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Massive Urban Change



Massive Urban Change

Massive Urban Change creates a space for nuanced dialogue about neighborhood evolution amidst the polarized debates currently surrounding the San Francisco Mission District. Hosted by StorefrontLab from November 7th to December 14th, 2014, the project consists of visual, sculptural and conversational components. It zooms in and zooms out on the controversies by calling attention to historical context while also prioritizing individual experiences within the neighborhood.

The five-week project begins with the installation of a photograph of Mission Street between 15th and 30th Streets. With a nod to Ed Ruscha’s Sunset Strip, this panoramic series will snake around the gallery walls and provide the first layer of what will become a collaged, narrative map of neighborhood evolution, hope, frustration and reinvention.

Open Sat–Wed, 12–5pm, the space will host visitors as both audience members and participants. The artists conduct interviews, do online and historical research, and take suggestions from audience members for how to build out the gallery’s 3D map of changes. At the exhibition opening, visitors will begin the mapping process by speaking to other guests about neighborhood identity, history, pride, distress and hopes for the future. 

Nicole Lavelle and Eliza Gregory are creating a series of graphic postcards for purchase that illuminate the role that the language of commerce plays in forming and representing place-based identity. Each postcard features one or more graphic renderings of business signage from Mission Street, taken from original photographs. The sale of these cards will help fund the project and act as an entry point for conversation around familiar landmarks.

Two of Daniel Garcia’s Switch benches will run down the center of the gallery. These benches subtly encourage conversation by physically suggesting that people sit facing opposite directions: the contours of each bench switch two-thirds of the way along. Made from baltic birch and fixed to welded plate steel legs, the Switch benches reinforce the values of dialogue and community-building that underscore Massive Urban Change.

Artist ( Description ): 

Eliza Gregory is a photographer and a social practice artist with a relationship-focused project style. She has exhibited work at the Princeton Art Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum and the Melbourne Museum. She received her AB from Princeton University and her MFA from Portland State. She collaboratively runs a website dedicated to dialogues around photography and social practice at In January 2015 she will begin a project with SFMOMA that builds relationships between Mission-based high school students and local restaurants. She grew up in San Francisco and lives in the Mission. You can see her work at

Nicole Lavelle is an artist-designer who creates platforms for participation and collaborative publishing. Her work engages people, place, paper, language, and landscape, and is concerned with guest-host and insider-outisder relationships. She is a San Francisco native who has recently been re-transplanted back home after more than a decade, and is currently enrolled in the Social Practice MFA program at the California College of the Arts. Her work can be found at Nicole has designed the visual language for Massive Urban Change, including mapping techniques, brand identity, and templates for presenting interview content.

Daniel Garcia is a designer, furniture maker, woodworker, metalworker and artist based in San Francisco. He has a Bachelor’s of Architecture from California College of the Arts and has supplemented his practice with apprenticeships in a variety of trades in an attempt to bridge the gap between design and fabrication. He currently works for the architecture firm Min|Day. See his work at

Other Info: 

StorefrontLab, located San Francisco's Mission District is a staging ground for urban experiments lasting from one day to a month. In 2014-15, we are presenting City Making, a series of installations, wanderings, happenings, and conversations that look critically and optimistically at our city’s future.

Venue ( Address ): 

StoreFrontLab // 337 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, California 94110

StoreFrontLab , San Francisco


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