By Andrea Lynn March 23, 2018
I wasn't at The 1967 Summer of Love, but I bet the people who participated in that iconic gathering in Haight-Ashbury were a lot like those I met in the inspired Desai l Matta Gallery at CIIS on February 10.
We gathered to celebrate those who made volume seven of Mission At Tenth, CIIS' inter-arts journal, possible. We honored the voices of contributing artists working in a variety of disciplines to illuminate social issues manifesting in San Francisco and in the larger collective. There wasn't enough time during the launch party to scratch the surface, to begin to comprehend the inspiration and mission driving these accomplished artists' work. I wanted to take them all home with me so the urgency of the moment would stay pressed into my mind—so I could learn from all of them and keep hope breathing.
Fortunately, inside Mission At Tenth their voices are alive; spending time in the journal's pages feels like a road map for the intellect—and for the heart.
Conversation Across the Arts
Standing among the artists, staring down on my own copy of Mission At Tenth, I recognized the significance of the inter-arts conversation pouring out before I even cracked the volume's binding. As CIIS MFA Program Chair Cindy Shearer pointed out during the launch party, since its inception, Mission At Tenth has held the conversation manifesting across the arts—a reflection of where we are in the moment.
The riveting cover art by San Francisco artist Mark Harris, titled "Pride and Prejudice," beckoned and began the urgent conversation. Mark said he was moved to create the piece after the tragic mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. "The story rocked me to the core," he shared. "This was my response; it was deep. Real. Raw."
Adding my own voice here: I cannot comprehend how we are witness to such a calamity yet again. How could we possibly go forward without artists like those who occupy the pages of Mission At Tenth—the peaceful torchbearers relentlessly insisting on social change?
The discussion within the journal's pages is broad and deep, from the intensity shining out of William Rhodes' art (Rhodes is the founder of San Francisco's Three Point Nine Art Collective), to Sarah Stone's penetrating observations about the pain we inflict on one another. Playwright Erik Ehn's "Norway" takes readers into the real and uncomfortable and vital moment, "... leaving space for the unnamable event to take place," as he explained at the gathering. (Mission At Tenth Managing Editor Julie Levak-Madding recommended reading "Norway" in one sitting. I took her advice and agree completely!)
Richly curated by editors Randall Babtkis and Carolyn Cooke, the journal puts a close lens to the gentrification of the 7.3 miles of Mission Street on which CIIS is located (San Francisco's oldest neighborhood). The inspiration for this feature was a 2017 show produced at Desai l Matta Gallery by CIIS Arts Curator Deirdre Visser called, "To Be And To Become: Mission Street, San Francisco."
The new volume also includes research gathered at Burning Man by contributing writer Rosalie Barnes, who spent eight years working for the art collective and is currently writing its oral history. Referring to Burning Man, Barnes told me, "The power is the making of meaning through an event that is about community." Her words also apply, it seems to me, to Mission At Tenth.
You can purchase your own copy of Mission At Tenth, Volume Seven (Cover Price $10). Contact email@example.com (online ordering capabilities coming soon!).
If you see me in the hallways of our beloved University, we can sit down in the café and read a while together—discover—spend time in community. I would like that.
Andrea Lynn is a CIIS MFA student in the Writing and Consciousness program. When she's not writing, she is running with her dog, Tumble, or making photos to chronicle a disappearing nature. Like all those involved in climate activism, she's extremely worried, she says.