Art Works Blog

San Francisco Slideshow

April 1, 2010
Washington, DC

Rocco with (l-r): Judy Nemzoff, Community Arts and Education Director, San Francisco Arts Commission; Frances Phillips, Program Director, Arts, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund; James E. Canales, President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation

The San Francisco Community Music Center hosted a discussion---Working Together for Arts Education---which was a chance for Rocco to meet with some of the arts, community, and civic leaders in San Francisco who are dedicated to providing more students with more arts education more often. The ideas Rocco picked up at this session and similar sessions in LA and Oakland will come in handy when Rocco joins Arne Duncan (US Secretary of Education) at the Arts Education Partnership on April 9 in Washington, DC.

Rocco with Josette Melchor, Executive Director, Grey Area Foundation, for the Arts and Darryl Smith, co-Founder, Luggage Store Gallery

Hosted by SPUR (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Assocation),  "San Francisco's Urban Revitalization: Past, Present, and Future" brought arts leaders, developers, academics, and urban planners together to look at the Yerba Buena District and the mid-Market District as two examples of arts-branded urban revitalization. Both Grey Area and the Luggage Store are visual arts spaces that relocated to the mid-Market District and discovered a combination of opportunties and challenges. Among topics under discussion was the existing models for the creation and support of affordable working space for artists.

Rocco with Dowoti Désir, a Haitian priest and scholar, who is installing an altar to accompany ?African Continuum: Sacred Ceremonies and Rituals? at the Museum of the African Diaspora.

During a walking tour of the Yerba Buena Cultural District, Rocco stopped by the Museum of the African Diaspora, which was installing African Continuum: Sacred Ceremonies and Rituals. On view through August 28, the exhibition features 39 photographs by Bay area photojournalist Bryan Wiley that feature the ritual practices of African descendants in Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, South Carolina, and New Orleans.

Rocco with Neil Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, and representatives from the Irvine Foundation

Rocco visited the roof of SFMoMA to see the sculpture garden, including the Mario Merz piece pictured here. Allegedly the rooftop cafe serves the best coffee in San Francisco, but it was closed that day. Rocco took Neil's word for it.

Rocco with Roselyne C. Swig at the Contemporary Jewish Museum "Jews on Vinyl" exhibition.

In the words of the exhibition text: "What started out as a mutual affinity for kitschy Jewish album covers---think Neil Diamond baring his chest hair on the cover of Hot August Night or Barbra Streisand in hot pants on the cover of Streisand Superman---soon became a quest for identity, history, and culture between the grooves of LPs. Together, guest curators Roger Bennett and Josh Kun scoured the world to collect thousands of vinyl LPs . . . [T]hese scratched, once-loved, and now-forgotten audio gems tell a vibrant tale: the story of Jews in America." P.S. Rocco may have been listening to a Johnny Mathis LP.

Rocco with Muriel Johnson, Director, California Arts Council

Rocco attended a reception with California Arts Council Director Muriel Johnson and other arts and community leaders at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Mission Street. Talking about the role of arts in job creation, Rocco remarked, "They do that directly by employing arts workers, of course. And they have a multiplier effect: I think of the dry cleaner next to the Metropolitan Opera. Or the parking lot attendant next to the Peoria Symphony. Or the bar owner next to a theater. . . well, next to a theater just about anywhere. . . "

All photos by Ellen Shershow

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