February 2019 Design & Art Event Hotlist

We love design and art! And there’s no better time to feed our passion for creativity than the month of St. Valentine.

Arianna Orland and Dava Guthmiller—the co-founders of In/Visible Talks’ and both long-time practicing designers—have considered all the possible options for Bay Area events and exhibits and picked their faves. February’s curated list includes discussions, celebrations, and many opportunities to make connections within our dynamic community.

Plants Illustrated Exhibit: Celebrating Ethnobotany.

A stroll in the garden can be one of the best ways to clear mind space. (Jenny Odell encouraged this practice in “How to Do Nothing” at In/Visible Talks 2018.) This special exhibit is the next best thing to an outdoor garden tour, as it features illustrated botanical art in UC Berkeley Botanical Garden’s lovely Julia Morgan Hall. Free to $12. Through February 6. UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley.

Night of Ideas.

Expect inspiring debates, discussions, and performances—and wine & cheese, of course—at this seven-hour marathon put on my SFMOMA, the French Consulate, and the San Francisco Public Library. Top thinkers, change-makers, and audience members come together to answer questions such as “Can our cities be community-focused and globally connected while also smart, resilient, and infused with poetry and empathy?” and “Is an innovative and inclusive city possible?” Free. February 2, 7 pm–2 am. San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco.

Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards Panel and Reception.

The National Design Awards program celebrates design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and it seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement. Meet the 2018 National Design Award winners, including Gail Anderson, Liz Gerber, and Michael Ellsworth. Note: It’s not affected by the shutdown. Free. February 7, 6:30–8:30 pm. Design Within Reach, 200 Kansas Street, San Francisco.

Design Night: Out of This World (Exploring Architecture in Space).

Humans living on Mars is no longer the stuff of sci-fi films. With the use of robotic construction and deployment, the plans for habitable bases on other planets have become reality. Come for a talk and some hands-on activities, plus food, cocktails, and dancing under the starry lights. $20–$25. February 7, 6–10 pm. Autodesk Gallery, One Market Street, San Francisco.

Designers + Geeks: Art by Design.

Come explore how the worlds of pure artistic creativity and design come together. Join us for talks by Nkechi Deanna Njaka, who is a neuroscientist, mindfulness teacher, and choreographer, and Ge Wang, the co-founder of Smule and the designer of Ocarina and Magic Piano, two of the most popular music creation apps. $20. February 21, 7–9 pm. Yelp Headquarters, 140 New Montgomery, 8th Floor, San Francisco.

Invisible Bridges, Invisible Borders: Hidden Dynamics in San Francisco.

How are the Presidio and Bayview–Hunters Point connected? Why do some people feel uncomfortable crossing Van Ness Avenue? Join Public Knowledge in exploring and discussing how San Francisco’s infrastructures—both physical and social, visible and invisible (and you know how much we love that dichotomy)— create connections/barriers and enable/inhibit movement across and around the city. Free. February 27, 6:30–7:30 pm. Ortega Branch Library, 3223 Ortega Street, San Francisco.

Looking for more ideas? Check out the In/Visible Talks blog for reviews of design and arts events we’ve attended recently and to learn about upcoming opportunities.


Five Questions with Julie Kim: Mother, Writer, Editor

Mother, Writer, and Editor Julie Kim first knew she needed to be in a creative field when her boss handed her a Rolodex and told her to “digitize it.” She started her career in the publishing department at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and as a contributing writer for The Architect’s Newspaper. For the last 12 years, she has been working in communications roles at nonprofits and tech companies, including Slack, where she served as Editorial Director for two years. These days she’s devoting herself to freelancing, co-chairing the City Arts & Lectures board of directors, and caring for her disabled daughter, Izzy.

Julie shared a bit about her creative process when she answered our questions below. Come meet her—and other inspiring creatives—at the 2019 In/Visible Talks conference.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“When I was five, I told my mom (an immigrant and doctor) I wanted to be a painter, ‘just like Picasso.’ She told me I would starve to death, and that sounded scary, so I chose to do other things. But I kept having pivotal experiences with art and literature and music, so I eventually ended up writing, and at design school. I’m still figuring out how to make a living doing what I love, always tweaking the balance between creating and money-making.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“Getting together with crazy, open-minded, entrepreneurial women.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Going out on my own, experiencing constant imposter syndrome, and surviving the long hours and cut-throat culture of architecture school.”

What drives you to create?

“Can’t sleep otherwise.”

Favorite color?

“I’m embarrassed to say that right now, it’s millennial pink.”

BONUS ROUND: What’s on your desk?

“A million open browser tabs. And coffee.”

Partner Spotlight: The team at Rare Device is inspired by members of the Bay Area’s creative community—and each other

The team at Rare Device loves great design. Every item in their two shops in San Francisco has its own story and has been chosen because it’s handmade, useful, beautiful, or all of the above. To get a sense of how much they appreciate creative gifting, visit their About Us page, where team members share their favorite gifts—both given and received—including trips, fabric, artwork, a puppy, and vintage items for which the “hunt” was part of the gift.

Rare Device will be hosting the Pop-Up Shop for 2019 In/Visible Talks, and we can’t wait to see the goodies they have in store for us. Meanwhile, Owner and Buyer Giselle Gyalzen shared with us some of their thoughts on being part of the Bay Area’s creative community.

How does the Rare Device team collaborate with the creative community?

“Rare Device is a space for artists and makers to show and sell their work. It is also a space for the general public to discover them and appreciate their work. We enjoy showcasing these special people and their work every day in the store and as monthly shows in the gallery.”

What was the first reason you chose to partner with In/Visible Talks?

“We were happy to be asked by the In/Visible Talks team to be the Pop-Up Shop in this year’s conference. We value our community, and it is so important for us to keep reaching new people to be inspired by and to look up to. We believe this community provides that and more.”

Where does your creative/design team look for inspiration?

“We get so much inspiration from the artists that we work with. We keep up with their past and current work, and this sparks ideas of what other brands or makers we want to carry to complement what they’re doing. It also sparks ideas for how we want to merchandise our stores.”

In six words or less, what do you love about your team?

“We are creative, dedicated, team players.”

Our brand’s biggest creative win was….

“While we are so proud of the store and space we built, we have been especially ecstatic about the gallery program we’ve built. This gives us the space and time to provide a bigger platform for upcoming artists. We are able to showcase their work, and we are able to dive deeper with them to understand their creative processes and inspirations.”

Share one creative thing your team does that is a part of your brand culture.

“We put together a gallery show just for our employees once a year. This is such a special, collaborative time for us. It’s also a chance for those of us who don’t have regular creative practices to come out of our creative shells and make something for the public to consume.”

Describe a dream collaborator (a company or a person) to work with Rare Device.

“We’d love to work with even more artists and makers who are women of color.”

Five Questions with Christina Amini: Chronicle Books’ Executive Publishing Director

Christina Amini’s first job was Administrative Assistant in the Internet Development Group at HarperCollins. (“No,” she says, “we did not invent the internet.”) Fifteen years ago she started out as an intern at renowned independent publisher Chronicle Books and rose up the ranks to her current position, Executive Publishing Director of Art, Food, and Lifestyle Publishing. In this role, she gets to be “a professional collaborator and creator”, one who brings new ideas to fruition every season. This involves overseeing the publishing of more than 120 books and gift products every year. Additionally, Christina is the steward of artist Susan O’Malley’s work, the Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at her children’s school, and a museum guide at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

We think you’ll enjoy her answers to our questions about her creative life, and we’re so excited Christina will be joining us at the upcoming 2019 In/Visible Talks conference.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“We’re old friends. The creative process and I have lived through highs and lows, frustration and joy. We show up for each other over and over again, and find a good laugh pretty often. And because of our solid history, I trust in the process, in the projects, and my partners in creative work.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“Field trips! Friends. Coffee dates. SFMOMA. My colleagues. Toast at The Mill. Travel. French pastries. Making things with my kids and wife. Steep Ravine cabins. Books, bookstores, and libraries.”

What drives you to create?

“I love making good things with good people.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

“Congressman John Lewis. Often called ‘the conscience of Congress,’ John Lewis is a living legend. Last year I had the privilege of working on gift products for the MARCH series of graphic novels, which tell the story of John Lewis’s life and the Civil Rights Movement. As an editor, I was interested in the way that they included so many people and events, even if at times it was too much to retain. But for John Lewis, the volume of people and protests was the most important part of the story. He changed the way I thought about social change, storytelling, and long-term commitment.”

Favorite digital or nondigital tool?

“My bike.”

BONUS ROUND: What are you reading now?

“Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.”