Exhibit brings hope to SF's Tenderloin

October 16, 2009 7:02:21 PM PDT
San Francisco's Tenderloin District is getting some artistic additions that are meant to offer hope and change for the people who live there. "Wonderland" is a month-long art exhibit that begins this weekend at 14 sites.

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An exhibition in the Tenderloin called "Wonderland" is about a challenge of place.

"They might discover something new. The show is also not just about art. It's about discovering yourself in an area and also a new neighborhood," said curator Lance Fung.

He gathered together 53 artists who have volunteered to work with hundreds of people from community groups in the Tenderloin to create these public pieces.

"When you walk though this neighborhood, you just get scared, you know," said Mitsu Overstreet.

Overstreet is part of the team that created the mural fear head -- fear in many forms. It's not just about crime, helplessness, despair here.

These artists are about to install what is called "Offstage." It will join two already mounted on the roof of the Warfield Theatre. It's about the Tenderloin as the Theatre District and it will move.

"The idea is it's this human performance of sorts. Then sort of internal performance," said artist Christophe Piallat.

The sculpture "Home Away From Home" a traveling house based on drawings by children who live here.

"We thought the best way to work with the community was to work with the community, and actually let the community be as much a part of the design process as we were," said artist John K. Melvin.

Wonderland is meant to be a reflection of the Tenderloin, but also involving the community. They have input and it is meant to give residents a sense of community, ownership and pride.

"There's more of a mission and passion because it's not about money or market, branding. It's not about an artist selling something. It's about giving back," said Lung.

The projects will be on display through November 15th.

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