Intersection for the Arts Partners to Activate Public Spaces at San Francisco Trolley Dances and the SF Urban Prototyping Festival (Press Release)

October 10, 2012

Media Contact:
Deborah Cullinan
415.626.2787 x 105


Intersection for the Arts Partners to Activate Public Spaces at
San Francisco Trolley Dances and the SF Urban Prototyping Festival 

Art, technology, civic, and design communities come together
for free public events at 5M on October 20th and 21st

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Intersection for the Arts, the San Francisco placemaking thought leader, partners with other arts, technology, design and developer organizations to transform and revitalize underutilized public spaces and activate surprising places over the weekend of October 20 – 21, 2012.  The public is invited to attend two free programs that showcase Intersection’s unique ability to gather diverse audiences to experience public art in unexpected venues: San Francisco Trolley Dances and the San Francisco Urban Prototyping Festival Exposition.

The Intersection resident theater company Campo Santo joins Epiphany Productions to re-imagine public performance space at the 9th annual Trolley Dances on October 20th and 21st from 11am to 2:45pm. Bridging the gaps between artists, audience, and place, Trolley Dances invites attendees to see the city and its people through extraordinary art forms presented in otherwise familiar places and mundane transit modes. Tours originate from Intersection for the Arts at the 5M campus at 5th and Mission Streets.  Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers perform at Mint Plaza and Campo Santo performs at Hallidie Plaza before the audience boards Muni for performances with other Bay Area superstar choreographers and companies as the tour winds its way to the San Francisco Bayview district.

“SF Trolley Dances continues the ‘trailblazing’ initiative demonstrated by A Temporary Offering at the Renoir Hotel in June,” said Sean San Jose, founding member of Campo Santo.  “Trailblazing is about locating the edges of our places, looking for the magic that can happen when we experience art in unexpected places.” Artist Resource Program Director Randy Rollison, who works with Epiphany Productions through Intersection’s Innovation Studio incubator program, adds, “Nothing embodies the spirit of trailblazing more than SF Trolley Dances, and we’re thrilled to partner with Epiphany to continue to activate public space.” For more information about San Francisco Trolley Dances, visit www.epiphanydance.org/work/trolley-dances/

5MPlaceWorks, a collaboration led by Intersection for the Arts, partners with the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, the 5M Project, Rebar, and IDEO to present the San Francisco Urban Prototyping Festival (SF UP Festival). The October 20th SF UP Festival Expo showcases about 20 prototypes selected from almost 100 projects proposed in response to an open call and projects created by nearly 50 participants in the Make-a-Thon, a recent digital-meets-physical builder marathon weekend.

Through its SF UP Festival partnership, the Intersection’ 5MPlaceWorks initiative and GAFFTA seek to explore ways that citizens can interact differently with the city to innovate their communities. “We know that the form and patterns of cities will inevitably and constantly change,” Intersection for the Arts Executive Director Deborah Cullinan explains, “ People come. People go. Buildings rise. Industries fall. Policies shift. Neighborhoods change. 5MPlaceWorks embraces this through placemaking, creating and transforming the meaningful places that draw us together to opportunities in an ever-changing context of equitable urban evolution. This placemaking – art, creativity, diversity, inspiration, interaction – is what invites and connects people to the urban opportunities to mingle, meld, blend, change, grow, distinguish, achieve, thrive.”

The SF UP Festival showcases placemaking with rapidly prototyped open-source projects that can be implemented cost-effectively in any city. Through 5MPlaceWorks at the UP Festival, Intersection connects its trailblazing arts community to the GAFFTA digital culture mavens, the maker community that frequents the TechShop at 5M, designers from design powerhouses Rebar and IDEO, and innovative San Francisco officials striving to reduce bureaucracy that otherwise impedes civic progress. These diverse and active communities distinguish San Francisco as the perfect city for the global Urban Prototyping movement led by GAFFTA.

The UP Festival prototypes on display range from the whimsical to the practical in the ways they re-define public space. Urban playscapes, glowing crosswalks, public restrooms disguised as planters, urban parasol shade structures, unconventional fruit gardens, and public video experiences are just a few examples of what results when rapid digital prototyping models like Hack-a-Thons are applied in the physical realm.  Keynote speakers, forums, and artists performing on stages curated by 5MPlaceWorks and GAFFTA are integral parts of the program. Artistic programming re-imagines performance spaces for live visual art, theater, music, comedy, spoken word and dance.  Programs aim to gather groups of people who otherwise rarely interact to start conversations about how we use, share, and experience city spaces.  The SF UP Festival Expo runs from 12pm to 10pm on October 20th at the 5M site at 5th and Mission Streets. For more information on the Festival, visit: www.sf.urbanprototyping.org


About Intersection for the Arts

Intersection for the Arts is a leading-edge arts and community development organization that connects people across physical, social, cultural, and economic boundaries to instigate change. Founded in the early 1960’s and incorporated in 1965, Intersection for the Arts still thrives on cultivating inclusivity, building community, and inspiring social change through performing, literary, visual, and interdisciplinary art. www.theintersection.org


About Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) brings together the best creative coders, data artists, designers, and makers to create experiments that build social consciousness through digital culture. GAFFTA is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to furthering the use and advancement of creative technology for social good and artistic advancement.  www.gaffta.org


About the 5M PROJECT

The 5M Project is a creative development at 5th and Mission St, designed to support an increasingly interconnected economy and urban culture. Through the 5M Project, national urban developer Forest City is transforming a development project centered at the historic Chronicle Building at 5th and Mission Streets into an urban ecosystem for social and economic innovation, powered by a culture of sharing resources and ideas across traditional boundaries.  www.5mproject.com/


About 5MPlaceWorks

5MPlaceWorks is a collaboration led by Intersection for the Arts, in partnership with the 5M Project, and PolicyLink, the leading national advocate for an equitable 21st century economy.  5MPlaceworks fuses cultural, economic, and community development practice to push for new models for inclusive urban development. www.5mPlaceWorks.org


About Campo Santo

Intersection’s Resident Theatre Company, Campo Santo, has worked with some of this country’s most esteemed artists, poets, fiction writers, and playwrights to create new theatrical experiences that reflect and re-imagine our world.


About Epiphany Productions

Artistic Director Kim Epifano founded Epiphany Productions in 1997 to aid her work in sonic dance theater, a genre-bending blend of dance, theater, and vocalization in which dancers, musicians, aerialists, and actors work together to weave a story on stage. Epiphany Production’s programs include San Francisco Trolley Dances (SFTD), which features new site-specific works by Bay Area choreographers; and educational outreach activities in the Bay Area and around the world.


About the TechShop at 5M

Founded in October 2006, TechShop, Inc. is a membership-based, do-it-yourself (DIY) workshop and fabrication studio providing access to a vibrant community of highly creative people and more than $1million worth of high quality machines, tools and software. TechShop offers classes, workshops, instruction and meet-ups for people of all ages and skill levels. TechShop at 5M in San Francisco is one of an expanding network of Bay Area and US locations.


About Rebar

Rebar is an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of art, design and ecology. Rebar’s mission is to create objects, spaces and ideas that inspire people to re-imagine the environment and our place in it. The Rebar studio produces artwork and design solutions that shape the landscape and public realm, rooted in the belief that human interaction, community and a sense of wonder form the basis of the good life.


About IDEO

IDEO is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. We identify new ways to serve and support people by uncovering latent needs, behaviors, and desires. We envision new companies and brands, and we design the products, services, spaces, and interactive experiences that bring them to life. We help organizations build creative culture and the internal systems required to sustain innovation and launch new ventures.


About the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation aims to introduce new ideas and approaches to solve long-standing challenges. We believe that government needs to think like a lean startup: agile, scrappy and customer-focused.





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