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The art festival that aimed to change San Francisco

Resized and Cropped.
Courtesy of La Principessa Errante 365.
Truth, 2002. Odd Fellows Building, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA.


Imagine if San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Mid-Market area were filled with artists: storefronts overflowing with creative expression; staged performances in public places; a free cafe.

For some, that’s a utopian vision, and in fact that’s what it was like three years ago at a month-long arts festival called Streetopia. It was an attempt to celebrate existing communities in these neighborhoods.


Three years later, there’s a Streetopia book. Curator Erick Lyle edited a compilation of pictures, poetry, photos and essays that reflect on the festival, and how it fits into the history of art and activism in San Francisco.


We thought of the idea of utopia not as a prescriptive destination, but rather a process of becoming. You know, groups of people getting together that are sort of longing for something better, but maybe can't quite articulate what it looks like yet, but are coming together in real time to figure it out.


You can see Erick Lyle speak about the book at the Howard Zinn Book Fair, this Sunday, November 15th, at the Valencia campus of San Francisco City College.


Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.