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CASA 20th Anniversary Art Show @ SOMARTS 1/19- 1/21

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It hardly seems possible, but the Children’s After School Arts (CASA) program at Rooftop Elementary is turning twenty this year. Since 1997 the non-profit educators and artists in residence up on Twin Peaks have been versing the youth of San Francisco not just in the creative arts, but combining that with social justice an emotional development.

How fitting that the night before the parade of filth and ignorance oozes down Pennsylvania Avenue, the children of San Francisco will light the dark with their inspiration, intelligence, and talent at CASA’s 20th Anniversary Art Show, Me, Myself & I: An Exploration of Identity. The exhibition explores gender and identity with youth six through twelve and will include highlights such as “piñatas that allow participants to ‘bash’ gender stereotypes and find the treasures within, t-shirts with gender empowering slogans, gender neutral restroom signs, portraits of trans activists, a pronoun parade, and large scale autobiographical pop-up books.”

Every year the folks at CASA are lucky and dedicated enough to work with around 300 kids from Kindergarten through the Sixth Grade.  This show, thanks to a generous grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, is an impressive testament not just to the good work these folks do, but also to the kids themselves. In a world where the “adults” have trouble wrapping their heads around seeming no brainers such as climate change, much less what’s going on inside, how are our slightly shorter counterparts so much, well, wiser?

Head curator and instructor, Ammo Eisu, probably says it the best,


‘As a trans person of color, I had a lot of anxiety talking to the kids about identity, particularly gender identity.’

‘When planning curriculum, I found very few resources that came from a radical & evolved perspective. Ultimately, I came to find that my anxiety came from my own life experiences of being “othered”. In speaking with the CASA kids, I found that expanding gender from the well-known binary to a full and multidimensional spectrum, truly is not revolutionary for them. Kids are naturally drawn to social justice. Born with an innate sense of inclusion, they are often more open than adults to the very real existence of diversity.

While our kids might not yet have a firm grasp on their own identity; hopefully, the very act of deconstructing and challenging norms and stereotypes will lead them to find their own unique place in the universe.’


CASA (Children’s After School Arts) 20th Anniversary Art Show:

Exploring gender & identity with youth ages 6-12

Thursday, January 19, 2017 (Opening Reception) 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 21, 2017(Closing Reception & Student Performance) 6 p.m.

Gallery hours: 12 p.m.- 6 p.m.

SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan Street (@ Ninth Street)
[South of Market]

Author’s Note:  The original post stated that the program itself was a beneficiary of a grant from the San Francisco Arts commision.  It has been changed to reflect that it is the art show itself. -S.J.T.

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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.