Art exhibit and actors workshop at Bayview Opera House

by Barbara Ockel

Mary-Booker-0411, Art exhibit and actors workshop at Bayview Opera House, Culture Currents Jacques Terzian, 89, founded the largest artist colony in the nation at the Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco. An accomplished artist himself, the first retrospective ever of his work will be shown at the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre in the heart of the Bayview Hunters Point district.

A celebration honoring Jacques is planned for May 15, 2-5 p.m.

The art exhibit, open from April 2 – June 5 at the BVOH, will feature two additional shipyard artists, Joe Sam and Stephen Namara. Stephen’s native country is Kenya, and he is known for his exquisite drawings of things and people with a surrealist touch. Joe Sam has made a name for himself in public art and for including children in his creative process. An example of his work can be seen in the tiles inside Bayview’s Martin Luther King Pool.

Jacques Terzian is an artist and businessman who in 1984 sublet vacant buildings at the decommissioned Hunters Point Shipyard to artists at affordable prices. Despite his age of 60 plus, he crawled under dilapidated buildings, replaced rusted water lines and boarded up windows, re-established electrical service, and built walls to create the art studios that over 300 artists, along with a few musicians and small businesses, quickly occupied. His children, Paula and David Terzian, worked alongside him to make the business a lasting success, and David oversees “The Point” Artist Colony today.

Jacques Terzian’s work has mostly been exhibited at the Hunters Point Shipyard during Open Studios events and is now coming to the heart of the Bayview. Jacques has created his sculptures from old wood patterns for machining tools, scrap iron and other found objects from the shipyard.

A reception and celebration, planned for Sunday, May 15, will honor Jacques Terzian along with other artists and activists for their many years of work devoted to keeping art studios open at the shipyard. Eviction was threatened more than once, starting with the Navy’s intention to homeport the USS Missouri there in 1987. Numerous artists and small business people formed an organization (now STAR) that successfully organized resistance and garnered the support of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, among others, to keep the artists in their studios, and some early activists will be honored as well.

Mary Booker’s Actors Workshop May 3 – July 24

Mary L. Booker has been teaching acting at the Bayview Opera House since 2003. Her popular workshops are based on the Stanislavski method, which focuses on the inner emotion and spirit of the actor that is drawn out in the performance to give it power and authenticity. This intensive workshop will take place Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., and culminate in the play, “A Little Piece of God,” to be performed at the BVOH July 16-17 and 23-24. The workshop is open to all adults with or without prior acting experience, and mature younger teens are admitted occasionally. Fee for the workshop is $210 and limited financial aid is available.

For more information, contact the Bayview Opera House at 415-824-0386 or email