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    “The TL: the Beating Heart of San Francisco” with the 3.9 Art Collective


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    Event description

    To mark the Juneeteenth holiday, 3.9 Art Collective members Jacqueline Francis, S. Reneé Jones, & Trina Michelle Robinson present creative work at TLM and reflect on the Tenderloin’s role and influence on their lives and artistic practices. 

    Organized for this year’s annual Juneteenth holiday, “The Beating Heart of San Francisco”  presents the creative work of the 3.9 Art Collective. Established in 2010, the 3.9 Art Collective is an association of San Francisco African American artists, curators, and writers who came together to draw attention to the city’s dwindling black population. The program features 3.9 Art Collective Jacqueline Francis, S. Reneé Jones, & Trina Michelle Robinson, whose work is also on view in the Tenderloin Museum’s gallery space called Home and Away.

    In her presentation, Jacqueline Francis will read from “Look A Way,” an in-progress short story, informed by her first visit to San Francisco: a weeklong stay at a Tenderloin hotel in the fall of 1987. The irrepressible TL is the star of the story–a self-sustaining ecosystem of significance, dispensed in myriad ways.

    Trina Michelle Robinson will discuss how her choice to live in the Tenderloin has shaped both her art practice and her experience in the Bay Area. Her photogravure prints and the handmade paper made from palm fronds she collected in Cameroon, explore migration, specifically, her West African lineage and the long forgotten time before her ancestors arrived in California, or even this country. Her projection features highlights from her video essays exploring her California roots. 

    S. Renée Jones will talk about the numerous times she’s worked in the TL as a photographer and volunteer (before choosing to live there). Her black and white photos tell the story of the TL through the relationships she formed in the Tenderloin National Forest. The eight-year project of photographing twice a week, during the day and at night, as a member of and teacher at the 6th Street Photography Workshop, produced a well-rounded body of work. The people from the TL neighborhood participated as subjects and models, and they got an introduction to photography from Workshop members. The images that the Worksop members printed in the darkroom were given out weekly to TL residents; they also were exhibited at  the 509 Gallery and  the 10’x10’ shack near the entrance to the Tenderloin National Forest.

    About the 3.9 Art Collective: 

    The 3.9 Art Collective is an association of African American artists, curators, and art writers who live in San Francisco, and came together to draw attention to the city’s dwindling black population. The 3.9 Art Collective bears witness to this phenomenon and seeks to reverse it by drawing attention to the historical and ongoing presence of black artists in the city and creative expression in its black communities.  Through multiple forms of presentation and outreach, we create and claim spaces to display our art work; nurture young artists and develop educational programs for students; and write about and curate exhibitions meant to generate productive, cross-cultural dialogues. For more information on the 3.9 Art Collective, follow them online, and on Instagram and Facebook.

    About the artists:

    Trina Michelle Robinson is a San Francisco-based visual artist. Her work has been shown at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia, the San Francisco Art Commission Main Gallery, including their current exhibition Praxis of Local Knowledge, Minnesota Street Project, Catharine Clark Gallery, and New York’s Wassaic Project and the prestigious triennial Bay Area Now 9 at Yerba Buena Center for Fine Arts. She had a solo exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), a Smithsonian Affiliate, as part of their Emerging Artist Program 2022-23, is a 2024 SFMoMA SECA Finalist and her print series Ghost Prints of Loss is included in the book Is Now the Time for Joyous Rage? was published in 2023 by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Sternberg Press. She previously worked in print and digital media in production at companies such as The New York Times T Magazine, Vanity Fair and Slack before receiving her M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in 2022.

    S. Renée Jones has been creating images for more than 40 years. She grew up in San Francisco's Mission District with nine brothers and sisters–all raised by a single parent father. She was among the youngest of the siblings, which caused an unusual kind of isolation. That's where photography came in. Playing around with a camera (minus film for the longest  time) allowed her to hide when she needed to and to be the center of everything when she wanted to do that. Struggling through the reality of her life with an absent mother, the constant penetration of racism, sexism, and poverty into everyday experience, and the resulting burden of low self-esteem, she looked toward photography as therapy. She learned to pay close attention to what mattered–to what told the story. She asks herself when creating an image: What brings pleasure to my  eyes? What causes my soul to connect and gather in that which surrounds me? What moves beyond mimicry, the splash of color. or visual  trickery? What will lead me to my next moment of healing?

    Jacqueline Francis is the author of Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America (2012). She is the co-editor of and contributor to two anthologies: Romare Bearden: American Modernist (2011)—scholarly essays devoted to the twentieth-century artist, author and curator—and Is Now the Time for Joyous Rage? (2023)—writings and art placed in conversation with the work of contemporary conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady. Francis’s curatorial projects include Adia Millett: You Will Be Remembered (Galerie du Monde—Hong Kong; 2022), Fight and Flight: Crafting a Bay Area Life (Museum of Craft & Design—San Francisco; 2023), and Sargent Claude Johnson (Huntington Art Museum—San Marino, California; 2024). A member of the 3.9 Art Collective since 2012, Francis also is a fiction writer who was awarded an Individual Artist Commission grant (2017) by the San Francisco Arts Commission. In 2023 she was named to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100—recognition of her cultural activism in the Bay Area. Francis is Professor of Art History and Visual Culture and Dean of the Humanities and Sciences Division at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.


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