May 28, 2009

SFAI presents Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario

San Francisco Art Institute
Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario 1989-2009
Sergio De La Torre
Credit: Rosario Sotelo
Sergio De La Torre–Karla Claudio BetancourtDina RoumiantsevaWenhua Shi, Rosario Alicia SoteloChris Treggiari

Based on the methodology used for Maquilapolis, a documentary film project developed by De La Torre and Vicky Funari for which twelve factory workers in Tijuana, Mexico, were taught to use cameras and editing equipment so they could tell their own stories, Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario, 1989 – 2009 will similarly involve its subjects as creative participants, thereby directly situating the work in the exhibition within the milieu out of which it was generated. Together with testimonies by family members directly involved in the raids and commentaries by local politicians on San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city, the exhibition’s video projections will be screened guerrilla-style–both during and after the exhibition–on the facades of those buildings throughout the city that have been raided by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Lead Artist Bio
A photographer and performance/installation artist who grew up in the Tijuana/San Diego border area and migrated to San Francisco, Sergio De La Torre focuses his work on issues regarding diaspora, tourism, immigration, and identity politics. Previous to Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario, 1989-2009, he collaborated with both local and international nonprofit organizations on Maquilapolis (developed with Vicki Funari), a documentary film about factory workers in Tijuana; on the project Power in the House, a series of digitally produced cards that narrate the relations between Mexican American teenagers and their immigrant parents; on The Housing Project, in which teens and other local collaborators explore how the shortage of affordable housing transforms private into public spaces; and on SFAI-sponsored Agit-Van, a series of guerrilla-style projections from an on-the-spot cinema truck equipped with a video projector and sound system that work to transport art practice beyond museums and galleries to more participatory and inclusive spaces. De La Torre is assistant professor in the Department of Art and Architecture at the University of San Francisco.

Supported by the Creative Work Fund (see below), Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario, 1989-2009 is presented in collaboration with SFAI’s Exhibitions and Public Programs, which are supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Also assisting in making Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario, 1989–2009 possible were Therese Agnew, Carolina Bilsborough Barnes, Benjamin Canning-Pereira, Evan Cowell, Erika Crail, Minesh Govenji, Morgan Henderson, Andrew Hutcheson, Rachel LeBlanc, Angelica Loza, Jenna Lunsford, Danae Moore, Alejandra Rodriguez Bandala, Samantha Roger, Dominic Sondag, Peter Tschann-Grimm, Stephanie Whitney, and Ashley Williamson.

San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art in the US. Focusing on the interdependence of thinking, making, and learning, SFAI’s academic and public programs are dedicated to excellence and diversity.

SFAI’s School of Studio Practice concentrates on developing the artist’s vision through studio experiments and is based on the belief that artists are an essential part of society. It offers a BFA, an MFA, and a Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Design and Technology, Film, New Genres, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture/Ceramics.

SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies is motivated by the premise that critical thinking and writing, informed by an in-depth understanding of theory and practice, are essential for engaging contemporary global society. It offers degree programs in Exhibition and Museum Studies (MA only), History and Theory of Contemporary Art (BA and MA), and Urban Studies (BA and MA).

SFAI’s Dual Degree MA/MFA program is ideally designed for students who seek a deep and balanced immersion in both theoretical discourse and art practice. A three-year commitment, the degree consists in an MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art and an MFA in any area of study within the School of Studio Practice (see above).

For more information about this exhibition and other public or academic programs at SFAI, please go to or call 415 749 4563.

Creative Work Fund
The Creative Work Fund is a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund; it is also supported by generous grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.

Queen’s Nails Projects
Queen’s Nails Projects (QNP) is a curatorial platform dedicated to presenting collaborative, site-specific, and experimental projects by both artists and independent curators. Codirected and curated by Bay Area visual artists Mike Bianco and Julio César Morales, QNP aims to challenge both emerging and established cultural producers to work outside their normal practice in order to produce new and unique projects.

San Francisco Art Institute
Queen’s Nails Projects
3191 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 415 314 6785
Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 to 6:00pm or by appointment
Free and open to the public

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