Kim was drawing on an image of Theogenese, a Greek philosopher who was once homeless.

It’s Wednesday, and nowadays that means there’s Art in the Park for any person who drops by Victoria Manalo Draves park off Folsom Street near Sherman Street in SoMA. On a recent Wednesday, participants were creating a variety of works, including calligraphy and collage. 

One artist, Cameron Kim, a 33-year-old painter, sculptor and collage artist, had set up a spot on the ground, where he was cutting out black and white images from a comic book and collaging them together. “I’ve been going to Hospitality House for seven years, but we started doing this outside because of the virus.” 

Cameron Kim at Art in the Park
Cameron Kim, by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Kim was drawing on an image of Theogenes, a Greek philosopher who was once homeless.

Hospitality House provides services to homeless populations in San Francisco.

Kim was born in South Korea, and was homeless on the streets there after his father died. “Being homeless in Korea was different — there were no resources. It is very different than here.” 

When he was nine, his mother couldn’t care for him any longer and dropped him in front of an orphanage, where he lived in poor conditions until he was 12. He was adopted and came to Florida, but his adopted family “were very bad people — I think they just wanted a pet or something.” 

Kim became emotional talking about his childhood and early life, and said he’s grateful for the community arts program, where “people are so kind, they show me a lot of love.”

Kim, who was in the Navy, now lives happily in an SRO in the Tenderloin. He sometimes sells his art around the city, including at Union Square.

Cameron Kim at Art in the Park
Kim’s “outdoor art studio” that he carries around with him in his black artist duffel bag. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Maddy Putnam is a 27-year-old full-time studio assistant at the community arts program. “I enjoy being in a place that is accessible, since free things are few and far between,” she said. Putnam was spending her time on Wednesday at a picnic table painting pins that she would use for an activity on Thursday’s at the Shelter-in-place hotel on Larkin Street.

Putnam holds up the hand-drawn pins she was working on. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Angela Summers, sat at a picnic table, working on a portion of a painting that depicts women’s figures. She created and sold two similar paintings a year ago in one of the art auctions Hospitality House hosts, where the proceeds go to the artists. 

Her paintings sold for $600. She says that the community arts program is great. “Everyone who works there is helpful, nice and cool.” 

Angela Summers painting at the park. By Clara-Sophia Daly.

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Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys working at the intersection of art and politics, and focusing on the stories of individuals to reveal larger themes.

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