Sites Unseen is programming eight alleyways in downtown San Francisco with public art that celebrates the city's cultural landscape and transforms underused public spaces into destinations for sustained collaborative discourse, innovation, and discovery. The alleys provide a platform for local and national artists at all career stages to showcase their work through permanent installations and temporary events. Most recently, we installed a large-scale mural by renowned San Francisco artist Barry McGee on a public parking garage adjacent to two alleys.
We invite YOU to join us in presenting our next group of exciting projects in the alleyways!
About the Public Art Commissions
• LA-based collective Fallen Fruit encourages their audiences to collectively re-imagine the function of public participation and urban space. They will bring Rainbow Jam, Public Fruit Jam and Fruit Meditation to the alleys in the coming months in partnership with United Playaz, a local youth organization.
• Ramekon O’Arwisters' social-art practice is steeped in the African-American tradition of weaving in a calm and non-judgmental environment, without rules or limitations. Crochet Jam invites members of the public to create collaborative artworks that will be turned into a permanent mosaic installation by Clare Rojas in one of the alleys.
• Leah Rosenberg's work explores how color, form, flavor and arrangements affect human emotion through interactive installations and participatory food-based activations. She will create a colorful and lighted public seating area in one of the alleys along with a series of site-specific culinary events.
• Jenny Odell's work explores the ecology of images created by networks. She will present a research-based installation of bronze plaques that highlight the hyper-local histories of the alleys, with an interactive online tour component.
Why is this project important?
San Francisco is a city in a state of rapid change. The current development boom means less open space, and the increasing cost of living means that many artists and other cultural producers are no longer able to remain here. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to activating underused urban spaces through art and to providing a platform for artists at all career stages to show a variety of work in the public realm, Sites Unseen aims to support our local arts ecosystem in diverse ways. We commission site-specific work in order to transform public spaces and help support artists at a time when they need it most. We also recognize that there are often financial, physical, and psychological barriers to engaging with art and culture in the city and believe that groundbreaking artistic projects should be present in the public realm, thereby enabling various modes of access to diverse communities.
Community. We believe that exposure to art enriches everyone’s lives. Through a series of roundtable events, we’ve heard from local residents, business owners, and visitors alike that they want more art in the public spaces of Yerba Buena. With your support, we can transform the alleys into places where people will have the opportunity to engage with artwork that is of high aesthetic quality, is accessible both physically and conceptually, establishes place or familiarity, and leverages identity and civic pride. Most importantly, Sites Unseen’s temporary programming will enable members of the public to engage with each other in new and surprising ways.
About Sites Unseen
Sites Unseen is working with both local and international artists to bring regular programming to eight alleyways in downtown San Francisco in the form of large-scale permanent installations and participatory activations that invite members of the public to interact with their neighborhood, with artists, and with each other. Sites Unseen brings art outside the walls of institutions and commercial galleries and into the public realm, providing more expansive cultural access and fostering social interaction.
What will your contribution support?
Primarily artist fees and production expenses for Phase One participatory projects, including Leah Rosenberg's installation and ongoing activations; eight more Crochet Jams; Fallen Fruit's final two activations; and Jenny Odell's alternative history plaques. Sites Unseen is a privately-funded endeavor, and we rely on foundation grants and the generosity of individual donors to create our programming. We are committed to supporting our local artists by providing them with both platforms to showcase their work and a living wage that will hopefully enable them to remain working in the Bay Area.
About the Neighborhood
The Yerba Buena neighborhood is a central and important part of San Francisco. For many visitors, the area shapes their first impression of the city, as hundreds of thousands of people come to attend conventions at Moscone Center and stay in hotels in the area. Yerba Buena is one of the main cultural hubs of San Francisco, home to institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and more. The area is also home to a diverse mix of residents, including a large and active Filipino-American population.
Risks and challenges
Temporary activations are an essential part of Sites Unseen’s mission, but are often very difficult to fundraise around because of their ephemeral nature. We need your support in order to create dynamic sustained programming that will keep these alleys vibrant and will bring the public together on a regular basis to create a sense of place and community pride.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)