Blog

Monthly Archives: 09/2013

Elvin Padilla: Stratification

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Elvin Padilla, Director of the 950 Center for Art & Education.  It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses.

ruminations on the question of what preoccupies me

how to bring art groups together with affordable housing groups together with social service groups together with youth groups together with parks groups together with community health groups and now, most recently tech companies, preoccupies me.  the Tenderloin loses the struggle for equitable development because we are fragmented and undermine each other.

advocacy for the arts preoccupies me.  How does the following and Cy Musiker’s piece read: agitating?  advocating?  appeasing?  matter of fact?  demonizing tech?

KQED’s Cy Musiker aired a piece last week critical to the city’s future: San Francisco Artistic Community Wants a Piece of Mid-Market. There’s good news!  Supervisor Jane Kim, a big art and education advocate, is working on a special-use district to incentivize mid-Market developers to build permanently affordable space for art and education.  Effective incentives could tip the scale at several mid-Market sites.

At present, outstanding education groups interested in locating @ the 950 Center for Art & Education – Youth Speaks, Blue Bear Music, All Stars Project and Women’s Audio Mission – would owe the city nearly a million dollars in “impact” fees in order to revitalize three devastated blocks of blighted buildings, build the Center and bring their programming to at-risk Tenderloin youth.  Clearly this does not make sense, particularly with the backdrop of a wealthy city – one that’s not assisting with funding the Center’s development – reaping huge revenues from a surging tech-driven economy and booming real estate market.

Technically, of course, it is the groups’ funders that would owe the city for the “impact” of revitalizing three devastated blocks. Wouldn’t it be better if we could instead direct these resources to endow a 950 Scholarship Fund for low-income Tenderloin residents?  Or endow an operating reserve to help our small non-profit groups get stabilized over the first few years?

From Cy Musiker’s report: A few officials are listening, though. Supervisor Jane Kim represents Mid-Market, and she’s working on a measure to create an arts special-use district that would reduce developer fees on space reserved for nonprofits arts. It’s the kind of break that could help a Mid-Market arts company like Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, which rehearses in a building without heat or hot water.

Many hope this effort from a determined art & education-friendly supervisor, combined with the hoped-for leadership from our mayor, will give the Tenderloin a fighting chance for a measure of still-elusive equitable development (or at least heat and hot water!) in the face of the historic tech and real estate booms.

I was accused of painting an us vs. them picture that’s hostile to tech in my KQED interview.  i don’t get that.   in fact, all of my writing and work at nomnic.org and tenderlion.org has been striving toward an us and them understanding, achievable largely through the arts.  there’s so much anxiety, anger and resentment out there and it’s growing.   as i see it, projects like 950 are tech’s and city hall’s best friend against this backlash.

Assignment: Think of how to effectively communicate the need for the arts to bridge our increasingly polarized worlds.

failing the neighborhood preoccupies me.  failing the art groups preoccupies me: Will building a new debt-free state-of-the-art facility in the most ideal of visible and accessible locations be enough to position them for successful operations ongoing into the future?

social justice practice vs. preaching preoccupies me: will funders show up to endow a scholarship fund for at-risk tenderloin residents who want to study art?  or will they do so only if it satisfies some ideological construct far removed from the realities of the Tenderloin streets.

the increasing polarization and stratification of our neighborhood preoccupies me.   the housing is protected, the art spaces are largely not.  we cannot live by rooms, meds and meals alone.  poverty is more than a simple question of income.


Margaret Crawford: Creative Class

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

This piece was originally posted on the Arts Research Center blog, Muses. In 2002 economist Richard Florida published the Rise of the Creative Class. In it he argued that the best way for cities to revive their ailing urban economies was to remake themselves in order to attract a social category he called “the creative class.”  At the core of this group were innovative and creative workers whose importance in the new knowledge-based economy could produce new companies, attract jobs and residents, and expand consumption. These benefits would then trickle down to re-ignite local economies, based on the “rising tide…


Louise Pubols: Layered Landscapes

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Louise Pubols, Senior Curator of History at the Oakland Museum of California. It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. How will the baylands be used?  And who will use them? These two questions lie at the heart of the environmental history of the San Francisco Bay, and current debates over its uncertain future.  A richly productive estuary, San Francisco is also densely urban. Its landscape…


Shannon Jackson: Public

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Shannon Jackson, Director of the Arts Research Center.  It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. In cross-disciplinary gatherings at ARC, we have found it worth going over territory that we all think we know, to review the staples, the bread and butter of our fields, in order to expose blindspots and to jostle ourselves into new perspectives on the heretofore obvious. But should I really…


Teresa Caldeira: Street Art

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Teresa Caldeira, Professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.  It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. “Street art” is the umbrella expression to refer to several forms of intervention that use the streets as their domain.  It covers not only visual productions such as graffiti and tagging, but also performances like skateboarding, parkour, and break dance.  The literature on street art is…


Margaret Crawford: Everyday Urbanism

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley.  It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. In the early 1990s, I started working with scholars, urban designers, photographers, and writers on a project exploring everyday urban life in Los Angeles.  In 1999, we published Everyday Urbanism as a guide to investigating the “as-found” character of the city. We identified everyday urban space as a rich…


Linda Haverty Rugg: Environmental Humanities

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Linda Haverty Rugg, Chair of the Scandinavian Department at UC Berkeley. It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. (Cribbed from the co-authored Background Report, The Emergence of the Environmental Humanities, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research/MISTRA, Stockholm, 2013, co-authors David Nye (Chair), Robert Emmett, James Fleming, and Linda Haverty Rugg) During the last decade a new field has emerged that increasingly is referred to as the…


Ava Roy: Temporality

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Ava Roy, Founding Artistic Director of We Players. It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. In my experience, one of the most unique and profound joys of working site-specifically is developing an intimate relationship with the elemental forces of the environment. While striving to build a coherent world and intricate structure (and to clearly tell the story of the play), within the sweeping scale of…


Rebecca Novick: Site-specific

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Rebecca Novick, Director of the Triangle Lab.  It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. That’s Not My BART Stop: One of the Triangle Lab projects we’re producing right now is called Love Balm for My Spirit Child.  It’s a series of performances sharing testimony from mothers who have lost children to violence.  We’re calling this series “site-specific” because they’re performed on the spots where each…


Irene Chien: Urban for Black

Posted on by Alex Craghead
Filed under: Reimagining the Urban,

Reimagining the Urban participants have been asked to submit a blog post “on a keyword you see debated in the Bay Area arts, policy, and planning landscape.” This posting is by Irene Chien, PhD candidate in the Department of Film & Media and the Berkeley Center for New Media at UC Berkeley. It was originally posted in the Arts Research Center of UC Berkeley blog ARC Muses. In mainstream US media, “urban” is a pervasive euphemism for black, a way to register but not directly point at African-American culture within the post-racial political paradigm of colorblindness. “Urban music,” “urban fiction,” “urban comedy,” and “urban…