Inaugural Exhibition: OPEN

Exhibition Description
OPEN commences with a series of fundraising events, public celebrations and workshops.  Including new works from three pioneers in the field of digital art, OPEN celebrates GAFFTA’s arrival as San Francisco’s leading digital arts organization and cornerstone of The City’s emerging Tenderloin Arts District (see full calendar of Grand Opening events below).

The multidisciplinary works in OPEN span a range of formats and techniques: from prints and sculptures to interactive video, generative processes and cartography.  While the styles of each featured artists are unique and diverse, all the works in GAFFTA’s Inaugural Exhibition exemplify the core values of our organization’s creative vision and civic mission: technology, community and openness.

Main Gallery: C.E.B Reas
C.E.B. Reas
C.E.B Reas is a principal player in the software art movement and co-creator of the free, open-source programming language Process­ing.  Reas’s vast body of work explores natural processes through the lens of digital media. His software installations, unique prints and relief sculptures are inspired by biology, natural intelligence and the principles of emergence. The possibilities of interaction are outlined in code, where structures evolve through a series of actions and where movements are unique elements within given parameters. Beyond his own body of work is the instrumental foundation he has laid with the creation of Processing for the growth of a new wave of software artists and design­ers.  In addition to a collection of recent works from Reas, three new pieces will be debuted at OPEN: “Network A”, “Network B” and “Surface”.

Tendorama Gallery: Camille Utterback

Camille Utterback’s interactive video piece “Liquid Time” will be the first featured work in the Tendorama Window Gallery Project, a series of rotating bi-monthly installations in the gallery’s prominent 15’ x 8’ front display windows facing Taylor Street. Utterback’s exploration is a series of pieces filmed in the surrounding neighborhood and projected back in the gallery window where the imagery of time, as well as space, is disrupted by the motions of passer-bys. This vibrant, site-specific window installation will feature video filmed in locations throughout the Tenderloin and will be viewable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by residents and visitors of the Tenderloin.

Mezzanine Gallery: Stamen Design

San Francisco-based Stamen Design will debut a series of interactive and printed pieces that allow visitors to explore the Tenderloin through a series of different maps and mappings. Using data from the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District, public data made available by the City of San Francisco’s, and other data sets, the project will provide a unique view on this fascinating neighborhood.

The Tenderloin has many faces: National Register Historic District, entry point to San Francisco’s immigrant population, notoriously vice-ridden streets, home to diverse communities and the city’s largest population of children, seat of some of the city’s oldest architecture, the only largely working-class neighborhood within the downtown area, and birthplace of the sexual liberation movement predating the Stonewall riots. Most recently, a new wave of artistic and cultural activity (including GAFFTA) is changing the face of the neighborhood once again. Using real world geographic, demographic and cartographic data, this exhibition will offer unique perspectives and unexpected insight to this complex and dynamic nexus at the center of San Francisco’s cultural and social fabric.

Grand Opening Events

GALVANIZE Fundraiser Gala
October 1st, 2009 6:30pm – 9pm

GALVANZE is a special “Gray Tie” benefit gala and preview of GAFFTA’s Inaugural Exhibition, OPEN.

Attendees to GALVANIZE will be the very first to experience GAFFTA’s inspiring new space and exclusive preview of our Inaugural Exhibition: OPEN.  This limited-capacity, one-time engagement will feature a champagne reception followed by remarks from GAFFTA’s founders and The Mayor’s Office, culminating with an artist-led exhibition tour. Guests will also receive commemorative gifts and other premiums commensurate with the generosity of contribution.

Interested patrons may find more information and purchase tickets by visiting the Galvanize Page or emailing

GAFFTAHours Preview Celebration
October 1st, 2009 9:30pm – 1am

Immediately following GALVANIZE, the evening will transition into the first in a series of regular nighttime preview celebrations for each new exhibition, beginning with our inaugural show OPEN. GAFFTAHours will be a 21+ limited-capacity ticketed-event (priced at $25), featuring live music from QZEN and Kid Kameleon, hosted bar and Limited Edition keepsakes.

For more information and to buy tickets to GAFFTAHours, visit the GAFFTAhours Page or email

Public Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
October 2nd, 5pm – 6pm

Joined by representatives from the Tenderloin Economic Development Program, Mayor’s Office and Grants for the Arts, GAFFTA will hold a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 55 Taylor Street marking the official opening of its new digital art center.  This event is free and open to the press and the public.

Public Opening Reception
October 2nd, 6pm – 10pm

Following the ribbon cutting, GAFFTA will officially open its doors with a free evening reception for its Inaugural Exhibition, OPEN.  Members of the public of all ages are welcome to attend.  OPEN will continue to be on exhibition through November 15th during the hours posted to the Visit Page

Creative Coding: An Introduction to Processing
October 3rd & October 4th, 1pm – 6pm

The first in a series of workshops on digital art-making, this workshop introduces the world of creative coding through Processing, a free programming environment that enables you to create interactive, dynamic, computer-based projects.  The first day focuses on the basics of Processing, and the second day on more advanced concepts.  The workshops will be led by GAFFTA Studio Director Gabriel Dunne, local artist and designer Scott Murray with special guest and co-creator of Processing C.E.B. Reas in attendance to offer insights on his work.

For more information and to buy workshop tickets, please visit the Workshop Page