SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is proud to announce that its long-time partner, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder and Director of A Living Library (A.L.L.) and creator of the prototype, Living Library Nature Walk which links parks, schools, public housing, streets, and other open spaces leading to the currently hidden Islais Creek, is being featured in this year’s Venice Biennale. The international art exhibition in Venice, Italy, began this week and will continue through November. The Living Library Nature Walk will be exhibited as part of Bonnie Ora Sherk’s installation – Evolution of Life Frames: past, present, future.
Bonnie Ora Sherk is a long-time San Francisco and NYC-based artist, landscape architect, educator, and the Founder and Director of Life Frames, Inc., the non-profit sponsor of A Living Library. Her two part installation also features Crossroads Community (the farm), the pioneering, urban agriculture, multi-arts, environmental education, collaborative artwork that resulted in Potrero del Sol Park, incorporated the Chavez/101 Freeway Interchange, and was also one of the first Alternative Art Spaces in the United States. Sherk was the Founding Director and President of Crossroads Community (the farm) from 1974-1980 and made the original drawings for the Park, which will also be exhibited as part of her installation.
SF Rec and Park’s partnership with A Living Library is part of an overall effort to raise awareness of the importance of green space and to encourage community stewardship of neighborhood parks. A Living Library is a powerful and successful prototype for connecting communities in the Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco, and aims to expand throughout the eleven neighborhoods of the Watershed, which include: Noe Valley, Mission, Bernal Heights, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, OMI, Sunnyside, Glen Park – and to also transform its two neglected and flooding freeway interchanges – Chavez/101 and Alemany/101 into Northern and Southern Gateways to the Watershed. A.L.L. also provides multiple opportunities within these resilient landscapes for community and school hands-on education about watersheds and natural systems, flood mitigation, climate change, California native species, environmental justice, green skills job training, ecological transformation, all while creating a sense of place and wonder in the City’s open spaces.
“The Living Library Nature Walk showcases how parks can connect our communities, as well as the innovation of sustainable landscapes that can tackle many environmental challenges including climate change, wild habitat restoration and so much more,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “The fact that this project and the associated SF parks will be on display to receive international recognition, is a testament to Bonnie’s commitment to the coalescence of arts and nature.”
The Venice Biennale has been, for over 120 years, one of the most prestigious arts and cultural institutions in the world. Established in 1895, the Biennale has an attendance today of over 500,000 visitors at the Art Exhibition. The history of the Venice Biennale dates back to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre (the Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival in history). In 1980 the first International Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999, Dance made its debut at the Venice Biennale.
Bonnie Ora Sherk says, “It is a wonderful honor and opportunity to have my work recognized in this significant international art venue. A Living Library, which links local biological, cultural, and technological systems and resources, and results in place-based, ecological transformation of communities and schools with integrated community programs, is actually a planetary genre. A.L.L. is both local and global in its reach, and is meant to be created in diverse communities of the world, interconnected through Green-Powered Digital Gateways, so we can share commonalities and diversities of cultures and ecologies – near and far. A Living Library is Cultivating the Human and Ecological Garden.”
Since 2002, SF Rec and Park has been in partnership with Bonnie and A Living Library helping to coordinate the Bernal Heights Living Library Nature Walk. The goal of A Living Library Nature Walk is to connect people and places in sustainable, ecological environments, and call attention to the importance of our Islais Creek Watershed, California Native Trees and Understory Plants, diverse wildlife species, and opportunities for ecological transformation of our city.
This summer, STEAM + Literacy With A Living Library, a hands-on Stewardship Camp for children in 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grades will be held in July in the Living Library Nature Walk based at St. Mary’s Park and Rec Center. For more information about the Summer Camp and to enroll, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about A Living Library, please visit: www.alivinglibrary.org or contact: email@example.com
Please email for additional photos or Bonnie Ora Sherk’s contact information.