somewhere in advance of nowhere* is a multi-faceted year long project that includes 18 publicly installed paintings, a gallery exhibition at Intersection for the Arts and a series of creative workshops and events. The project, stems from the creation of 18 paintings of poets, ages 15-20 who work with the literary education organization Youth Speaks. In September of 2007 I interviewed each poet about the importance and impact of writing in their lives and from those interviews we chose a quote that would be represented with their portrait. The portraits were painted in acrylic and oil pastel on non woven media from photos of each poet performing a poem, also chosen together. Each poet then recorded a poem of their choosing that was accessible by calling a cell phone number and extension displayed with each portrait. The portraits were installed in sites through out San Francisco, chosen by the poets as relevant to their lives.
This project was made possible through the Cultural Equity Grants program at the San Francisco Arts Commission and the generous help of individual donors.
*The title, “somewhere in advance of nowhere” is from the Jayne Cortez book of poems of the same title, and was originally found in “Freedom Dreams”, by Robin D.G. Kelley.
One of 18 portraits of youth poets who work with Youth Speaks. Each poet was interviewed and then chose a quote that highlighted their relationship to writing and creativity.
When installed, each portrait had a phone number that could be called to hear the poet perform a poem of their choosing.
Portraits were installed in public locations throughout San Francisco. Here, the poet chose a location where Youth Speaks hosted open mic nights.
Portrait installations at 16th BART station in San Francisco.
Installation in West Portal, San Francisco.
The gallery installation highlighted the project as well as arts providers in San Francisco. The map included all of the portraits and many of the free and low-cost art programs in the city.
Installation view of the exhibit at Intersection for the Arts, with pieces created during a free workshop series and an original mural created for the space.
During the exhibit, we hosted a series of free workshops. Here, participants working on their printing technique in a workshop led by Favianna Rodriguez.