Valencia Street

The Performant: Home is where the art is

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Valencia Street art space struggles to retain its physical and spiritual existence
 
Sometimes you stumble across places that just feel like home the instant you step across the threshold. Maybe not the kind of home where you lounge around in sweatpants binging on Dynamo Donuts and Netflix, but a home that offers comfort for the spirit, where creativity and intention reign. Curiosity shop, design showcase, and artist enclave, Viracocha at 998 Valencia Street has been one such home for many, from the poets who helped build its pallet-wood walls, to the neighborhood literati who donated to and borrowed from Ourshelves, the private lending library that until very recently occupied the back of the building, to the acoustic musicians and spoken-word artists who gathered in the basement to perform and to connect, to the visual artists whose work was treated as décor first and merchandise almost as an afterthought.

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A moratorium on progress

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My friend Johnny, who lives in Seattle, tells the story of the day years ago when he saw an older woman standing on a hillside near his house, watching while bulldozers knocked down trees and tore up part of the hill to put in a freeway extension. He was pretty new to town, so he asked the woman what was going on.

She shook her head, and with a bitter smile, said: "Progress."Read more »