Portola at Play
  • Portola at Play
  • Portola at Play
  • Portola at Play
  • Portola at Play

Portola at Play

Nominated by rrmiller


John Calloway, Kate Connell + Oscar Melara,* Gustavo Vazquez........................ *Book and Wheel Works


public art, games, movies, music, neighborhoods, family literacy, libraries, community narratives


A public art project you can check out of the San Francisco Public Library. A portrait of a little-known S.F. District that explains its history and current vibrance through a game, music, book and movie.


A really original project. Played the game and talked to neighbors I never met before. Copies of Portola Play were sold to raise money for the new branch library.

Comments (23)

    1. book and wheel works
    2. Thanks for the generous comments and the votes! We're so grateful to open-hearted Portola neighbors who share their stories, and the staff at our great library. Mil gracias to the Creative Work Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission and the Zellerbach Family Foundation for support.
    1. rchang2009
    2. Kate, Oscar, John, and Gustavo put their hearts into "Portola at play," and it shines! What a wonderful tribute to the neighborhood!
    1. sforrest
    2. Beautifully conceived!
    1. calliope415
    2. Our "secret" neighborhood in 4 parts/4 media, designed together to show shared history, our special neighborhood identity and our collective future...
    1. curiosityshoppe
    2. Yay San Francisco!!!
    1. CynthiaCarter1
    2. My family is the best. Such talent proud to say I am related. His talent has always amazed me. Great job Uncle Ochie, Kate and everybody else who worked on the project.
    1. David Campos
    2. Quite an amazing project. It strikes a great balance between education, inspiration, and fun.
    1. chiggy515
    2. at a time when technology and online entertainment draws us away from active engagement of our community, such a project is exceptional for its potential to awaken what we may have forgotten - we live in uniquely special places that must be cultivated and celbrated if we are to enjoy a vibrant and happy community.
    1. aolivarez-levinson

    2. This is truly a practical & inspiring piece of work! Let's play & learn?... Yes, anytime!
    1. rkutler
    2. Great art + community input + cultural relevance = fun game.
    1. MariaX
    2. What public money should be used for...art that is public and builds community. yeah, good job.
    1. sylmullally
    2. Very eclectic and thoroughly researched and executed project. It really captures the essence of Portola District and brings back so many memories of childhood. I love it.
    1. Ldowell
    2. A great project to educate and highlight a community/
    1. maryabler
    2. AND on top of all the other amazing things mentioned here, the creators of this project allowed Friends of the San Francisco Public Library use the game as a fundraiser for the Portola Library Campaign, to furnish and equip the new branch! True community spirit!
    1. Jane Young
    2. I love that this project gave an identity to the Maltese people and the community they helped to shape.
    1. cristyj
    2. This project highlights our community's assets as well as provides a fun, interactive and educational activity for all ages. The idea is brilliant, the artwork is beautiful, and the impact in our community is palpable as I watch people play with their children and grandchildren no matter what language is spoken at home. I can't wait to work with these artists in our other neighborhoods!
    1. ruthwallace57
    2. This project brings the neighborhood history, beauty, diversity and pulse alive. The colorful artwork of the loteria game is vibrant and representative of the past and future of the ever-evolving Portola. The film reaches back to a time when European immigrants settled in and thrived here and welcomes the new immigrant populations of Asians as well as their customs and contributions. And the music reminds us of where we have been and how far we can go. It's a beautiful thing.
    1. jfalco
    2. A wonderful way to educate...to keep history alive...packaged brilliantly so that children and young people will want to learn and keep the stories of those who have gone before alive...every community needs a project like this.
    1. martyp
    2. This project shows the lives of working class people in a working class neighborhood following in the traditions of some of the great artists like Dorothea Lange, Diego Rivera.
    1. joellenbr
    2. What I love about this project is the fun way it gathers the history of a community and transmits it to itself, and the young who may not have had the exposure. The celebration of diversity and the multimedia aspect adds depth to it and involved many more voices.
    1. KNewell
    2. This project really captures the essence of all that different people and people groups have contributed to the Portola over the decades. It is a vibrant, interesting, and uniquely fun way of engaging with the district's history and culture.
    1. sandy spiker
    2. Not just a public art project, this is a history lesson conveyed via a popular Mexican game - Loteria. This clever and fun concept is beautifully executed, and captured the imagination of adults and children both.
    1. esmeralda padilla
    2. This is a truly inspirational project! I love it's ability to help build community awareness while being so fun to play, watch and listen. I found it to be uplifting, informative, and interactive. :)
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