Friday, May 1, 2009

Official Dedication of the Tenderloin National Forest

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009 - 10 AM TO 9PM

OFFICIAL DEDICATION OF

"THE TENDERLOIN NATIONAL FOREST"

An all day celebration of this wonderful space. DJ's, Butoh, Youth Speaks, Film/Video screenings and Arizmendi pizza.

Some history of the Tenderloin National Forest from the Luggage Store:

Luggage Store Co-Artistic Directors/Artists Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer of the Luggage Store have been working to transform Cohen Alley since 1989 from a place emblazed in a health-hazardous cesspool of bodily fluids and other dumped items, non-supervised open-air chemical experiments and illicit – criminal activities -- to a community commons where people of all ages can gather for public art, performance, experimental art projects. and classes and activities related to this inner city garden which is home to naturally growing vegetation and built organic structures, or just to sit....

The Alley has been reclaimed and will be rededicated May 9, 2009 as “The Tenderloin National Forest." With recent funding from the San Francisco Art Commission/Creative Space Fund and the Mayor's Office, Community Challenge Grant, a series of physical improvements were completed.

One of the very few open spaces in our high density neighborhood of over 40,000 culturally and ethnically diverse residents, the Alley lies adjacent to two heavily trafficked inner city streets (Leavenworth running north and Ellis running est); and it is roughly 23 feet wide by 136 ft. deep. It is surrounded by multi story residential buildings and hotels that house formerly homeless, immigrant individuals and families, as well as seniors, artists, active drug users, dealers and others. The Tenderloin Children’s Playground is situated directly across the street.

In 2000, Lazer and Smith negotiated a lease with the City of San Francisco for $1.00 per year, which permanently closed the alley to traffic. A sculptured gate, commissioned by the luggage store and built and designed by Bay Area artist Kevin Leeper was installed.

Over the years, Lazer and Smith have organized murals to be painted on all sides of the Alley, produced and presented hundreds of performances and cultural events, planted trees, vegetables, herbs, flowers, built a small “ green” structure with a living roof, a staging area, seating, a clay oven, and upgraded lighting.

The Tenderloin National Forest is now dynamic, and is one of the most peaceful, quiet and inspirational areas in then neighborhood.


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