Block Fest is Back!

Block Fest is Back!

by Rick Darnell, Associate Director CounterPulse Neighborhood Arts

Hello neighbors near and far. After over a year and a half, CounterPulse’s Block Fest is back and better than ever! Every second Friday of the month we will feature a local artist including: 

  • Janet Williams who will lead an embroidery workshop on Friday, March 11th
  • Ramekon O’Arwisters who will lead a crochet jam on Friday, April 8th
  • Rachel Lozada who will lead a weaving workshop on Friday, May 13th
  • And don’t miss our valentines day card making on Monday, February 14th!

Additionally, you can join us every fourth Friday at CounterPulse for a Pop Up Art Studio with myself and Jeff Marshall. These Pop Up Art Studios are an opportunity to work with recycled and reused materials to created 3D art objects. Materials for the POP UP Arts Studios are purchased from and help financially support  SF SCRAP, a wonderful nonprofit that is a major source of art supplies and materials for local artists and the SF Unified School District.

In addition to BlockFest this spring, don’t forget you can always join us on Thursdays for our Drumming Circle in Boedekker Park and every first Tuesday of the month for the Tenderloin Arts Lending Library at 80 Turk St. We’ll also be doing a special activation of TALL at the SF Library this April! Stay tuned for more information.

In 2016, I answered CounterPulse’s call and joined the team as the Engagement Fellow.  Along with the original staff who had the vision for Block Fest (Erica Dixon, Jeanne Phifer, and Thomas Riley), our vision was to create arts programming for our community here in the Tenderloin which  eventually morphed into CounterPulse’s Neighborhood Arts Program, also known as TenderArts).  Since its inception, we have been working to create shared arts experiences that are free of charge, take place outdoors, and encourage a sense of community, inclusion, and transformation.

The first Block Fest took place in November of 2016 and featured Mission artist Josue Rojas, in which 11 neighbors created a portable 4’x6’ community mural on heavy printmaking paper, entitled “Gratitude”. If you’ve visited 80 Turk recently, you may have seen “Gratitude” displayed on the second floor of our building just outside our staff office. Many of the creators of “Gratitude” have passed, most notably Little Eddy, a true Tenderloin OG. Our Second Block Fest in February 2017, featured the musical stylings of the late legendary Tenderloin chanteuse, activist, and oral historian Pam Coates, a true oldschool powerhouse. 

Recognizing the participation of our departed and cherished colleagues, peers, and friends is to illustrate TenderArts’ place as one of many sources that chronicle the evolving history of the Tenderloin and function as an archive of its cultural creators.

 The list of upcoming TenderArts events is a living document in recognition that unanticipated opportunities will come along that are too good to miss. These are events that resonate with our neighbors and stir a familial sense of kinship with CounterPulse.  So stay tuned for our TenderArts events to grow over the next few months, because there are a lot of kin around.

As I enjoy this tranquil day, I would like to extend three invitations to you all:

1. A personal, galaxy-wide invitation to come and attend one of our many Block Fest events.

2. Fill out this Anonymous TenderArts survey which will be used to help us improve our Neighborhood Arts program as well as provide testimonials to aid us in funding and promotional outreach.

3. Answer our OPEN CALL FOR NEIGHBORHOOD CURATORS. CounterPulse staff will soon be  developing our Fall TenderArts Program, taking place in July and August of 2022.  We are looking for two neighbors to join our curatorial committee. Our curatorial process will include two hours of individual preparation and two hours of group discussion to select artists, and events.  There is a $100 stipend for each of the two selected neighbors. 

Thank you to all our neighbors and see you soon at CounterPulse!


Rick Darnell, Associate Director of Neighborhood Arts 

For questions please email me at <>, or call the office (415) 626-2060, and ask for Rick!

Or if snail mail is your preference, you can write to: 

CounterPulse 80 Turk San Francisco, CA 94102 attn: Rick

Header photo: Block Fest at Sunday Streets 2019 Photo Rick Darnell

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