By Dominique Koudsi.
When you think about storefront windows, you probably think gleaming lights, tidy displays, browsing, maybe some mannequins. Retail. But what if a storefront made you think about your neighborhood instead? The sounds that carry you off to sleep every night, the smell of your neighbor’s coffee waking you up each day, or the park where you transformed into a pirate as a child.
When Kathryn Kenworth and Sarah Klein met at Mills College (they’ve known each other forever), they probably had no clue that they’d eventually form the collaborative artist team behind the incredible and innovative Your Store project, “a community building experiment disguised as a retail storefront.”
Set to open on October 6th from 3-5pm, Your Store goes beyond what we’ve come to know about retail to stock storefront windows in the neighborhood around Valencia Street in San Francisco with hand-made objects, animations, drawings, and things that tell the stories of the people who call the area home. Taking inspiration from passersby, tourists, business owners, shopkeepers, kids, and families, Your Store looks at where Valencia has been and where it is going by honoring the community’s memories, thoughts, and senses.
The handmade, craft-based, lighthearted-but-detailed nature of both Kathryn and Sarah’s work comes together in perfect harmony in the Your Store project, an undertaking that is as carefully and skillfully crafted as the objects, drawings, and short animations it will display.
Interested in using everyday and discarded materials, like cardboard, paper, or twigs, Kathryn explores place, ecology, and themes of re-use in her own work. She believes that objects that often go unnoticed can be recycled and contextualized to highlight their lifecycle, bring interest to them, and even extend a sense of community.
Sarah works with videos, drawings, and performances to look into the contrast between the domestic world and the public world. She creates hand-drawn, cutout drawings on a paper background and films them frame-by-frame to create her animation.
Put the work of these two together and you get a storefront window that serves as a handmade advertisement for an entire neighborhood, a home-style project that explores retail as a point around which communities can rally and exist and change.
We can’t say enough great things about this project, and hope you’ll join us in October at 992 Valencia Street, San Francisco to see it for yourself.