As cities grow more crowded, built environments are increasingly a dear commodity for all of us. For artists, their careers are also at stake in the never ending quest for space. On January 25, at San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), Creative Capital will lead a conversation between artists who are addressing community, gentrification, and displacement through their art practice. These artists—Sharon Bridgforth, Ben Beres (from SuttonBeresCuller), Liz Glynn and Maria del Carmen Montoya (from Ghana ThinkTank)—are using architecture, community organizing and real estate to creatively push how we think about the built environment. The panel discussion, moderated by Moy Eng, Executive Director of Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), is the second in our series of discussions called Creative Conversations, and is co-presented with SFAI.
We will livestream the conversation (RSVP here) from 7-9pm PST on Wednesday, January 25, and take questions from Twitter. Use the hashtag #CreativeConvos, #GutRehab or our handle @creativecap to follow along. In the meantime, read on to learn more about the presenting artists.
Based in the East Bay, Sharon Bridgforth has made it her mission to create and leave space in neighborhoods where space is being taken away. Through her Creative Capital project dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/Home, she has acquired a home, which will act as a temporary performing arts center that will host installations, oracle card readings, concerts, house parties and other events. At the end of the project, Sharon will gift the home to an emerging artist in the area.
Maria del Carmen Montoya is part of the collaborative Ghana ThinkTank, which cheekily claims to “develop the first world” by collective “first” world problems and outsourcing solutions to the “developing” world. Most recently, they invited a group of Moroccans to address American social isolation. The think tank decided that it was neighborhood urban planning that led to stunted growth of communities. With that in mind, Ghana ThinkTank has begun partnering with Detroit organizations to bring the Islamic Riad building style in the form of an affordable land trust that resists real estate speculation. Their Creative Capital project, American Riad, has already begun construction.
Ben Beres is one of three members that make up SuttonBeresCuller, a collective of artists who experiment with the architectural realm. For their Creative Capital project, Mini Mart City Park, they have purchased an abandoned gas station in Seattle to repurpose it into a community-focused center with a convenient store aesthetic.
Liz Glynn specializes in large-scalle installations. In a 2010 work entitled III, she repurposed shipping palettes to create a sort of ziggurat overlooking East LA. Her Creative Capital project, Gol[den], takes the concept even further as she will build a site between Los Angeles and Las Vegas that is experiencing growing income equality. With Nero’s Golden House in mind, she will create a space for durational performances that will mine the relationship between power and pleasure.