Sarah Koh painted the parklet with friends Alexa Bruce and Laynie. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Sarah Koh works as a yoga instructor, but has recently been expanding her creative efforts.

She had to. After teaching remotely, she said, “You feel like you’re talking to yourself. You don’t have that bouncing back and forth of connection.”  

With her options severely limited, Koh turned to painting and began holding occasional art nights a few months ago in her Valencia Street backyard. 

What began as a small, casual night of painting among her housemates soon grew to include other residents of her building, and invitations to local artists for group lessons. 

“The idea is to bring in local artists and get back into the spirit of creating together and being inspired,” Koh said. 

When Covid-19 cases spiked in San Francisco in December, she cancelled the event, but now hosts it every first Thursday of the month, and hopes to expand it even more. 

Moreover, she is starting to land work through her art. 

One night at Casements, she started talking to someone who works at the Spice Jar and, before she knew it, she had a contract to paint three sections of the restaurant’s parklet. One depicts edible plants and small jars, to “remind people these spices come from plants,” and another features the restaurant’s name on a pink background with sporadic splashes of paint strewn across the wooden planks. The third will be a large tree.

“It’s just nice and colorful. I think sometimes we forget how much art can add to the environment,” Koh said. 

Follow Us

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

Tips can be sent to
Tweets can be found at @jcl_scoop

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Hope Spice Jar treats her as an employee and not 1099 contract worker . Too many companies are screwing employees and not offering benefits . Forcing the government to provide benefits that corporations should. I recommend that she is not only an employee but should unionize . Fantastic artwork , should be compensated accordingly.