We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
Number 11 of the Tao Te Ching is one of my favorite chapters.
I am drawn to the phrases as; the center, the emptiness, the inner space. They all refer to the importance of what is inside—the place where life happens, where meaning is created, ideas formulated, or where magic flourishes.
The character of San Francisco’s space is being transformed as new buildings sprout skyward or germinate on paper. As these new spaces emerge, other are disappearing— through demolition, gentrification, or evictions, due to the increase of rent.
Many of the buildings that are being destroyed or repurposed were cultural spaces. Places where theater, art, dance, literature, music, or new media, flourished.
As these spaces disappear, so does our culture, and our sense of history.
Cultural Space Coalition
This group was created as a response to the loss of San Francisco’s cultural spaces. The first meeting was on March 19, 2015 at Alley Cat Books. I am part of this group. Eleven were present. The attendees included artists or groups, such as ArtSpan, TODCO, and two independent book stores.
Individually, we can do only so much. But as a group, we can be powerful. Our intention is to consolidate the one into many, then, formulate actions to preserve and create cultural spaces in San Francisco. It is a daunting task, for sure. As one drop is not an ocean, but many drops added together, and many it will take, to turn this tidal wave around.
Next meeting: April, 30th, 6:30pm, Alley Cat Books on 24th Street in the Mission.