The 5Ws Project, A New Destination Point Along the Trailblazing Route (Press Release)

Intersection Opens The 5Ws Project, A New Destination Point Along the Trailblazing Route


September 12, 2012
Mary Street at Mission (between 5th and 6th)
San Francisco, CA 94103
1:30PM | Free | http://5ws.eventbrite.com/


San Francisco, CA – August 20, 2012 – Intersection for the Arts through its 5MPlaceWorks initiative is proud to announce the launch and ribbon cutting ceremony with Supervisor Jane Kim for its 5Ws Project, an urban art installation that provokes thought about the Who, What, Where, Why and When of the area surrounding 5th and Mission.

The 5Ws will unfold in phases, beginning with five 4’x4’ chalkboards designed by Ana Teresa Fernandez in the shape of questions installed on the Chronicle building facing Mary Street. Intersection is partnering with community based organizations on a series of arts-based workshops to explore the rich histories and important stories carried in the hearts and minds of the people who live, work, learn, and play in the neighborhood. The content from these participatory workshops will be shared publicly 24 hours/day on these installations. Community partners are invited to adopt and continue to activate a square chalkboard for 5 months. Current partners are: Bindlestiff Studio, CHALK, Central City SRO Collaborative, First Exposures/SF Camerawork, Holy Stitch, Hospitality House, United Playaz, and West Bay.

San Francisco’s District 6 Supervisor, Jane Kim, will be present on September 12 to celebrate the unveiling of The 5Ws Project. The program will also include:

  • Live music by Darren Johnston on trumpet and David Boyce on saxophone
  • Performances by Juan Amador (a.k.a. Wonway Posibul) and Tommy Shepherd (a.k.a. Soulati) delivering Campo Santo excerpts
  • Theater from Bindlestiff Studio’s “A Pinoy Midsummer” directed by Lorna Velasco
  • A few words from Ivan Vera, Program Manager for the Community Arts Program at Hospitality House, on the value of collaborating with Intersection on the 5Ws

The 5Ws is part of the 5M PlaceWorks Trailblazing Project, where underused spaces in the Tenderloin, Mid-market and SoMa neighborhoods come alive with art, ecology and entrepreneurship. Partners include: Intersection for the Arts, Luggage Store Gallery, and Hyphae Design.


The 5M PlaceWorks Trailblazing Project is a placemaking project celebrating indigenous beauty and encouraging connectivity in adjacent but divided streets, alleys and neighborhoods. Through public art, performance, and events, we commission artists to create pathways and connectivity between people who might not otherwise connect. We illuminate the history of the community and activate underused spaces in the Tenderloin, Mid-market and SoMa neighborhoods with art, ecology and entrepreneurship.

In July 2012, The Luggage Store Gallery, Intersection for the Arts, and Hyphae Design Lab opened the Renoir Trailhead, combining a ranger station, art gallery, and retail outlet in a compact indoor-outdoor space at 1100 Market Street in San Francisco’s Mid-Market District. It kicks off the planned expansion of the Tenderloin National Forest, a former alley that the Luggage Store Gallery transformed into a community commons and ecological laboratory, where people of all ages gather in the heart of the Tenderloin for art performances, classes and other activities.

Inside the Renoir Trailhead, visitors can enjoy art installations curated by The Luggage Store, savor locally roasted coffee from farm:table, purchase seedlings propagated in the Tenderloin National Forest, and get styled out in high-fashion denim clothing created by the Holy Stitch! Denim Social Club.

The build-out, led by Hyphae Design Lab and funded by Intersection for the Arts, riffs on the aesthetics of National Park ranger stations, features reclaimed wood, and includes an indoor wetland that manages graywater on site. Outside, a pygmy forest in planter boxes brings a slice of the California landscape to Market Street and doubles as a space to sit and relax. The pygmy forest aims to serve as a model for the Better Market Street initiative by providing some of the first public seating installed since benches were removed from Mid-Market street in the 1990’s.


Download trail map (PDF) here: http://theintersection.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Trailhead_brochure.pdf


Ana Teresa Fernandez ( www.anateresafernandez.com), well-known for her majestic, hyper-realistic oil paintings that confront gender and labor issues, presents two video pieces documenting recent performances in public. Borrando la Frontera: Erasing the Border is documentation of a one-day performance by Fernandez at the border wall separating Playas de Tijuana, Mexico from Border Field State Park in San Diego that runs along the beach straight into the Pacific Ocean. Using an extremely tall ladder, a generator, and spray gun, and dressed in her performance outfit consisting of a black cocktail dress and black pumps, she painted the metal bars of the border wall a pale blue, mirroring the color of the sky. From a distance, it looks as if an entire section of the wall had been removed. Ice Queen is documentation of a 45 minute performance by Fernandez on the streets of West Oakland wearing a pair of stilettos cast entirely out of ice, standing on top of a sewer grate as the shoes gradually start to melt and break apart.

Bindlestiff Studio
Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff Studio became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists. Bindlestiff Studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program. Bindlestiff Studio cultivates artists who reflect and celebrate the diverse values, traditions, and histories of Pilipino and Filipino American cultures through bold artistic expression and community engagement.

Central City SRO Collaborative / Sisters Rize!
Central City SRO Collaborative developed as an organization dedicated to the social, economic, and political advocacy and empowerment of low-income, residential hotel tenants who live in the Tenderloin and South of Market (SOMA) Districts of San Francisco. It currently offers assistance to some of the most marginalized, disenfranchised people in the area who live in SRO hotels – buildings that are infamous for their dilapidated conditions, health and building code violations, and landlord corruption. In addition to offering residents assistance for their general, day-to-day problems associated with living in SROs, CCSROC also works directly with tenants to help them first, to become educated about their rights as tenants, and second, to unite and organize to have these rights actualized and increased. They advocate for safe and decent conditions within the SROs and the maintenance and expansion of low-income housing options. By joining forces with tenants, CCSROC aims to improve the quality of life in SROs and in the community as a whole.

Sisters Rize! formed as a women’s group within CCSROC in August of 2010 with the vision of empowering women through personal, professional, and economic development. Members of Sisters Rize! want to create strong community bonds amongst women, learn new skills, and organize actions to address problems with their neighborhood and their SROs.

Communities in Harmony Advocating for Learning and Kids, or CHALK, is a San Francisco non-profit organization providing a range of youth services with a specific focus on transformative youth development and employment. The purpose of all of CHALK’s programs is to provide information, resources and support to youth and their allies. Chalk focuses on transformative development and employment. We utilize youth development and youth employment as a means to reach out to youth that are at-risk or in-risk and provide them with the necessary tools, trainings, and support of transition into a positive adulthood.

SF Camerawork / First Exposures
SF Camerawork collaborates with a wide range of youth service organizations in order to reach young people with diverse backgrounds. Praised as a model program by the State of California, First Exposures is unique in its one-to-one pairing of each child with a photographer who serves as a caring mentor and positive adult role model. Mentors are photographers with a commitment to youth empowerment through education, volunteering for a minimum of one year. First Exposures provides a creative outlet for students to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment, and encourages them to become articulate, confident, and responsible young adults. In 2008 First Exposures expanded its program by introducing a digital photography class in order to serve more youth.

Holy Stitch
The Holy Stitch! Denim Social Club – part arts collective, part factory, part agency – is a youth-centric enterprise specializing in the craft + design of quality denim goods. Practitioners and advocates at the intersection of Arts + Technology + Commerce, we seek to connect able minds and hands to the industrial tools with which to create, the awareness from which to build change, whether through Style, Symbology, or Social Good.

Hospitality House / Community Arts Program
Founded in 1967, Hospitality House is a progressive, community-based organization located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Sixth Street Corridor neighborhoods that provides opportunities for personal growth and self-determination to homeless people and neighborhood residents. Our mission is to build community strength by advocating policies and rendering services which foster self-sufficiency and cultural enrichment. Our five programs collectively provide a range of services, including shelter, housing support, case management, harm reduction-based mental health and substance use services, employment resources, a community organizing and leadership development program, and a one-of-a-kind community arts program.

Community Arts Program
Since 1969 (two years after Hospitality House was founded), the Community Arts Program (CAP) has provided a free-of-charge fine arts studio for community artists who lack access to creative resources due to poverty and homelessness. The program provides artistic access, instruction, exhibition and sales opportunities while providing low-threshold, peer-based support in accessing services that contribute to personal stability.

United Playaz
United Playaz is a violence prevention and youth leadership organization that works with San Francisco’s hardest to reach youth through case management, street outreach, in-school services, recreational activities at community centers, and support to incarcerated youth. United Playaz is committed to improving the lives of young people surviving in vulnerable environments, show high incidence of truancy and low academic performance, or have been involved in the juvenile justice system through direct service and community collaboration. United Playaz believes that “it takes the hood to save the hood”.

West Bay
West Bay’s mission is “to provide social, health, education and economic services to children, youth and their families in the South of Market, San Francisco and the greater Bay Area with emphasis on the Pilipino population through a comprehensive delivery system, as well as to advocate for the continuation of needed services in the community.”


Established in 1965, Intersection is a pioneering arts and community development organization that brings people together across boundaries to instigate break-through change. Intersection’s programs emphasize relationships, collaboration, and process. We work with hundreds of artists through residencies, commissions, fellowships, fiscal sponsorship and incubation, performances, exhibitions, workshops and public art projects. Annually, we work with more than 50 community partners across sector and field.

Intersection is currently a lead collaborator on The 5M Project, a 4-acre multi-phase, mixed-use development project located in downtown San Francisco. With The 5M Project, we are helping to prototype the next generation of urban development that embraces diversity of thought, life experience, and culture as essential to positive economic and social change in our neighborhoods. We have brought together artists, makers, entrepreneurs, social change agents, and technology innovators to collaboratively develop a new kind of place that unlocks resources, connection, and creativity across silos and disciplines. Intersection, The 5M Project, and PolicyLink are co-creating 5M PlaceWorks – a pioneering new entity that fuses creative placemaking with economic development practice with the goal of a new model for equitable urban development.


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