ArtSeed at the Jellyfish Gallery

  • by
GRAFFITI, BIG-TIME!

Elaborate graffiti covered the walls of the derelict Public Health Service Hospital in the Presidio before it was renovated to become The Presidio Landmark Apartments. In 2008, a group of youngsters, under the guidance of Presidio-based ArtSeed, documented these walls and works. The resulting photographs are featured in this colorful exhibition.

Jellyfish Gallery
1286 Folsom Street @ Ninth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Opening reception
Friday, September 10, 2010
6-9 p. m.

Open Saturday September 18 & 25, 1-5 p. m. and by special appointment
Further information at www.artseed.org
ArtSeed contact: e-mail: info@artseed.org & Phone: (415) 409-1761

For almost two decades before its renovation and 2010 opening as rental apartments, the derelict Public Health Service Hospital in San Francisco’s Presidio acted as an immense canvas for graffiti artists of all stripes. Its walls, both inside and out, were adorned with images and texts made surreptitiously, mostly by young people who sneaked into the unprotected building. From abandoned and cluttered patients’ rooms, to kitchens, hallways, exterior walls and even the morgue, lively pictures and words —sometimes scary, oftentimes touching, skillfully rendered or funky but always colorful and provocative — were everywhere to be seen.

The pristine walls of the now-transformed building just inside the Presidio’s Fifteenth Avenue gate are now free of the hundreds of graffiti made over many years. Nonetheless, these works live on thanks to documentary photographs made in 2008 by youngsters, most likely the same ages as the graffiti artists themselves. Administered by Presidio-based ArtSeed, a grant from CHALK (Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids) made the project possible. Erin Wallace, student leader of the undertaking, wrote the CHALK request and helped oversee the entire operation. Hundreds of digital photographs were made in the building by about ten students under the guidance of an equal number of adult artists. The Jellyfish Gallery exhibition brings together for the first time a selection of these documentary photographs.

ArtSeed, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2010, is a San Francisco-based, non-profit, arts-education organization. Its programs include classes at the Burnett Child Development Center in Bayview Hunters Point and Sherman Elementary School in Cow Hollow, a week-long Summer Arts Intensive, one-on-one apprenticeships joining aspiring and professional artists, and other exhibition and hands-on endeavors.