Ourshelves: an intimate and growing library

November 1, 2011

Kristina Kearns is the mastermind behind a small book-lined room at the back of a fascinating private-public space in San Francisco’s Mission district. She was recently awarded a $1000 Awesome Foundation grant. I recently toured the space and followed up with some questions for Kristina (and am currently reading the book she recommended for me after a return visit to this fascinating space) Jesse: How do you explain “Ourshelves” to people who have never heard of it before? Kristina: Ourshelves is a space designed to share appreciation for literature. It’s not government-funded like the public library, and it isn’t monetarily focused like a bookshop. It’s about sharing good literature — whether sharing suggestions, long conversations over tea, coffee and sometimes whiskey, lending books to the community, or putting little-known work on the shelf. It’s also about sharing possibilities about what publishing can be. San Francisco is one of the most literary cities in the world, still it doesn’t yet have a space completely dedicated to literature. That’s what Ourshelves strives to be. How did the idea of Ourshelves first come about? The idea of Ourshelves came about when I returned to San Francisco after spending some months living in an idyllic… read more →

Talking Process and Projects with Wendy MacNaughton

October 27, 2011

Wendy MacNaughton is an artist and illustrator living in San Francisco. She was recently awarded a $1,000 Awesome Foundation Grant to help fund Meanwhile: The San Francisco Public Library in it’s own Words— a narrative and illustrative documentary “about the people who work [at libraries], who use them, and how they serve as a community hub for many people, including the aging and homeless.” Wendy’s unique vision and observations pace themselves well in the scrolling narrative to be found online and in a newly published book. She has done a series of Meanwhiles and you can always find them on the Rumpus. I’ve been talking with Wendy a bit about her project— on the phone, over dinner with other Awesome Trustees, and by email: Why the San Francisco Public Library? Wendy: My partner Caroline Paul is a writer and voracious reader who never buys books, only borrows them from the library. I think she suggested it first. And a dear friend of mine, Anne Wintroub, was working at Friends of the [San Francisco Public] Library at the time—she suggested it as well and created the opportunity. Without her introductions to Jill Bourne, the deputy city librarian, and Michelle Jeffers, the… read more →

“Meanwhile” – Documenting the Microcommunities of San Francisco

April 13, 2011

Tim Hwang reporting in here for Awesome Foundation San Francisco! We’re thrilled to announce that this months winner of the Awesome Fellowship is Wendy MacNaughton, a brilliant artist and illustrator living here in the Bay Area. She’s been working recently on a series called “Meanwhile” — narrative comics exploring the thicket of awesome microcommunities nestled within San Francisco. Previous comics have explored the Market Street Chess Players, The Dolphin Club Bay Swimmers, Dog Walkers, Farmer’s Market Farmers and Mission Bartenders. They’re all tremendously fun to read, and are worth checking out here. For this month, she’s worked out a partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, and will be spending a month interviewing and drawing the folks who work there, and exploring the people who use the libraries as a community hub. Best of all (and we’re still working out the details) but the SFPL has agreed to either show the outcome of the project in their readers cafe at Fort Mason, or (better yet) help make little books of it that can be on display and for sale at libraries, the cafe and bookstores in SF (with proceeds going to the library!) You can see more of Wendy’s work… read more →

One Hundred Dinosaurs at AF-San Francisco!

March 18, 2011

Over at AF-San Francisco, we’ve been a little bit obsessed lately by the “X a day” category of Foundation applications. They’re discrete, highly do-able, and result in a ton of awesome products being released into the universe. We had such a great time seeing Meredith Scheff’s Scarf-A-Day project take shape last month that we decided to follow up that grant with another project that takes the model in a entirely new and great direction. To that end, thrilled to announce that our March Awesome Fellowship goes out to the endlessly wonderful Bay Area artist Adam Davis, who is embarking on a mission to paint one hundred bite-sized (around 4” x 4”) and big sized (yet to come!) paintings of dinosaurs over the next month or so. He will then engage in a worldwide hide-and-seek game, caching the dinosaurs in secret locations and releasing clues (some clues leading to yet more clues) to their location on his project blog. Once the dinosaurs are located, they are yours to keep. Four have been located so far around the Bay Area (including this crazy story and the first dinosaur being hidden at the weird and wonderful Jejune Institute), and there’s many more on… read more →

An @awesome party, indeed!

February 22, 2011

Next month will mark the 1-year anniversary of the Awesome Foundation San Francisco, and we thought, “Close enough. Let’s have a party!” So on Sunday, February 13th, we held our first Awesome Foundation SF party (hopefully the first of many to come), and invited past recipients and friends to come celebrate with us. In true Awesome fashion, what started off as a just-for-fun get together turned into an inspiring look at how micro-financing of local innovators can encourage large-scale change. The party was produced on a modest budget with each trustee chipping in just enough to supply a little hummus, some wine, and perhaps 1 too many cases of beer (my bad). Hosted by the lovely people of PariSoma in downtown San Francisco, the spirited crowd was a diverse collection of go-getting artists, scientists, DIY makers, and general do-gooders. Jesse Taggert, our Dean of Awesome, kicked off the party with a few introductions to the trustees and a quick congrats to this year’s recipients. Then, since most of them have never met one another, each recipient got an opportunity to say a few words about their project and give thanks to their amazing partners in crime. And thanks to Rod… read more →