Bay Area visual artists Sirron Norris and Malik Seneferu have been selected by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to be the first of four artists to create large-scale temporary murals in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Artwork by Norris and Seneferu will be featured, each for one year, on the Southeast Treatment Plant’s construction fence as part of a temporary art program launching this summer.
“Sirron Norris and Malik Seneferu both have an affinity for creating dynamic works of art that are reflective of the diversity of voices and histories that enliven and comprise our city,” said Rebekah Krell, SFAC’s Acting Director of Cultural Affairs. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to support these two talented local artists as they develop and realize their projects over the next two years.”
“We are excited to work with local artists Sirron Norris and Malik Seneferu—two talented individuals who are committed to creating works of art which speak to the values, creativity, and history of the Bayview-Hunters Point community,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “This creative project is one more example of our community benefits approach toward capital improvements.”
The Southeast Treatment Plant, located in Bayview-Hunters Point, is San Francisco’s largest wastewater facility, treating nearly 80 percent of the city’s wastewater. With major capital improvements currently underway, the two artists have been commissioned through SFAC’s Public Art Program to create original works of art, translated onto mesh vinyl banners, that will adorn street-facing construction fencing along Evans Avenue between Rankin and Phelps streets.
“I love the community aspect of this project, which is unique for me and my art practice,” said Sirron Norris. “To embrace a community and be embraced by it before creating art I believe is essential, and should be mandatory for all public artists. I also think that this part of the process is interesting because it takes artists out of their comfort zones, and introduces ways in which to think within a community mindset. In this way, for me, it’s about unveiling a big mystery and understanding what everyone wants to say and see.”
In addition to the creation of a large-scale mural to be exhibited for one year, summer 2020 – 2021 and summer 2021 – 2022, respectively, each artist will work directly with the Bayview-Hunters Point community youth, seniors, and schools on the development of the artworks.
“When we express our creativity, as a way to implement change and instigate urban beautification, we recognize and honor the benefits of creative thinking,” said Malik Seneferu. “This project isn’t just about what we see, it’s about how we feel and what we experience, and the community’s voice will definitely be noticed in the final artwork.”
The SFPUC and SFAC have partnered with Young Community Developers, Inc. (YCD)– a non-profit that empowers Bayview-Hunters Point residents by providing them with education opportunities, workforce development training, and social services to establish a paid annual summer internship program for Bayview High School students. The first of its kind for the SFPUC and SFAC, the summer internship will provide students with experience working in a professional setting, throughout all the stages of artistic development, including a special emphasis on the production of the murals in conjunction with SFAC’s printing partner, ARC Document Solutions.
“I have always wanted our program to offer a wide range of career fields, so when I found out about the opportunity to partner with the Arts Commission, I was thrilled,” said YCD Program Director Lindsey Lopez-Weaver. “We’ve never been able to incorporate the arts into the program and I knew the interns would be very excited about the addition. It was great to be able to place an intern with ARC to learn more about the temporary art program that directly impacts the community where our interns arefrom. This is definitely a partnership I hope to continue.”Through the SFPUC’s Sewer System Improvement Program, the Southeast Treatment Plant will undergo operational improvements and seismic upgrades to ensure reliability of the system and to protect the health of the community and environment. These capital improvements have already begun with the replacement of wastewater infrastructure on the west side of Evans Avenue between Rankin and Phelps Streets. The SFPUC’s commitment to environmental stewardship, referenced in the artworks to be displayed, underscores the capital improvements being made at the Southeast Treatment Plant. Project completion is anticipated in 2024.