtArt and cultural center located in the heart of the Mission district was founded by Rupert García, Peter Rodríguez, Francisco X. Camplis, Graciela Carrillo, Jerry Concha, Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Carlos Loarca, Manuel Villamor, Robert González, Luis Cervantes, Chuy Campusano, Rolando Castellón, Ralph Maradiaga, and René Yañez. More →
1970Royal Chicano Air ForceJosé Montoya and Esteban VillaRadical PrintThe Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is an artistic collective based in Sacramento. Initially named the Rebel Chicano Art Front, the RCAF was founded in 1969 to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and labor organizing movement of the United Farm Workers. More →
1971KPOO 89.5 FMPoor People’s RadioRadio – Social JusticeKPOO is an independent, listener-sponsored, noncommercial radio station. More →
1971La Raza Silkscreen Center / La Raza Graphics Center Radical PrintOne of the most prolific and influential poster centers of the Bay Area, LRSC/LRGC not only served as a cultural hub in San Francisco’s Mission District, it attracted artists from all over the world. More →
1971Modern Times Book Store Bookstore – CollectiveCollectively owned and operated community bookstore in the Mission. More →
1975The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angel DavisBettina ApthekerBook – HistoryArrested on October 13, 1970, on suspicion of conspiracy in the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County courthouse, Davis was a highly recognized and controversial African American scholar and activist. She was acquitted in San Jose by an all-white jury in 1972. The extraordinarily effective local and national grassroots movement for her freedom is documented by her close friend Dr. Bettina Aptheker. More →
1972YARDBIRD READERIshmael Reed and Al YoungPublication – MulticulturalismIshmael Reed, along with Al Young and several others, founded The Yardbird Reader to be a multi-cultural magazine devoted to literature and art. They published five issues between 1972-1976 before a legal dispute caused Reed and Young to lose the rights to the magazine. They published Yardbird Lives! in 1978 as a means of recouping some of their financial outlay, and eventually Y’Bird, but a court ruled they could use neither of these names. More →
1972Kearny Street Workshop Organization – Asian American ArtFounded in 1972, during the height of the Asian American cultural movement, Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) is the oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization in the country. Wikipedia  →
1973Third World Communications Collective Publication – Social JusticeMembers of the Third World Communications Collective included: Nina Serrano, Alejandro Stuart, Fernando Alegrià, Rupert Garcia, Janice Mirikitani, Serrafín Syquia, Geraldine Kudaka, George Leong, Victor Heràndez Cruz, and Jessica Hagedorn. Found SF→
1972Día de los Muertos in San FranciscoRené YañezPublic Art – Chicano/LatinoYañez brought the tradional Mexican ritual celebration to San Francisco’s Mission District and as an annual exhibition free to the community at the SOMArts Cultural Center. More →
1974Inkworks Press Radical PrintIn 1974, several founders embarked on creating a movement print shop to meet the deep need for community-based media facilities to suppport activism against the Vietnam War, for international solidarity, civil rights, feminism, LGBT rights. More →
1974THE FARMBonnie Sherk & Jack WickertGeopolitics – CommunityA life-scale environmental and social artwork that brought many people from different disciplines, cultures, and species—plants and animals together. The Farm was involved in extensive land transformation that included the integration of disparate land parcels—all adjacent to and incorporating a major freeway interchange into a new city culture-ecology park. FoundSF →
1974The Women’s Press Project / The Women’s Press Radical PrintThe Mission-based nonprofit Women’s Skills Center set up the WPP for vocational skills training in the printing trade. They were collectively run and moved to their own facility on Otis Street in 1980. More →
1975MEDIA BURNAnt FarmPerformance Art – MediaStaged in the Cow Palace parking lot for local television news outlets, Media Burn was an early experiment in viral media. Watch →
1976Bay Area Video Coalition Organization – MediaFounded by a coalition of activist and media makers, BAVC has provided media technology tools and resources to the Bay Area community for the past forty years. More →
1976Bound Together Books Bookstore – AnarchistBound Together Bookstore is an Anarchist collective-run bookstore featuring radical literature and events located in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district. More →
1976San Francisco Bay View Publication – BlackThe San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper was founded in 1976. It is a communications network for the Black community worldwide. The organization publishes a free print edition distributed throughout the Bay Area and mailed to subscribers, including hundreds of prisoners all over the country. Read →
1977Supervisor Harvey MilkDistrict FiveMovement – LGBTQSan Francisco voters elect Harvey Milk to the SF Board of Supervisors, making Milk the first openly gay public official in the state of California and one of the most famous in the United States. Milk was assassinated along with Mayor Moscone less than one year by Supervisor Dan White. Wikipedia →
1977Precita Eyes Muralists AssociationSusan and Luis CervantesOrganization – Public ArtPrecita Eyes Muralists Association and Center, established in 1977, founded by Susan and Luis Cervantes and other artists in San Francisco’s Mission District, is a multipurpose community based arts organization that has played an integral role in the city’s cultural heritage and arts education. More →
1977Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts / Mission Gráfica Organization – Chicano/Latino ArtThe Mission Cultural center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) was originally called the Palmeto Museum. Founded in the 1970s by a group of San Francisco State University students.  FoundSF →
1977 (1907)THE I-HOTEL Protest – Geopolitics – Asian AmericanThe International Hotel (I-Hotel) became the last stand of San Francisco’s Manilatown. The hotel had been a residence of Asian seasonal migrant workers and Filipino Americans and their families since 1907. Beginning in 1968, city officials issued widespread eviction notices to tenants, targeting the building for removal and re-development. By 1977, political resistance to the evictions culminated in a massive public demonstration in 1977. After the removal of the last residents, the building was demolished in 1981. FoundSF →
1977SECTION 504 SIT-IN: The Longest Federal Building Occupation in U.S. HistoryEmergency 504 CoalitionAction – Disability RightsAs part of a coordinated nationwide action, disability rights activists organize the longest federal building occupation in US History at U.S. Department of Health Education Welfare in San Francisco.
1978The Dream of a Common LanguageAdrienne RichPoetryThe first publication for Rich after she came out as a lesbian. The book is divided into three sections: 1) “Power,” 2) “Twenty One Love Poems,” and 3) “Not Somewhere Else, But Here.” SFPL →
1978SOMArts Cultural Center Organization – ArtIn the 1960s, the Neighborhood Arts Program (NAP) was created by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) in order to promote community by providing funding for the arts. Under the direction of Martin Snipper, the city purchased the 17,000 square foot Brannan Street building. More →
1979Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Performance – LGBTQ ActivismA charity, protest, and street performance organization that uses drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance and satirize issues of gender and morality. More →
1979White Night Riots Protest – LGBTQWhen Dan White was received a lenient sentencing for the killing of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, a series of violent uprisings by the gay community took place all over the city. FoundSF →
1980Webworks: Voices of the Native NationMary Jean Robertson – KPOO 89.5Radio – IndigenousOriginally called “Red Voices,” Webworks is a radio program on indigenous issues. It airs on the second, third and fourth Wednesday of each month. Listen →
1983BAY AREA PEACE NAVYMembers of the American Friends Service CommitteePerformance – Anti-war ActivismThe Bay Area Peace Navy used water-based guerrilla theatre and direct action to block arms shipments from the Bay Area’s Port Chicago to Central America. FoundSF →
1983Mama Bears Bookstore Bookstore – WomenMama Bears Women’s Bookstore was one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the country. Based in Berkeley, California, it featured a wide selection of books of interest to women. It closed in 2003. More →
1984Artists’ Television AccessJohn Martin and Marshall WeberOrganization – Art – MediaArtists’ Television Access (ATA) is a San Francisco-based, artist-run, non-profit organization that cultivates and promotes culturally-aware, underground media and experimental art. The organization provides an accessible screening venue and gallery for the presentation of programmed and guest-curated screenings, exhibitions, performances, workshops and events. More →
1984Culture Clash: The Collected Works Performance – ChicanoWriters for Culture Clash included José Antonio Burciaga, Marga Gómez, Monica Palacios, Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza. More →
1985AIDS/ARC VIGILThe longest running act of civil disobedience in San FranciscoAction – Health Care – LGBTQThe vigil began on a small scale when two men, Steven Russell and Frank Bert, chained themselves to the door of the Federal Building at the UN Plaza to protest the government’s inaction in the face of the devastating AIDS virus that infected half the gay male population in San Francisco. A group of supporters gathered and started the 24-hour a day vigil that lasted ten years. FoundSF →
1985ContrabandSara Shelton MannPerformance ArtIn 1979, Mann formed CONTRABAND, a group of collaborative artists dedicated to the evolution of an interdisciplinary dance vision. FoundSF →
1986Brava Theater Center/Brava! For Women in the Arts Organization – PerformanceIn 1986, Ellen Gavin and group of 75 women artists, met at Galería de la Raza in San Francisco’s Mission District with the intention of bringing attention to the unspoken realities of women’s lives through theater. These artists expressed their creative passion by producing a black lesbian event at the African American Art & Culture Complex in the Western Addition District, followed by a women’s writing showcase at the Victoria Theater. In the midst of these two projects, Brava! For Women in the Arts was founded. More →
1987ACT UP Movement – LGBTQ
1989African American Art and Culture Complex Organization – ArtIn July 1989, Supervisor Willie B. Kennedy forwarded a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that urged the Mayor and County of San Francisco to consider the sale or long-term lease of the Western Addition Cultural Center to better reflect the needs of the community in terms of programming, management and operations. The resolution passed unanimously and the Center for African and African American Art and Culture was founded. The organization was later renamed to African American Art and Culture Complex. More →
1989Asian American Women Artists AssociationBetty Kano, Flo Oy Wong, and Moira RothOrganization – ArtAsian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) was founded in 1989 in San Francisco by Betty Kano, Flo Oy Wong, and Moira Roth to promote the visibility of Asian American women artists and to serve as a vehicle for personal expression with a view of Asian American cultures and history from women’s perspective. More →
1989Hunters Point: Toxic Superfund SiteUS Navy & EPAGeopolitics – Race – EnvironmentContaminated by toxins, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was added to the list of Federal Superfund Sites in 1989. The shipyard, located in the historically black Bayview District, was also the location of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) from 1948 to 1969 which conducted radiological decontamination of ships exposed to atomic weapons testing as well as research and experiments on radiation on living organisms, and the effects of radiation on materials. More →
1990“Border Brujo” for Borderwatch: Five Years LaterGuillermo Gómez-PeñaPerformance ArtSitting at an altar decorated with a kitsch collection of cultural fetish items, and wearing a border patrolman’s jacket decorated with buttons, bananas, beads, and shells, Gómez-Peña delivers a sly and bitter indictment of U.S. colonial attitudes toward Mexican culture and history.
1990Electronic Frontier Foundation Organization – Media – Civil RightsThe Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. More →
1992Clarion Alley Mural Project Public ArtThe project was founded by Aaron Noble, Michael O’Connor, Sebastiana Pastor, Rigo 92, Mary Gail Snyder, and Aracely Soriano. Wikipedia →
1989TONGUES UNTIEDMarlon RiggsExperimental Documentary – Black Sexuality
1997Dot Com Bubble Geopolitics – TechnologyThe “dot-com bubble” (also referred to as the dot-com boom, the Internet bubble, the dot-com collapse, and the information technology bubble) was a historic speculative bubble covering roughly 1997–2000. FoundSF →
1999Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition Geopolitics – RaceThe Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition (MAC) formed in order to fight displacement brought upon the neighborhood by the tech start-ups and evictions of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. MAC learned the importance of zoning and local government’s land use powers as a potential terrain of engagement in seeking to determine the course of neighborhood redevelopment. FoundSF →
1994Sister Spit Poetry – Performance – QueerSister Spit is a lesbian-feminist spoken-word and performance art collective based in San Francisco, signed to Mr. Lady Records. They formed in 1994 and disbanded in 2006. Founding members included Michelle Tea, Sini Anderson, Jane LeCroy, and poet Eileen Myles. Wikipedia →
1994Loco Bloco Music – Activism – Education
Loco Bloco’s mission is to promote San Francisco youth’s healthy transition into adulthood by engaging them in the creation and performance of music, dance, and theater rooted in Afro-Latino traditions.
1995Mail Order Brides/M.O.B.Immaculata, Neneng, and BabyPerformance Art – Media
For over 15 years, Reanne “Immaculata” Estrada, Eliza “Neneng” Barrios, and Jenifer “Baby” Wofford have worked collaboratively as Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., a trio of Filipina-American artists engaged in an ongoing conversation with culture and gender.
1996The Beat WithinIncarcerated YouthPublication – Social Justice – EducationA literary project and publication for the writing and art of incarcerated youth. More →
1997Critical Resistance Organization – Prison AbolitionCritical Resistance was formed in 1997 when activists challenging the idea that imprisonment and policing are a solution for social, political, and economic problems came together to organize a conference that examined and challenged what we have come to call the prison industrial complex (PIC). More →
1997Ice Car CageJules Beckman, Jess Curtis, Keith HennessyPerformance Art
1971Japantown Art and Media Center Organization – MediaMandated by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Nihonmachi Master Plan, in 1971 construction of a community center in Japantown was approved at community meetings. Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) was selected as the name of the future facility. FoundSF →
2000Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project Organization – MediaQueer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) began in 2000 with funding from California Arts Council for award-winning San Francisco filmmaker Madeleine Lim to conduct a series of free workshops serving queer women of color emerging media artists. More →
2000Femina PotensMadison YoungOrganization – ArtFemina Potens is a non-profit arts organization celebrating difference and exploring identity through cultural and eduational experiences that serve to enrich the lives of LGBTA and allied communities. Since 2000, we have presented ground-breaking performances and exhibitions that create space necessary for dialogue and chage in marginalized communities. More →
2002Design Action Collective Radical Design – CollectiveWorker-owned and managed collective union print shop that was a spin off from Inkworks Press. More →
2003Dignidad RebeldeJesus Barraza and Melanie CervantesRadical PrintA graphic arts collaboration that follows principles of Xicanisma and Zapatismo. More →
2005Fifth Stream Music / Asian American Jazz Orchestra (AAJO)Dr. Anthony BrownMusic – Activism – Education
In 1997, leaders of San Francisco’s Asian American creative music movement founded the Asian American Jazz Orchestra (AAJO), under the auspices of a San Francisco-based, federally funded multimedia consortium project to provide provide education nationally about the Japanese internment experiences of World War II.
2007The Great Tortilla ConspiracyRené Yañez, Jos Sances, Rio Yañez, and Art HazelwoodPerformance – ActivismThe world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. More →
2007Tech Boom 2.0 Geopolitics -TechnologyApple’s launch of the first iPhone combined with the rapid growth of services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to lay the ground for the Bay Area’s second technology-based economic boom. By 2013, unprecedented rises in the cost of living and aggressive housing speculation cause widespread displacement that continues today. Wikipedia →
2009Citizen FourLaura PoitrasDocumentary Film – Civil Rights
Bay Area technologist and activist Micah Lee provided the technical support to help soon-to-be NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden get in touch with film maker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald. More →
2009DON’T CAP! CLEAN!Hunters Point Naval Shipyard ProtestProtest – Environmental RacismOver one hundred Bayview residents and environmental justice advocates protest Lennar Corporations dangerous and mismanaged efforts to remove toxins from the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. SFPP →
2011OCCUPY Movement – Economic JusticeThe Occupy movement was the national and the international expression of the Occupy Wall Street movement that protested against social and economic inequality around the world. The movement’s prime concerns dealt with how large corporations (and the global financial system) control the world in a way that disproportionately benefits a minority, undermines democracy, and is unstable. Wikipedia →
2012Liberating Ourselves Locally/L.O.L. Organization – TechnologyA people-of-color-led, gender-diverse, queer and trans inclusive hacker and maker space founded in Oakland, California. More →
2013#BLACK LIVES MATTERPatrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal TometiMovement – BlackBlack Lives Matter (BLM) began with the online hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, and grew into a national and international organizing project that is an affirmation and embrace of the resistance and resilience of Black people. BLM organizes protests around the killing of black people by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. More →
2013Google Bus ProtestsHeart of the CityAction – Performance – GeopoliticsOn December 9, 2013, a group of artists, activists, and community members staged a theatrical intervention, blocking the departure of a Google commuter shuttle from a City-owned Muni bus stop at the corner of 22nd Street and Valencia. The group symbolically issued a one billion dollar citation for illegal use of city infrastructure. This was the most widely reported of several commuter shuttle actions organized by Heart of the City. More →
2013Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Geopolitics – Media ActivismA data collection and visualization storytelling collective. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has provided vital information for combating widespread eviction and housing displacement in San Francisco. More →
2014The Dance that Documents ItselfJess Curtis/GravityPerformance ArtDigital media, documentation, and real-time performance/audience experience create an exploration of the impact of the digital world on our artistic practices and a critical engagement with the impact of tech on the art & culture of San Francisco. More →
2014SHUT IT DOWN: West Oakland BARTBlack Lives MatterAction – Social Justice
For 4.5 hours at West Oakland BART Station, fourteen BLACK LIVES MATTER activists stopped all trains by chaining themselves between two trains.
2016SHUT IT DOWN: The Bay BridgeBlack.SeedAction – Social JusticeOn Dr. Martin Luther King Day 2016, twenty-five black queer liberation activists peacefully shut down westbound traffic on the Bay Bridge for thirty minutes by shackling themselves to the bridge and vehicles. More →