SOMArts Lot

Johanna Poethig

It was a hot day on the scaffolding at SOMArts on Brannan Street under the freeway. I was peacefully working on my own, adding final touches to my mural, Artifact, on one side of the building overlooking a big empty lot. This was before Toys R Us, Nordstrom Rack and Bed Bath and Beyond built their monstrous shopping palaces on what should have been a new sculpture park in my opinion.

I climbed down and got into my old yellow Volvo. All of a sudden the car began to rock and roll. I thought someone was pushing on it and turned my head quickly to see no one there!

somarts lot 1989

I shot out of the car and ran into the center of the abandoned lot. Jim, the current director, Conrad, and 2 other artists from SOMArts joined me as the ground rolled underneath us. Worried about Chris working in the basement of our apartment building on Oak Street in the Upper Haight, I drove home gingerly avoiding all the bricks and shards of glass that had fallen onto the streets.

That night the aftershocks freaked us out and we wondered if we should camp out on the Panhandle.