The following are selections from the archives of CAMP and contributions by others throughout our history:
CAMP 1992: Fiona O’Connor & CAMP Co-founder Rigo 23
Documentation by Fiona O’Connor Devereux, 1992
Narration by Rigo 23, 2010
Aaron Noble, CAMP Co-founder … Recalling early CAMP in 2005:
Cuando regresemos a nuestra antigua tierra
Que nunca conocimos
Y platiquemos de todas esas cosas
Que nunca han sucedido
Caminaremos llevando de la mano ninos
Que nunca han existido
Escucharemos sus voces y viviremos
Esa vida de la que tanto hablamos
Y nunca hemos vivido
When we return to our ancient land
Which we never knew
And talk about all those things
That have never happened
We will walk holding the hands of children
Who have never existed
We will listen to their voices and we will live
That life which we have spoken of so often
And have never lived
— Daisy Zamora
Alfonso Texidor chose this poem for Clarion Alley in 1993 as the first murals were being painted. It consists of four utopian assertions, each one qualified –nearly negated– by the harrow of this world. These assertions claim the importance of Place, History, Nurturance and Listening, the last of which is most closely associated with an ideal life. Could this sorrowful brief poem be any more opposed to the way things are moving in San Francisco today? Could Alfonso have thrown us any more of a curve ball?
CAMP Ephemera 1992 – 1999:
CAMP: Clarion Alley Mural Project
by Julie Murray
The Clarion Ally Mural Project (1993 -) was the brain-child of Aaron Noble and Rigo 93,
both accomplished artists and, at that time residents on Clarion, an ally which ran between
Mission St and Valencia St just south of 17th Street in San Francisco.
Dismayed by the awful state of the place, they came up with the idea of inviting various
artists they knew to design murals, which they hoped could go up on the many surfaces
running the length of the ally. They then went about seeking permission to paint the various
walls and garage doors from whomever they could. In most cases they were successful and
where the owner wasn’t to be found they painted anyway. Around forty artists were invited
to transform a wall with a mural, an invitation that came with a materials budget, a patch of
tabula rasa and much community spirit.
Ephemera from early CAMP gallery exhibitions at SFAI (1993), New Langton (1994), and Southern Exposure (1994):
Benefit for CAMP on Friday, December 3, 1993 at the Women’s Building, San Francisco, CA.
SPEAKING MINDS performances by:
QR Hand, Genny Lim, Michael Franti, Alfonso Texidor, Deborah Iyall, Jack Michelin, Michael Blake, Maria Medina Seraphin
PERCUSSIONS by Victor Zaballa and Art Synthesis
Ephemera from CAMP’s Redstone Labor Temple and Bloody Thursday, Local 6/9th Street Projects:
A Neighborhood Thing: The Mission Art Scene in the ’90s | KQED Arts
CAMP Ephemera 2000 – 2005:
Art Strikes Back!
We are in the eye of one of the most intense and thorough-going storms of acquisition and consolidation of wealth and power in history, one that is leaving a larger share of humanity out of its benefits while expanding its exploitive capabilities over them, and is able, at the very same moment, to tell the world with a straight face that it is about empowerment for all!
– From the Art Strikes Back Manifesto, 2000
Art Strikes Back was an 8-week performance series along San Francisco’s Valencia corridor in the summer of 2000 that former 47 Clarion resident and artist Lise Swenson and CAMP organizer Megan Wilson (Tim Costigan helped in the early planning) launched in response to the unprecedented level of evictions and displacement that San Francisco was experiencing during the Bay Area’s first dotcom boom. Over 70 artists participated and the project was covered in local, national, and international publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, and the London Telegraph.
Artists included: Angela Bauch, Art Cheerleaders, Eugenio Brodbeck, Tanya Calamoneri, Francine Cavanaugh, Shelly Cook, Jaime Cortez, Lisi DeHaas, Krista DeNio, Devil-Ettes, Kate Ellis, Leigh Evans, Jennifer Fong, Carla Kihlstedt, Nils Frykdahl, Suzanne Gallo, Rene Garcia, Karen Garman, Susan Gray, Martha Gorzcki, Tsering Gurung, Russell H., Kinji Hayashi, Keith Hennessy, Marin Sander Holzman, Jeff Hull, Lissa Ivy, Rachel Kaplan, Marci Klane, Keith Knight, John Leaños, Shinichi Momo Koga, Joshua Kohl, Joe Kreiter, Travis Leland, Angela Leonino, Aerlia MacLaird, Mano Gen. Z, Susan Maxwell, Dawn McCarthy, Marni McMurdy, Liz Miller, Haruko Nishimura, Michael Olexo, Lisa Marie Patzer, Gerardo Perez, Monica Praba Pilar, Dan Rathbun, Laurence Roberts, Heather Rogers, Sue Roginski, Val Russell, David Sarpal, Sonny Smith, Moe Staiano, Lise Swenson, Cassie Terman, Gabrielle Thormann, Megan Wilson, Gordon Winiemko, Winter, Joyce Ycasas, Kezia Zichichi.
Many of the project’s performances and actions took place on Clarion Alley.
Installation of Home/Casa by Megan Wilson, 2000:
Ephemera from CAMP’s Sama-Sama/Together International Exchange, 2003:
The Ghost of Barry McGee, 2004
In 2004 CAMP’s community partner Community Thrift needed to replace the rollup door on Clarion Alley that artist Barry McGee’s mural was painted on (1994). CAMP discussed various possibilities with McGee, who decided that he wanted the work destroyed. Subsequently, Aaron Noble buffed the entire mural out while Megan Wilson and Lise Swenson documented the process.
CAMP Ephemera 2006 – 2010
Clarion Alley Turns 20, 2012
The Magical Alley, 2013
by Megan Wilson
This past summer a group of business execs, all clad in expensive black suits rolled into Clarion Alley with a camera crew. As is the case when private tour groups (often part of larger foodie or boutique packages) appear on the alley with little or no connection to the community’s history or struggles, these folks looked ridiculous. Surrounded by murals, most with messages of social and political dissidence (Malcolm X, homelessness, queerness, solidarity for those being forced out by the forces of gentrification, “Tax The Rich”) and standing amidst the strong scent of urine, scattered debris, artists painting, and a small community of homeless vets asking for change, this group could not have looked more out of place. Mesmerized by the space, they were scurrying about scouting for areas to film while excitedly discussing how they’d recently discovered this “magical alley.”
Narratives of Displacement & Resistance, May 16 2015
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) and Clarion Alley Mural Project presented the Mural and Map Launch for AEMP’s Narratives of Displacement Oral History Project in Clarion Alley. AEMP also released its new zine project, We Are Here. On Saturday May 16th, 2015 CAMP and AEMP held the mural dedication on Clarion Alley, honoring the amazing mural painters, oral historians, and tenants fighting eviction that have co-created the AEMP narrative map in Clarion Alley. The event also included music by Adelante and Sin Nombre!
NO CLEAR-CUTTING OUR COMMUNITY, September 15, 2015:
On September 15, 2015 the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and Clarion Alley Mural Project held a community gathering on Clarion Alley to celebrate the mural – No Clear-Cutting Our Community – painted by Christopher Statton with words by Tony Robles created to bring attention to the negative impact that the 5M development is going to have on the South of Market neighborhood, and primarily on the low-income communities of color in the area, as well as San Francisco as a whole.
Video by Joseph Smooke