by the People’s Minister of Information JR
“Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party” is Saturday, July 18, from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, at SOMArts, 934 Brannan St. in San Francisco. This art exhibition will feature some of the hottest artists in the Bay Area, including Emory Douglas, Sage Stargate, Duane Deterville, Karen and Malik Seneferu and others.
The night will pay tribute to the Bay Area’s rebel rousers, independents and outliers. I chopped it up with the curator and organizer Melorra Green about this Saturday’s event and also about the power and function of art in our society.
M.O.I. JR: How long have you been involved in organizing artists around the Bay?
Melorra: I started organizing with my twin sister, Melonie Green, in 2007 with an event called Music ‘n Film Conference that transitioned to a monthly event called Bring Your Own Art. Prior to that we volunteered, managed ticket sales and co-executive produced the San Francisco Black Film Festival over four years from 2005-2009. It has been quite a journey full of successes, failures, connections and discovery of family. I would not trade the last 10 years for anything.
M.O.I. JR: What do you do for SOMArts and how long have you been there?
Melorra: In September of last year, I began working as the curator for Inquiry and Impact.
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us about your upcoming event this weekend?
Melorra: This weekend SOMArts comes to life with its fifth annual event, “Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party,” a one-night-only, multidisciplinary, social-practice programming event for the exhibition “Making a Scene: Fifty Years of Bay Area Alternative Spaces.” “Making a Scene” is a six-week group exhibition that presents the history of Bay Area alternative spaces, highlights the pioneers and contemporary trailblazers of social justice, and features art and installations by current and historic Bay Area artists.
On July 18, 2015, this series of “Night Light” will pay homage to the rebel rousers, troublemakers, independents and outliers living and in the after-life. “Night Light” will illuminate the ways in which we make a scene in the face of injustice, create our own spaces when displaced and feature the art of performing and media artists.
The exhibition will be on display July 9 through August 2015 and features Rene Yañez’s Dia de los Muertos installations and his historic founding of Latino focused alternative art spaces; Emory Douglas and his revolutionary art for the Black Panther Party; Media Burn by Ant Farm and Chip Lord, which repositioned media performance art in public; and Annie Sprinkle’s Pollination Pod, a mobile museum of alternative sexual identity.
M.O.I. JR: What is the importance of art in our society?
Melorra: Artists are the storytellers of their time and most often it is the artist who tells the truth, without a buy-in or motive. Art can serve as the barometer of the time in which it is created. It allows us to even look back and learn from our ancestors and their struggles and triumphs.
M.O.I. JR: What does it do for the individual?
Melorra: We as individuals sometimes look to art to give us language for what we feel, to inspire us, give us outlets of creativity, and serve as a means to truly understand other ways to communicate. Art can be healing. Art can be provocative. Art can be educational. And art can be reflective.
M.O.I. JR: How could people keep up with what you have going at SOMArts?
Melorra: The community can visit www.somarts.org for updates on events, workshops and classes.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.