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Haight-Ashbury Artist-in-Residence Retreat

Jason Blackwell from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts shares insights on Artist-in-Residence programs during the SF Heritage Retreat on April 1, 2022. ©San Francisco Heritage/Karalyn Monteil

On April 1, 2022, San Francisco Heritage organized a one-day retreat with representatives of Bay-Area Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programs and cultural institutions, past artists from the SF Heritage pilot AIR program, SF Heritage board members and staff in order to develop a more formalized AIR program for SF Heritage.

SF Heritage’s launched its AIR program during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 in the Doolan-Larson Building on the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, designated San Francisco Landmark No. 253, and recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as its 100th National Treasure. Pop-up residencies have also been organized in one of the Doolan-Larson Building storefronts at 1506 Haight Street.

“We recently adopted a mission statement for our AIR program that ‘invites artists and activists to take inspiration from our mission—to preserve and enhance San Francisco’s unique architectural and cultural identity—during a residency at Haight and Ashbury with its echoes of the Counterculture’,” said Karalyn Monteil, President & CEO of San Francisco Heritage. “We are particularly interested in seeing how our new AIR program can help further our DEAI commitment and contribute to the creative economy in San Francisco,” she added.

“We are particularly interested in seeing how our new AIR program can help further our DEAI commitment and contribute to the creative economy in San Francisco.”

– Karalyn Monteil, President & CEO, SF Heritage
Former SF Heritage board member Zane Gresham participated in SF Heritage’s AIR retreat on April 1, 2022. ©San Francisco Heritage/Karalyn Monteil

The hybrid retreat was moderated by Margie O’Driscoll with both physical and online participation. The morning session provided an opportunity to hear lessons learned and advice from other AIR programs and artists experiences, while the afternoon session was devoted to discussing opportunities and parameters for the SF Heritage AIR program.

During his testimonial about his SF Heritage residency experience, musician and composer Ben Juodvalkis highlighted how having the soundscape of Haight Street and access to the Doolan-Larson Building’s attic studio space influenced and inspired him. “The sound of the room was important – it was one of best sounding rooms I was ever in,” he said. “There was also something special about the care and attention to detail, and consistency in [longtime owner and resident] Norm Larson’s vision of that space, which reminded me of the importance of having the same attention to detail in my work,” he added.

Words of wisdom were also shared by representatives of Headlands Center for the Arts, Mesa Refuge, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Recology, and 500 Capp Street.

The retreat resulted in recommended guidelines for the formalization of the SF Heritage AIR program, and also strengthened synergies among the local network of AIR programs.

For more information, please see: San Francisco Heritage Artist-in-Residence program.


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