ABD Productions – a San Francisco-based multicultural organization committed to inspiring social change and awakening our collective humanity through the arts – birthed the Skywatchers Program in 2011. For the last ten years, Skywatchers has been bringing artists into durational, collaborative relationships with residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, interrogating the poverty industrial complex and positioning community voices into the civic discourse through the arts. Skywatchers is rooted in the belief that relationship is the first site of social change, that large-scale transformation begins with intimate, interpersonal interaction, and that all stakeholders are transformed in this process – artists, participants, and witnesses. Dedicated to creating works of art rooted in resident lives and experiences, we hold weekly rehearsals and arts-based meetings in supportive housing sites throughout the Tenderloin, a youth program in collaboration with Larkin Street, and a leadership training program in collaboration with Glide Foundation’s Center for Social Justice. Associate Artistic Directors Malia Byrne, Dazié Grego Sykes, and Anne Bluethenthal, Resident Artists Shakiri, Gabriel Christian, and Deirdre Visser join an ensemble of 10-20 Tenderloin residents and artists who co-create the multi-disciplinary art works and collaborate in partnership with over a dozen Tenderloin non-profits and community groups.
pictured: Lawanna Bracy, Joel Yates, Shavonne Wong in ABD/Skywatchers’ “Resilience and Resistance in the Containment Zone” 2019.