(By Mildred Howard) Five emerging artists address questions of human and avian displacement by urban development in the two-part show titled Shelters opening April 17, 2008 at the Luggage Stores annex in Cohen Alley. The dualities of wealth and poverty along with those of natural beauty and animal habitat devastation in the Bay Area define our experience and make ever present the need to address the social, political, and environmental needs that arise from such vastly different experiences.
Mildred Howard, the organizer and curator of "Shelters", has called upon artists Kate Torgersen, Cameron Hockenson, Mario Trejo, Mandi Mutchler, and Laura Boles Faw to work with ideas concerning homelessness and the extinction of native bird species within San Francisco. Howard questions whether we have once again become oblivious to this problem of homelessness and the effects of urban development on the ecosystem of our city. By asking five emerging artists to address the interconnectedness of these issues of shelter or lack thereof, Howard reiterates the importance of the artists role in working for social justice, diversity, and political change.
Shelters, Part I, the birdhouse project, will be installed from April 17 to April 24 in the Luggage Stores annex in Cohen Alley located in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. This urban alley satisfies the need of green space within the city. By addressing both this setting and the plight of various bird species within the city, these five artists point to the necessity of understanding the implications of our actions on the environment and other living beings.
Shelters, Part II will consist of conceptual drawings and maquettes informed by the resourcefulness of the homeless population currently living in San Francisco. This exhibition will take place from June 9 through June 17, 2008 at the Luggage Stores Annex located at 509 Ellis Street near Leavenworth. Questions of diversity, mobility, refuge, feasibility, protection, and ultimately humanity find form in the maquettes stemming from this project. Mildred Howard has bestowed the necessity of dialogue and new ideas on this younger generation of artists. It is through art and ideas that we fight complacency and can keep these issues of homelessness and environmental concerns in the forefront of our consciousness.
This project is funded in part from Southern Exposures Alternative Exposure Grant and in collaboration with and support from The Luggage Store.
"In today's climate in our country, which is sickened with the pollution of pollution, threatened with the prominence of AIDS, riddled with burgeoning racism, rife with growing huddles of the homeless, we need art and we need art in all forms. We need all methods of art to be present, everywhere present, and all the time present." -- Maya Angelou