When BART officials announced last fall that they had chosen three artists from outside the Mission as finalists in the remodeling of the 24th Street BART station, residents weren’t pleased. Now the Calle 24 Art for BART Committee is pushing back with its own proposal. At a meeting scheduled for the Brava Theater this afternoon, local artists will present their ideas to be considered for a new community-created proposal that will be submitted to BART in the hope of changing officials’ minds about the artist selection.
The Calle 24 Art for BART committee consists of institutions, artists and merchants around the 24th Street neighborhood, including the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, the Brava Theater Center and the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center. The organization has set up a calendar of meetings to bring together ideas and deliver a design proposal from the community.
The first meeting, on Jan. 26, was an initial discussion to define what the southeast corner of the station should be. It brought together a group of artists who expressed their thoughts about what changes should be made to the plaza surrounding the station.
Erick Arguello of the Lower 24th Street Merchants Association and Marta Ayala, a local artist, muralist, teacher and contractor who has worked on over 20 art projects and collaborations in the Mission, introduced and led the discussion. Ayala encouraged participants to think about the elements that make the neighborhood visually rich and how they could be incorporated into the project.
Artists and residents debated over the elements they thought the renovated area should incorporate. Several insisted on the importance of highlighting the Latino history and culture of the neighborhood, but other ideas, such as the transformation of the area, were also considered.
At today’s meeting at the Brava Theater, the artists will present their work, either individually or in collaborative groups. Galería de la Raza is the lead organization submitting the proposal and will manage the responsibilities outlined in BART’s request for qualifications.
The battle won’t be an easy one. Committee members have said that there is no guarantee the proposal will be selected, and the time frame is very short. The finalists selected by BART, Kipp Kobayashi and Anne Marie Karlsen, who reside in Los Angeles, and Charles Sowers, from San Rafael, were introduced to Mission residents last September.
The Calle 24 Art for BART Committee now has less than a month to change the BART officials’ minds.
The committee will look at the artists’ designs and ideas and choose which ones to move forward with in creating its proposal, explained Ani Rivera, Galería de la Raza’s executive director.
“From there, whatever concepts and designs that we feel that speak to what we’re looking for, we’ll invite to make a full sketch, a full proposal, and present it again Feb. 23,” Rivera said. After that, the committee will have approximately two weeks to finalize and submit the proposal.
“We have a lot of talent and a lot of support we can call out to,” she said. “That station is a very important entry point to this community, so we want to make sure that it’s reflective of the historical contribution of the local art organizations and artists that have been here for over four decades.
“We want to leave a mark, we want to make sure that 40 years from now, when we look at that BART station, there is a reflection of all the work that has been done, the work that has really helped shape and transform this neighborhood.”
The committee’s second meeting will take place today at Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. at York, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The last meeting will be held Saturday, February 23 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St. at 25th St.