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Modeled on Wikipedia, the Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive is an online regional archive for socially-engaged art practices and creative political activism. This community archive documents the prolific and longstanding tradition of art and activism in the Bay Area to provide context and inspiration for future generations of artists and activists. The Bay Area Society for Art & Activism invites everyone to recall and contribute historical work as well as to record current work on this collaboratively edited site. Drawing on the rich resources of Collective Memory, the archive also provides content for arts-integrated social justice curricula for Bay Area teaching artists, educators, and their students.

Look What We FoundSF

Here's a curated selection of amazing images and articles from our friends at Shaping San Francisco and FoundSF:

Beatnik parade downtown in Union Square, August 13, 1958. Photo: Bancroft Library

Collective Memory Featured Articles

Making A Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces

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From July 9–August 20, 2015, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's fiscal sponsor, SOMArts Cultural Center, presents Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. As a key contributor to the exhibition, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism will be opening up our Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive and online History Collection Lab, to support online and offline efforts to gather, organize, and share archival material from Bay Area alternative spaces and this monumental exhibition.

"Making a Scene, which received critical support from the National Endowment of the Arts, spotlights a rich history of Bay Area artist-run, independent and alternative spaces, as well as the pioneers and contemporary trailblazers of social justice who utilized these spaces as a catalyst and megaphone... Archival material from more than 20 individuals and spaces, and art and installations by more than 30 current and historic Bay Area artists, unite the featured spaces’ disparate, yet overlapping and contingent histories of cultural engagement, community development and social justice."

More information about the exhibition here.

Bay Area Art & Activism Timeline

As part of 'Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area', curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with Shellmounds, the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.

Click here to contribute and learn more.

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About the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism

The Bay Area Society for Art & Activism is a diverse and intergenerational community celebrating the way artists and activists engage with issues of social justice, hope, freedom, history, democracy, love, labor, class, the environment and more.

For decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has cultivated a unique culture of art and social justice activism that is admired around the world. Inspired by historic friendly and mutual-aid societies, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism’s mission is to celebrate and sustain this distinctive tradition by providing opportunities and resources for local artists, curators and activists . Emboldened by the wave of evictions in 2013-14 and the threat to art and activist communities presented by skyrocketing housing costs, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism is working with our fiscal sponsor, SOMArts Cultural Center, to expand the reach and scope of our offerings and to deepen the claim of art and activism as essential features of San Francisco’s cultural landscape.

Our goal is to cultivate art and activism as vital regional values and to provide opportunities and resources to Bay Area artists, curators and activists so that they can continue to create the incredible work that makes the Bay Area a beacon of subversive, socially-engaged art and visionary grassroots activism. We are a member-supported, fiscally-sponsored nonprofit collective and do not manage any physical spaces or full-time staff. Membership contributions, grants, and gifts are our primary means of financial support. " Join us!