Reflections From Turk Hyde Mini Park

 
Ramekon O'Arwistersdemonstrates weaving techniques for Tenderloin youth during a recent Crochet Jam at Turk Hyde Mini Park. 

Ramekon O'Arwistersdemonstrates weaving techniques for Tenderloin youth during a recent Crochet Jam at Turk Hyde Mini Park. 

 

The Turk Hyde Mini Park Pilot program is in full swing with a steady stream of activators providing programs in the coming weeks. In addition to our regular collaboration with friends from the Demonstration Gardens who daily provide games, gardening, and arts, we’ve sponsored gentle movement classes, soulful singing, drumming, and crochet jams through our micro grant program. It's all free and appropriate for all ages and abilities.

On October 11, artist Ramekon O'Arwisters hosted his signature event, Crochet Jam.

According to Ramekon, Crochet Jam is a public art-making event that's embracing and inclusive, with no attempt made to dictate the creative process nor judge the finished project. It can be meditative, liberating, and empowering. Ramekon started Crochet Jam in 2012. His social-art practice is rooted in a cherished childhood memory that's steeped in the African-American tradition of weaving in a calm and non-judgmental environment without rules or limitations.

We caught up with Ramekon for a few minutes while a group of three Tenderloin youth crocheted intently.

Asked what made crochet jam different at Turk Hyde Mini Park compared to other places, he had this to share:

"What’s different here is that you’re bringing calm inside of an environment that is not always calm. When you have calm you are able to reflect rather than react. Everything that’s happening in the street is about reaction," he added, referencing a particularly active day at what is considered a very active corner in the way of open drug sales, use, and most unfortunately, the violence that seems to spontaneously erupt from those conditions. On that day, numerous altercations had turned physical, with one fight culminating in glass bottles being thrown at the street corner to the south of the park.

The Crochet Jam participants seemed not to notice what was happening across the street from the park, rapt in creative concentration. The children would look to Ramekon to show him what they’d made or seek guidance in completing the next loop.

Turk and Hyde has been considered one of the most unsavory areas of the Tenderloin according to crime statistics and qualitative reports. Drug dealing, open drug use and cleanliness continue to pose challenges, but that is precisely why we feel it is important to be there, to invite ALL community members, especially those in the immediate vicinity, into the park for a couple hours at a time throughout the week. Our goal is to share in the Turk Hyde Mini Park as a place of tranquility, a place for calm reflection.

This Thursday October 19th from 2:00 to 2:30, join us for another afternoon performance from Skywatchers vocalist, Rita Whittaker.

Skywatchers Drum Circle With Dino Smith-Every Thursday and Friday October 5th to December 29 1-3pm

Dino Smith brings the connective power of drumming to radiate throughout the park. Come dance, move, and join the circle.

Become and activator:

TLCBD has established a micro-grant program to assist with funds up to $500.00 for Tenderloin-based activators to lead programming activities.

To receive the micro grant application, request more information, or attend a Steering Committee meeting, call the TLCBD office at (415) 292-4812 or email Phoeut@tlcbd.org, subject “Turk-Hyde Mini Park”.

Fill out the application online.

Download the application and return to the TLCBD office or via email to Phoeut@tlcbd.org.