October 1, 2010

The Color Project on Duncan Street

Kate of Duncan St is a design student at California College of the Arts (CCA) and wrote us about her latest project -- which sounds very charming:
I am working on a site specific design problem, which happens to be the block I live on. The block is very quiet-no parties, no chatty neighbors, no teenagers, no games on the sidewalk, and no one hangs out on their front steps for any extended periods. All the paint colors fall within a very small palate of beige, off-beige, yellow beige, and a little cream here and there. I am working on an installation of temporary color to encourage a little more engagement and community on our block. Our neighborhood is safe, and our street has plenty of potential- wide sidewalks, big front stoops, kids, and friendly grad students. For the past three weeks I have installed color flags on the street- this week I have made color pendants, which are currently hanging from trees, across sidewalks, scaffolding and from windows. My hope is, with a little playfulness, these flags might inspire more fun on our street.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of the color project, or responding with the right kind of "engagement." The flags have been stolen, the neighbors have complained... you get the picture. She blogs about the project here, here, and here. If you want to help or learn more, you can drop her an email at the address shown on the flyer image (click to enlarge). Our just give her some encouragement in the comments.

[Mi Piace Kate Design]

18 comments:

SFbooster said...

From what I have read, I think Kate is clearly "mis-guided" in her attempt to "inspire more fun on our street"..


Seriously, how are little colorful flags going to encourage more friendliness and more interaction between neighbors? I really would like to know.

Here's some thoughts, and trust me I have accomplished some of these activities myself;

* get rid of the wide sidewalks and encourage neighbors to add curbside landscaping, more trees, more flowers, local benches. The wide concrete sidewalks of Noe V are one of our worst attributes.

* encourage dog owners, your neighbors and mine, to clean up their dog shit that they so often leave in front of our houses. Respect the street, respect your neighbors.

BTW: Tell me Kate, what do "friendly grad students" have to do with anything about making your street more fun? This I want to know.

Anonymous said...

SFbooster, are you Rocky's Dad or are you a parody of Rocky's Dad? It's hard to tell.

Seriously, though, congratulations on accomplishing some of those activities yourself. You sound very knowledgeable about friendliness and everything.

Anonymous said...

Kate. You rock! Nice work! Grumpy neighbors... you suck!

SFbooster said...

I'm very excited to hear from Kate about how these flags and the friendly grad students have absolutely anything to do with making the street more friendly.

So how bout it kate?

Anonymous said...

Why is Rocky's Dad using SF Booster now? We can easily identify you.

Anonymous said...

I like it.

Mi Piace Kate Design said...

oh hey, Kate here, sorry to keep you waiting SF Booster, I was busy making flags all day!

My flag project is about trying to create some color and amusement on Duncan Street because the 100 block is particularly colorless. It is a beige land of beige houses here friend! Color is fun you know?

I see a lot of potential for social activities and neighborly behavior here- and I thought some playful flags might start to encourage some conversation, maybe some laughs, and at the very least, it will bring some color to Duncan Street.

Since the post here, I've had numerous requests for flags, and not just on my block- people seem to be enjoying the flags, and gasp, getting excited about the project.

I consider myself to be a fairly friendly grad student- I pick up trash on the street, I make flags, I say hi to my neighbors, I share lemons from our tree, and I don't take things too seriously. All your ideas sound amazing though, and I would hate to suggest that my flags will change urban development, naughty pet owners, and other problems on these hard Noe Valley streets. Maybe you could share some of your fun techniques here with us!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to see signs of happiness in the hood. Go, Kate!

Anonymous said...

I support Kate!

I don't know her, and I haven't seen the flags, but you'd have to be a pretty sad individual to pick a fight with someone who's trying to do something nice.

Anonymous said...

I'm a neighbor on Duncan St. and I find the flags nothing but childish visual pollution. I don't want them in front of my house.

Anonymous said...

I am not a neighbor on Duncan St. but stumbled across this blog, and Wow- "childish visual pollution"? ... that is so sad! I understand the idea and feeling of a clean aesthetic, but you must have more important things to be consternated about. Isn't it nice to know that someone nice is living near you? Someone who doesn't want to rob your home or blare loud music late at night? People could just treat you like crap the next time they see you. Like call you ugly and say you're boring. I feel you are taking for granted the people around you. You should start a community that is called "I Think Colors & Communities Are Childish Visual Polluters" and see how many people join you in your community.

I thought San Francisco was an artistic city. I now know there are people like you there too.

Anonymous said...

Sorry sweetie, you're missing the point of my comment. And you're making silly assumptions about me.
I am still not making the social connection between Katie's flags and improving the neighborhood. I'd love to hear more of her reasoning and thinking behind her idea.

If not, I feel her colorful flags remain nothing more than that. No substance. No depth.

Do tell us more Katie.

murphstahoe said...

"I feel her colorful flags remain nothing more than that. No substance. No depth."

I thought Stephen Fowler left Noe Valley....

Anonymous said...

You know, if we want to look at it scientifically, we should look for other examples of how colorful flags have impacted the personality of other blocks...

Fortunately for this experiment's sake - there is another example of a house in Noe Valley decorated with colorful flags...

On the block of Jersey between Noe and Castro....

Sahar said...

Kate!

You are brilliant! And, as always, you have a great sense of humor! Yes, to colorful flags. I like how the flags are ambiguous and random. I think that evokes inquiry and interpretation, and eventually conversation among those passing by, among those living on the street. Hey, that sounds like community-building!

Keep it up!

Sahar

Anonymous said...

Kate- thanks for the burst of color offered by this *temporary* art installation!

Anonymous said...

I passed by the flags and liked them because of the crafty do it yourself aesthetic as well as color. once i read the little tag i thought, i want a flag. i agree that the streets sometimes feel vacant and without the vibrant energy one might expect from a city street. though i suppose that's also the appeal of living in this neighborhood. i think an attempt to communicate a 'hello neighbor' in this subtle and temporary installation way is great. it could lead to conversation, which could lead to who knows what? much less pricey then sidewalk landscaping and parkbenches, not that those are bad ideas, just different. I say good for Kate for taking a chance, it's important for artists to take chances, not always will they work but what's the point in crushing someone's attempt at beauty?

Anonymous said...

I'll walk down and check these out, but from the pictures here I'm getting a distinct "I wish Burning Man was all year long" vibe.

They flyer asks what the reader wants Duncan St. to be, and I'm guessing that valid answers have to include this project's continued existence.