The exhibit segment of THE PEOPLE ARE THE PLACE was displayed in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Saturday February 19, 2022. It was oriented around the fountain at the back of the park, where people often sit and hang out. The multi-media installation project consisted of projections, audio recordings, and sculptures. The projections displayed art on the trees in the park and the buildings surrounding, mainly city-owned. The combination of the audio recordings and the projections emanated the feeling of being underwater. As you walked around to the different sculptures set up, you could hear pieces of the audio recordings. The audio recordings included people discussing life in encampments and issues affecting the unhoused. The sculptures appeared to be made of mostly salvaged materials and reflected the visual characteristics of encampments. Attendees wandered around to the various sculptures, listening intently to the audio recordings or catching up with friends. There were about thirty attendees throughout the evening. Here is what some of them had to say:
Elizabeth attended the show to support her son D’art whose art was being showcased.
“It’s very nice to see D’art’s work after all the terrible things that have happened to him
on the streets … he was shot through the leg. It feels like the mark of a beginning.”
Marcia found out about the event through Suzi, the event coordinator.
“I love the sculptural parts, and the lamps are so beautiful. You can feel the connection
with the trees and the stars. It feels like the encampments where the residents are so
inspiring. People get it [homelessness] so wrong, and this shows it the right way. It
reminds me of the Albany Bulb where a lot of people lived, and it used to be beautiful;
there was a lot of art there.”
Morgan came to the show to support her coworker, one of the artists.
“I like that each piece has a story and is made out of materials that have been salvaged.
There is such a contrast with this art and the new, big buildings it’s being presented on.
People don’t notice the beauty of encampments, or even look at encampments.”
Niv heard about the event through a friend.
“I appreciate that it’s public-facing in its concept, process, and installation. Not a lot of
places do that. I like that Suzi is in collaboration with the artists. It is representing the
disenfranchised, but it’s not worded like that. It’s radical and needed.”
“The show is looking at the beauty and celebrating joy. It doesn’t reflect bias or a savior
Amanda heard about the show because she frequently comes to the park to pass out harm
“It’s interesting to see the art presented on city buildings and in government spaces
because of the lawsuits and the displacements by Caltrans that affected the community. It
makes you think about how the police responded to the people living here.”
Noah attended the event because he happened to already be in the park.
“It is creating an experience of a place instead of giving someone the perception. It’s
giving people experience through art—the combination of all the sounds and feeling it. A
painting is only a visual stimulus. This is visual and auditory. The surroundings and
experiencing the location also contributes to the experience.
Emma Hegenbart is a Youth Spirit Artworks intern who is currently working on developing the Street Spirit events calendar.