Assistant Professor of design Rachel Beth Egenhoefer poses with her exhibit, Comforting Connections, on display on Market Street in San Francisco through the end of November.
Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, assistant professor of design at USF, has
stitched San Francisco’s neglected Central Market neighborhood a cozy
Actually, it’s a hand stitched scale model of the
landmark street between 5th and 10th streets, completed with
innumerable knit and purl stitches illustrating which storefronts along
San Francisco’s main east-west artery are occupied and which have been
abandoned or vacated. Loose yarn droops between the stitched buildings
of the many-colored art exhibit, illustrating the thousands of commuter
connections made in these few blocks of the city each day.
think about security blankets or warm sweaters, things that make people
comfortable,” said Egenhoefer, who, like so many others, transfers from
BART to Muni along that stretch of Market on her commute to USF each
day. “In a small way, it’s like knitting a security blanket for Market
TitledComforting Connections, the stitched model of Market Street is part of a new city-supported
pilot program known as Art in Storefronts. The idea is to revive areas
of San Francisco that have seen a rapid rise in commercial vacancies as
a result of the economic downturn.
“Art in Storefronts harnesses
the creativity of San Francisco’s artist community to help improve the
quality of life and the business climate in our neighborhood commercial
districts,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, at the Market Street
opening Oct. 23.
Egenhoefer’s exhibit was one of 10 chosen from
among 200 to receive funding from the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Artists were asked to make their exhibits relevant to each location’s
culture and history.
“It’s a unique opportunity and I am really
excited to be a part of something new and positive that’s directly in
the heart of the city,” Egenhoefer said.
Egenhoefer – who
enlisted assistance of USF freshman Mia Johnson, a fine arts major, in
constructing the window installation – said the piece both celebrates
the spaces that are occupied and invites questions about the empty
spaces and what potential they hold.
“I think the Art in
Storefronts program is an important project to promote the arts in the
city, and to engage community members in discussions not just about art
and design but also about their neighborhood, the economy, and their
community,” Egenhoefer said.
Egenhoefer’s exhibit, running Oct.
23 to Jan. 31 at 1117/1119 Market St., is one of several installed in
the area. Similar exhibits are slated for Taylor Street in the
Tenderloin district, Third Street in the Bayview-Hunters Point
neighborhood, and 24th Street in the Mission district.