Posted by Tyra Fennell in Arts & Economic Development, Blog, Kommunity Kiki, Tyra's World on March 19, 2015
Neighborhoods in San Francisco with volumes of foot traffic, vibrant corridors and robust tourism usually have clearly pronounced identities such as the Castro, the Mission, North Beach and Chinatown. They also have an array of activities and destinations for customers and residents. This is vital to the success of a neighborhood because identity is what gives people a reason to visit, live and invest time and patronage in these areas. The question I have been asking myself since I began producing arts events in the Bayview Hunter’s Point is what exactly is this neighborhood’s identity? If the Internet is an indicator, Bayview’s main identity is crime, which is not exactly going to encourage foot traffic or build community goodwill. I would argue that even though Bayview Hunter’s Point has its challenges, the media by in large focuses on the negative activities in the neighborhood which does not help but also doesn’t tell the complete, complex story that includes an immense amount of spirit, talent and beauty.
I remember living in New York in the early 90’s and seeing how giving a clear identity to the notorious Meat Packing District on the lower west side, changed the landscape of that neighborhood. The Meat Packing District is now one of the hippest places to be in New York and they owe it by in large to the city’s artist community. Over the years, the Bayview Hunter’s Point has been attracting a cohort of artists and arts initiatives including the popular Hunter’s Point Shipyard’s bi-annual Open Studios produced by ArtSPAN. This neighborhood also has a robust artist colony, currently being renovated by Lennar Urban and the Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT), a nonprofit social enterprise that educates, empowers and employs young people in the digital media arts. Zaccho Dance, Infinity Production’s Theater Arts Company and of course an event near and dear to my heart, 3rd on Third, which occurs the third Friday of every month in the Bayview Town Center all make Bayview primed and ready to be the next premier visual arts district in San Francisco.
Imprint.City is an organization I launched along with business owner Andrew Casteel and artist Shawn Bullen, seeking to activate industrial, underutilized spaces with high caliber, beautification and community development projects, encouraging increased foot traffic and economic vitality. One of the organization’s first projects is #ArtupSF, an annual arts festival highlighting the beauty of urban art, DJ culture while also shining a light on businesses in the industrial Jennings Street area of Bayview.
In February 2015, Imprint.City began a series of soft launch events with the first two hosted by the owner of All Good Pizza, Kristin Trahan in the Bayview both reaching venue capacity. Laughing Monk Brewing, owned by Imprint.City partner Andrew Casteel and Aaron Hicks, poured pints of their AmWit IPA and Chamomile Saison.
On February 21st Imprint.City threw its third party in the vicinity of the emerging #Artupsf Arts Festival (Jennings Street between Carroll and Egbert Streets) at a warehouse and though only 50 attendees were expected, over150 made their way to this dark, underutilized area at night. We are certain the successes of these smaller events are a positive sign on things to come.
To support our venture, please use our #artupsf hastag and stay clued in on our growing movement by liking our Facebook page. This is going to be fun!