Nov 1, 2021
The free My Park Moment photo show celebrates people loving their favorite parks, and out of 7,000 submissions received 400 shots were chosen to be a part of the exhibition. Taken by everyday parkgoers, teenagers, and professional photographers, the photos capture the beauty and joy of the great outdoors.
Young people from the Bay Area and beyond not only submitted photos to the show, but several participated in the actual creation of the exhibit. A team of leaders from the Presidio’s Crissy Field Center recruited a group of high schoolers from all over the Bay Area to act as My Park Moment Community Youth Curators.
Based on their previous experience and interest in the arts, eight students from all over the Bay Area were chosen to participate in the Community Youth Curator program. The three-week summer program included both in-person work, and virtual work, and was designed so the participants could explore the deeper questions of how art activates public spaces, and whose voice gets represented there, as well as the creation of the exhibit. Together the curators selected the images that are now displayed at the My Park Moment Youth Pavilion at Crissy Field – one of four outdoor locations in the Presidio.
For in-person programs, the group explored and learned about city neighborhoods and curation of public arts across San Francisco, delving into themes of community, public art, and storytelling. Leaders Mark Yanez and Jessica Lie took the Community Youth Curators on excursions exploring murals in San Francisco’s Mission District, graffiti art at Ocean Beach, the Box Shop in the Bayview neighborhood, and the GLBT Museum and Rainbow Honor Walk in the Castro neighborhood, among other locations. The group examined the cultural context of the spaces and what the artists expressed in each space.
“We’re curating an exhibit that really represents our community and our diverse backgrounds,” said participant Kelly Ko. Fellow curator Kendall Krouse also shared, “I wanted to be part of the project because I grew up in the Presidio and seeing this place transform into this wonderful park has been an awesome experience.”
After these thoughtful excursions, the challenge was to curate photos in the youth category (age 12-18) capturing the inclusive ideals of the My Park Moment photo show – that is, of reflecting parks as platforms for democracy.
The Community Youth Curators worked with New York-based nonprofit exhibition partner Photoville in several virtual workshops on the curation process with topics ranging from defining panel topics to selecting photos for each panel. This helped the participants to understand how to define exhibit themes and make a representative selection. Not only did they design together, but each curator selected a “Curator’s Choice” of one photo to include at the Pavilion.
“It was obvious that after the year of the pandemic, these students were excited to engage in this group experience, and put their creative juices to work,” Crissy Field Center Leader Mark Yanez shared. “The fact that they come from all over the Bay Area and view the Presidio as their park represents the values that were built into this show, and the Presidio Tunnel Tops, too.”
The results of Community Youth Curators is now on display at the My Park Moment Youth Pavilion, one of the four show sites in the Presidio that surround the future home of Presidio Tunnel Tops. The show is produced in collaboration with the Partnership for the Presidio and Photoville.
Many thanks to: Patricia Rose (Precita Eyes Muralists), Frederick Baumer (GLBT Museum), Charles Gadeken (The Box Shop), Marion Anthonisen (Presidio Trust), Andres Amador (Elemental Team Arts), Linde B. Lehtinen (SFMOMA), Erina Alejo (SF Artist), and Jasmin Chang, Laura Roumanos, Sam Barzilay and Andy Outis from the Photoville team for sharing their practices and perspectives with Community Youth Curators!