Political Response Tracker #4


Here’s to hoping




From Wednesday night’s vigil and rally at City Hall, San Francisco

What’s in the Box?: TPG9 artist David Horvitz’s traveling project may be near you.


The Box Game is the traveling stage of a larger artwork called ‘What’s in the Box’. In the month of March a black box will be taken to various locations throughout the United States and Canada by Lukas Geronimas and David Horvitz. At each location they will set up a game that asks people what they think is in the box.

The votes/guesses will determine what is actually in the box and the result will be an exhibition of the box and the guesses.

They will be in San Francisco on March 19th at Clayton Space.
Or, check here to find out when they’ll be near you.

Town Hall Meeting Recap

townhall1Oliver and I thank everyone for coming, introduce ourselves, the State of the Arts project, and Joseph

townhall3The first panel settles in (L-R: David Huff’s legs (Pro Arts), Christian Frock (Invisible Venue), Svea Lin Vezzone (Swarm Gallery), Kerri Johnson (Blank Space), Mike Bianco (Queens Nails Projects)

townhall2The Artist Respondents move front and center

The goal of the day was to get a bunch of people talking about issues like arts funding, government and the arts, the stimulus, the economy and what that means for artists, and interesting ways that all these areas may interact.  This we accomplished.  It is incredibly hard to get a bunch of artists and arts activists who already have an incredibly full work load together and come up with some immediate solutions to any problems, so we didn’t leave the meeting with a clear course of action, but I think that is ok.  We’re still really early on, and just hearing out different ideas and perspectives is always fruitful.

I came away with a couple of things in particular though:

1. If artists want more money from government, they have to show up to meetings and prove themselves as a constituency and fight for what they want.  They could team up with real estate brokers who know how artists turn areas from bad neighborhoods to desirable ones.  They can fight for money in all aspects of government.  Someone suggested that every single government project could have some sort of artistic element to it.  Even if the budgets for this type of work are small, if these jobs are given only to Oakland (or whichever city you live in) artists, the impact could add up.  Mike Bianco spoke about the possibility of starting a union.  If a union charged some dues, maybe each locality could hire a lobbyist.

2. The stimulus for the NEA, in comparison to a lot of things, is still very small.  Lori Zook, from the Oakland Cultural Arts and Marketing Division, suggested that we look not just to the NEA to get our hands on some stimulus money, but also through Education programs and Community Development Programs.  She said there are billions of dollars being funneled into those programs.  Now, this assumes that you’d have to fit your art into one of those categories, which is not always the easiest things to do.  I was talking to my sister about grants and writing for them in general.  Grant writers are incredibly adept at not necessarily fibbing about their projects, but just using the language and framework that the granters want to see.  Perhaps we need to become creative in thinking of the ways that our work could be framed.

I was just talking to Joseph and he thinks this idea is a little bogus, as art should be funded because it is art and we and others should see the value in doing just that.  I believe that, but it seems clear in this country that many policy makers do not believe that.  So I’m ending at one of the very first topics/quandries of the discussion: how to make people understand, believe in, and fund art for its simple value as cultural capital.

Visual Arts Town Hall: Envisioning a More Sustainable Arts Community


Building on the discussion that began with our eighth issue, “State of the Arts“, we’ll be hosting a Visual Arts Town Hall Meeting in Old Oakland Saturday February 21st from 3-5.  Moderated by curator Joseph del Pesco, the meeting will be a chance for artists, gallerists, political figures and the public to discuss the way government can influence and support local art production.  We’ll share opportunities that already exist and try to identify simple steps to creating a more sustainable visual arts community.

Participants will include: David Huff (Program Coordinator/Curator Pro Arts), V Smoothe (“A Better Oakland” blog Editor ), Mike Bianco (Queens Nails Projects), Christian L. Frock (Invisible Venue), Kerri Johnson (Blankspace Gallery) Svea Lin Vezzone (Swarm Gallery) and artists: Amy Balkin, Steven Barich (Artopic.org), Helena Keeffe, Aaron Gach, Chris Sollars, David Stein

Visual Arts Town Hall
465 Ninth St. Oakland, CA 94607
February 21st: 3-5 pm

1st hour: moderated panel of gallerists, arts administrators, and politicos
coffee and snack break
2nd hour: artists from the State of the Arts project take the “stage” and respond to the panel and audience questions and comments

This event is sponsored in part by PSAI Old Oakland Associates and Southern Exposure

Political Response Tracker #3

Hi Eleanor,

Unfortunately the Councilmember has a prior commitment most of Saturday late afternoon and going into the late evening on February 21.  Please feel free to keep our office apprised of any developments from your town hall meeting.

Take care.

Chris Miley
City of Oakland
Aide to City Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan

Political Respose Tracker #2

Hello Eleanor,

I received your invitation for Congresswoman Barbara Lee to attend your Town Hall Meeting about the State of the Arts on February 21st. Unfortunately the Congresswoman has a prior commitment that day and will not be able to attend. If a staff member is available, they will contact you directly.
Thank you,

Casey Payton
District Scheduler

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Political Response tracker


On behalf of Supervisor Chiu’s office, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for the posters and your invitation to your upcoming Town Hall Meeting. Supervisor Chiu will not be able to attend due to a previous engagement on February 21, 2009.

We wish you the best on your event for the visual artists in the Bay Area.

Lisa Montanino
Office of the President, Board of Supervisors

Dear Eleanor,

Thank you for the posters.  I like one of them and put it up in my office.  With respect to the other one, I do not agree with asking non-profits to pay an artists fee.  They can barely raise enough money to do the services their mission requires them to do.  I do agree with the TOT being entirely for the arts and not for Chabot, Museum and Zoo.


Nancy Nadel

There are reasons that I love the Bay Area

Cause you can at the last minute go camping very close by and it looks like this:





Horwinski Printing Company

A Sneak Peak into the making of TPG8 and into the life of James D. Lang, the owner of Horwinski Printing Company.  Founded in 1906 and dedicated to the craft of letterpress, this business has a long history of  working with artists, unions, politicians, and businesses of all sizes to spread their message.



more after the jump >> Continue Reading »

Hayes Valley “Circle of Joy” Holiday Art Walk and Auction

Come out and enjoy the music, food, drinks, late night shopping, carolers, and general good cheer!  We, along with 25 other artists, created wreaths to be auctioned off in Hayes Valley storefronts to benefit Opportunity Impact.  Opportunity Impact is a non-profit that works with students in the Western Addition during their critical formative years, grades 4-8.  They work to develop life skills and provide education in order to create new opportunities and a better future for young people.

The details:
Auction: Friday, November 28th – Friday, December 5th at 9PM
Hayes Valley Block Party: Friday, December 5th, 6-9 PMwreath.jpg

Participating artists: Blair Bradshaw, Chris Thorson, Lauren Fleischer, Andrew Venell, Don Ross, Lucky Rapp, Mark Paron, Christopher W. Stokes Inside Modern, Ginny Parsons, Kevin Grady, The Present Group, Justin Trigg, [mm+gf] Ally Trigg and Bethany Snyder, Lori Stein, Storm, Matt Silady, Ed Luce, Ben Collison, Madeline Behrens-Brigham, Nicole Baugass, Gregg Casin, Kirsten Tradowsky, Michael G. Broeker

post-Expo recap (a little late)

I hurt my back so have been having trouble sitting, which makes computer work challenging. But I am starting to get back (pun not intended) to regular-ness and am playing a bit of catchup.

So here are photos of our really nice day in Dolores Park on September 27th for The Expo for Independent Arts and Media.

We shared a table with the lovely ladies Jessie and Bird from Trash Mashup. “Trash Mash-Up is a community art project. Using disposable materials, collected before they enter the waste stream, participants construct “Maskostumes” which are original pageant masks and costumes inspired by traditions from around the world.”

We also got to meet many interesting people, tell a lot of people about our project, and listen to our friend Uni sing her heart out.

TPG7 + (almost) 2 year Show Photos

TPG7 + (almost) 2 Year Retrospective Show Release

Our first space!

Sure it’s only for one day, but you gotta start somewhere.



We’re starting in Old Oakland. Where?

465 9th street (9th & Broadway), Oakland. September 5th, 2008, 5-10PM. We’ll be showing TPG7 as well as an (almost) two year Present Group Retrospective. Here’s some more info.

posted: August 29, 2008

Someone loves us!

We’re very honored to find out that we (along with 17 other great projects) have been awarded a $3000 Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure Grant!

So our big show (Sept. 5th) is a celebration of that fact too..

Unfortunately the website doesn’t link to all the projects, so I’ll do a bit of that legwork: (any without websites are links to the SoEx site with their description)

Black Boots Ink
Hamburger Eyes
Home is Something I Carry With Me
Hot and Cold
Invisible Venue
News of Common Possibility

Plastic Antinomy Magazine

Practice & Practice
Project Bunch
Receiver Gallery
Right Window

Rowan Morrison Gallery and Artist’s Bookstore
Teaching from Old Textbooks
The Garage
The Present Group
The Spare Room Project

Triple Base Gallery

Underground Art Crew

ONE-NIGHT SHOW! TPG7 Release Party, Showcase + (almost) 2 year Retrospective

What: One Night Art Show for The Present Group Issue #7 [Maggie Leininger: Text/ile] and The Present Group (almost) 2 year Retrospective

Where: 465 9th Street (9th and Broadway), Old Oakland

When: September 5th, 2008, 5-10PM

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be celebrating the release our 7th Issue: Text/ile by Maggie Leininger with a one night show on”First Friday” September 5th, 2008 in Old Oakland. Leininger uses the woven form as a metaphor for the idea of multiplicity/multiples/repeats, creating hand woven textiles that examine the most basic structure of a human: the human genome. The show will investigate the imagery of the chromosome itself, and how it is translated through the Jacquard loom to make fragments, segments of information. This is the only time the entire edition of 51 individual tapestries will be shown together. Starting at 9pm, local subscribers will be able to package and take home their piece.

Friday’s opening will also feature a retrospective of past Present Group editions. Over the last two years we’ve created fine art books, a collage and print series as well as a video project and a land art/performance. The public is invited to this free event at 465 9th street in Old Oakland from 5-10PM to explore the works in person. If you’re interested but can’t make it, our website features interactive versions of every past edition along with artists interviews, profressional critiques and annotated links sections devoted to each piece.

Maggie Leininger is an artist based out of Oak Park, IL who is interested in exploring visual relationships between microscopic structures and social systems bydeconstructing/reconstructing patterns through weaving.

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