Text message art to highlight SF housing issues


Beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, text messages will be projected onto the side of the Renoir Hotel at Seventh and Market streets. The messages will all begin with "I wish San Francisco ..."

While the texts are projected on the wall, panelists will discuss housing issues and policy at A Temporary Offering, pop-up space at Seventh and Market streets, where there will be live music and food.

Members of the public can text in messages to appear on the wall. Text messages should be sent to (408) 707-5621 between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

While the event is focused on affordable housing, the text messages can be about whatever residents desire for the city.

The event, meant to raise awareness about affordable housing issues in San Francisco, is the brainchild of artists Anthony Williams and Dan Bouthot, who are calling it "Text-A-City: Start Ups for Sustainable Communities."

Proceeds from the event will go to the Council of Community Housing Organizations, which is comprised of some 20 community-based nonprofit housing groups, CCHO co-director Peter Cohen said.

"It's a really exciting way to share people's desires in a very public way," event organizer Williams said.

The messages will be artfully projected onto the wall by artist Paul Notzold, Williams said.

"The idea was to project people's thinking literally into a public space," Cohen said.

Williams said the event came about in part because housing is something he is concerned about as some of his friends are priced out of the city.

"I'm worried about how the community's fabric of San Francisco is changing, and wanting to do more than just voice concerns about it," he said. "I want to get people really thinking of what type of community they want to live in."

Cohen said he will lead a discussion on mixed-income housing Friday. He said the concept of housing developments for a mix of income groups is "more reflective of the kinds of neighborhoods we have in San Francisco."

Other conversations on Friday night will focus on topics including urban sustainability and collective entrepreneurship, Williams said.

"The economic influence of big tech companies is welcome, but how do we get to participate with that wealth that is flowing into the city?" Williams said.

Speakers at the event will include Tracy Parent, director of the San Francisco Community Land Trust, and Betsy Morris from Planning for Sustainable Communities.

The discussions will be moderated by Kevin O'Malley from the Commonwealth Club.

"It looks to be a fun and stimulating evening," Williams said.

Those wanting to RSVP for the benefit can visit http://text-a-city.eventbrite.com/#. Donations of between $5 and $15 are suggested.

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