In. Fb. Tw.

WILLIAM RHODES

— Threaded Memories, Juke City Harlem of the West —
William Rhodes was born in Baltimore, MD and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. He later received a BA in Furniture Building and Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. His creative works are in the collections of various galleries and museums. Most recently, his work was included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Along with his studio art practice; he dedicates part of his time developing Intergenerational community based art projects and hosting art classes and tours throughout Italy. He is the co-founder of a Black art collective in San Francisco called 3.9. The 3.9 Art Collective was formed in 2011 in response to the declining Black population in San Francisco.

The San Francisco African American Senior Narrative Quilt Project

The San Francisco African American Senior Narrative Quilt Project is a series of quilts which include portraits of African American seniors living in San Francisco. Each portrait becomes a historical record of the people that help shared this city. With the steady population decline of San Francisco African Americans; I felt this project was of great importance. For me it was a race against time since many of the seniors that participated in this project were in their 60’s 70’s and 80’s. I not only wanted the quilts to serve as a documentation of this community, I needed to chronical their history. I decide to add a video component to this project. Several seniors were interviewed and videotaped sharing their stories of being an African American growing up in San Francisco. The majority of the seniors that participated in this project live in the Bayview/ Hunters Point or the Fillmore community. The San Francisco African American Senior Narrative Quilts is not just focusing on the displacement of Black people but it also highlights key locations in San Francisco that used to be thriving Black communities. More importantly, this work helps us to imagine a better future with what’s already been proven to be possible in years before. Elements of the past, present and future come to mind when creating this project. By working on this quilt project I have found that it has given me direction even when I feel lost in my current struggles.

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