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A Statement of the Obvious

June 29, 2010

sky.jpegYesterday, as we were standing in the vestibule/store at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art (MoCFA) in downtown San Francisco, the museum's director, one of its curators and I found ourselves admiring a striking view.

An old Catholic church with its severe grey masonry and red brick, a high-rise apartment block decked out in gleaming aqua colored glass and steel girders and the Contemporary Jewish Museum's hulking black cube structure looked like three conspiring figures, almost blocking out a jigsaw puzzle-shaped piece of blue sky.

"When I look at this view, I feel like I live in a much bigger metropolis," said Natasha Boas, the curator. I know what Natasha means. It seems like almost every week, I hear someone remarking upon what a small provincial town we live in. We are often quick to point out that San Francisco is not a patch on New York, Paris or London from a cultural perspective. But then we remember that those cities have populations that number millions of people. San Francisco, by comparison, has just over 800,000. For such a hick burg, we're disproportionately artsy.

It's not every city of 800,000 residents that can support not one but two museums -- MoCFA and the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design -- dedicated to the visual arts branch of crafts, after all.

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