Intersection Legacy

A half-century of Bay Area art through ephemera

This page collects various ephemera to honor the artists and audiences who have graced our microphones, galleries, and stages over the years. What is currently presented here is drawn from Intersection’s archives. This representation is a broad-stroke approach to telling the history of this enduring and complicated organization, and we acknowledge that there are many important contributors, leaders, and movements that are not included.  We plan for this project to grow in content and functionality over time. For a timeline charting Intersection’s path since its inception in 1965, visit the history page.

At the Mic

Tuesday Night Poetry Series


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
Our Tuesday Night Poetry Series was California’s longest continual reading series and was the second-longest in the country. The longevity of the series attracted some high-profile writers, but we continued to regularly showcase the work of emerging, local writers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“In the late ’70s, a lot of talent emerged at Intersection that later became part of the establishment. Intersection was on the cutting edge. They were open to people from different backgrounds. Merging multicultural alliances were forming. Things were really jumping.”
- Ishmael Reed

author and poet on the role of Intersection in the late-70s

All posters were printed by the San Francisco Art Commission’s Neighborhood Arts Program.
A poster for Intersection for the Arts' December Tuesday Night Poetry Series, by the San Francisco Art Commissions' Neighborhood Arts Project.
A poster for Intersection for the Arts' January Tuesday Night Poetry Series, by the San Francisco Art Commissions' Neighborhood Arts Project.
“There was an attitude of inquiry, an open policy of what was considered art. It takes a lot of courage to run a place like that, and [Intersection was] one of the pioneers.”
- Lynn Hershman Leeson

multimedia artist and filmmaker, on the role of Intersection in the late-80s

At the Mic

Select Readings


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
At the Mic

RECORDINGS


Archived recordings from Intersection at 765 Union Street, San Francisco, courtesy of PennSound.

Complete Reading (37:21)

by Ted Berrigan, August 1971 | Photo Credit: “BerriganNY” by John “Hoppy” Hopkins " © 1965 ESTATE OF JVL HOPKINS.

Complete Reading (18:14)

by Joanne Kyger, December 20, 1976 | Photo Credit: Chris Felver ©

At the Mic

Women’s Night


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
“I read there a lot in the late ’70s. We had something called the Bay Area Poets Coalition and we had a symbiotic relationship with Intersection. One weekend, we had 24 hours of poetry all over the city — in Laundromats, grocery stores, on cable cars and street corners. It culminated with a reading at Intersection Sunday night. The weekend was wonderful, an enormous amount of fun and it reflected what we believed in — that poetry should be an active part of people’s lives… The audiences at the Intersection were very responsive. They would do things like stomp their feet at a reading, or clap or stand up — like fans at a football game. It was more like church or call-and-response. It was exciting.”
- Ntozake Shange

playwright and poet

Image courtesy of Third Mind Books.
Diane di Prima reads from her poetry collection “This Kind of Bird Flies Backward” at the Gaslight Cafe in New York in 1959. Photo courtesy of the © FRED W. MCDARRAH/MUUS Collection.
Photograph of Diane di Prima reading from her poetry collection “This Kind of Bird Flies Backward” at the Gaslight Cafe in New York in 1959. Photo courtesy of the © FRED W. MCDARRAH/MUUS Collection.
Feminist Beat poet Diane di Prima (1934-2020) moved in 1968 from New York to San Francisco, where she got involved with Intersection, reading and performing her spiritual, stream-of-consciousness, and politically charged poetry.
At the Mic

literary series


In the early 2000s, Intersection for the Arts hosted a literary series featuring various emerging and established writers in every genre and style.

Images from Intersection for the Arts’ Literary Series Posters.
Featuring: June Jordan, bell hooks, Amiri Baraka, Juan Felipe Herrera, Daisy Zamora, George Evans, Jose Montoya, Toussaint Haki, Jime Salcedo-Malo, Jim Carroll, Eileen Myles, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Rosemary Catacolos, Rae Armantrout, Fanny Howe, Leslie Scalapino, August Kleinzahler, Uchechi Kalu, Beto Palomar, Maria Poblet, Ariana Waynes, Sriram Shamasunder, Soraya Sablo Sutton, and Sheila Menezes, among others.
On stage

PERFORMANCE SERIES


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
For 20 years, at our first location on Union Street in North Beach, we hosted plays featuring emerging playwrights, directors, and actors.
“When she was 11, my daughter Dominique — whose father is Amiri Baraka — did her early plays at Intersection. The only thing the grown-ups were allowed to do was drive them around and carry the sets. The plays were satirical — one was called ‘Bicentennial Depression’ and one, ‘Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts,’ was inspired by the Bob Dylan song. When Dylan’s lawyer contacted us, Dominique responded. She wrote a letter saying, ‘We made $200 on the play. Does Mr. Dylan want 10 percent of our earnings?’ She offered him $20. We never heard back.”
- Diane di Prima

Beat poet, on Intersection's role as a place for artistic experimentation and growth

on stage

PERFORMANCE SERIES


766 Valencia Street, 1985-1989

In 1985, we moved to the Mission and continued our theatre programming in the old mortuary at 766 Valencia Street. Four years later, we moved to the old Mancuso Furniture store at 446 Valencia Street, where we settled for the following decades and grew our programming with the help of resident theatre company Campo Santo, resident dance company Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, and resident jazz musician Marcus Shelby.

on stage

campo santo


466 Valencia Street, 1989-2011
From 1997 – 2011, Campo Santo joined Intersection as our resident theatre company. Today, they continue to produce groundbreaking work as an award-winning multicultural ensemble committed to developing and premiering new American Theatre and to nurturing diverse new audiences for the performing arts.
“We started Campo Santo so we could put some works together for a small audience… So, we merged Campo Santo with Intersection and never looked back. You hear audience members say all the time, ‘That play was really wild!’ But what they don’t know is that this comes from the top down. It’s within our structure to be wild. This is not just the free jazz place or the free poetry place. It’s a place where philosophy is actualized, and that’s pretty amazing. The total open-door policy, it’s a real mainline rush.”
-Sean San Jose

previous Intersection Program Director and founder of Campo Santo, Intersection for the Art’s resident theater company

on stage

Jazz at intersection


446 VALENCIA STREET, 1999-2011
In 1998, Marcus Shelby, renowned jazz bassist, composer, and orchestra leader, became our musician-in-residence. A year later, we launched “Jazz at Intersection,” a series that exposed audiences to more than 60 concerts with almost 200 musicians worldwide.
in the gallery

756 union gallery


1966-1985
in the gallery

intersection coffee gallery


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
Our first gallery space doubled as a coffee shop and vice versa. We opened our doors from 6 pm to midnight and served everything from mocha to rum cioccolata to barley water.
 in the gallery

WORK IN PROGRESS: A SHOW OF
ARTISTS SKILLS EXHIBITION SERIES


756 Union Street, 1966-1985
The series included several group exhibitions, such as a mail-in art show commemorating May Day.
in the gallery

766 valencia gallery


1985-1989
766 was formerly an old mortuary in the Mission. The gallery featured shows by artists such as Ann Chamberlain, Barbara Edelstein, Mark Bulwinkle, and Mark Paron. Campo Santo Theatre Company, Joe Goode and Erika Chong Shuch, Marcus Shelby, Denis Johnson, and Dave Eggers performed here. “Hero Sandwiches” was a notable exhibition by Lynne Hershman.
in the gallery

our Annual Halloween Party


766 Valencia, 1985-1989
Intersection’s Halloween Party was a riotous fundraiser and beloved sensation that included art installations, dancing, and a costume contest.
in the gallery

466 valencia gallery


1989-2011

446 was an old Mancuso furniture store. In the gallery, Intersection featured work from artists such as Jeffry Stephen Bauer, Hallie Ogram, Rex Ray, Wayne Smith, Bob Anderson, Wes Christensen, David Forrester, Lyn Ian, Sandra Jackman, Janet Jenkins, Deborah F. Lawrence, Lorraine Zeyha, Jonathan Parker, and Maria Porges. Staff members Sean San Jose, Kevin Chen, and Rebecca Rodriguez were pivotal in curating exhibitions and programming in the 2000s-2010s.

“Intersection is very much an artist-driven organization, which is a rare and special thing. It feels like a home, and true homes are rare.”
- Naomi Iizuka

Japanese-born American playwright

A Home For Artists Throughout The Years;

Across Various Locations And Iterations.

Intersection for the Arts continues to breathe life into its mission by providing support, space, and professional opportunities to artists and cultural workers in the Bay Area.

Unless otherwise noted, all content included in this virtual exhibit is sourced from Intersection for the Arts’ archive.

Virtual Exhibition Curated By Izzy Parlamis and Edited by Claire Astrow

 

Intersection for the Arts respectfully acknowledges that we are based in Yelamu: the traditional, unceded lands of the Ohlone people. We pay our respects to elders both past and present.