Founded in 2011, Skywatchers brings residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District into partnership with professional artists to create multi-disciplinary, site-specific performance installations that amplify the rich and complex stories, life experiences, and talents of community members. ABD initiated the Skywatchers program in collaboration with Community Housing Project (CHP) and the Luggage Store Gallery.
Skywatchers is committed to justice and equity as a critique of the current societal structures that marginalize large segments of the population. Creative expression and artistry are the foundation of a unique set of methodological practices to resist, confront, expose, or intervene in those structures, working towards social change on the individual and systemic levels. We believe in the power of art and collective creative endeavors to transform lives, embody our interconnectedness, and infuse our lives with agency, possibility, and increased vitality.
Skywatchers is structured on the belief that relationships are the first site of social change. We believe that large-scale transformation begins with intimate, interpersonal exchange and that all stakeholders are transformed in this process—artists, resident participants, as well as site staff.
The vision of Skywatchers is…
ABD artists collaborate with resident co-creators on projects that range from performances to exhibitions, and from community dialogues to urban garden projects. All are creative celebrations of the lives, environment, stories, and urgent concerns of Skywatcher participants.
The Skywatchers process is “of, by, and for” the residents of the Tenderloin. Residents become storytellers, co-creators, performers, and audience members on a creative platform of their own making.
We bridge community-engaged art with celebratory art in the service of social change. By building community, nurturing self-efficacy, and cultivating access to personal and creative resources, Skywatchers supports participants in becoming effective agents for change in our own lives. Through the Skywatchers Leadership training beginning in August 2017, residents will have opportunities to take on leadership positions within the program.
d. Community Building
A program of ABD Productions, Skywatchers partners with Community Housing Partnership (CHP), CORE (a CHP leadership and advocacy group), Luggage Store Gallery (LSG), Larkin Street Youth Services (LSYS), Tenderloin Museum (TM), Glide Memorial Church, Faithful Fools Ministry, CounterPulse, and other Tenderloin organizations. Through these partnerships we are able to share resources and build effective alliances for change.
The connectivity intrinsic to creative collaboration helps participants build trust in each other.
The transformative impact of sharing one’s own story—both to be heard and to see that story in a broader social context—creates the space for participating residents to imagine and manifest change.
Find a selection of Skywatchers articles below!
- Making Art, Building Community in the Tenderloin
- 5th Annual Skywatchers Festival: Home Is Where the Body Is
- Using Dance & Performance, Skywatchers Illuminates Lives of TL Residents
For more information contact Senior Program Manager, Clara Pinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org