THIS IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA – IT DESERVES TO BE DONE IN EVERY BIG CITY AND IN EVERY STATE!
The Art Vigilance Committee
In 1851, when San Francisco was only 20 years old and experiencing rapid growth due to the Gold Rush, corruption at all levels of the government and police force was rampant. San Francisco was, by any standards, a rough place to live. An ad-hoc organization of San Francisco residents decided enough was enough and the Committee of Vigilance was born. Their purpose was to rein in rampant crime and government corruption, and they would oversee their own brand of justice intermittently between 1851 and 1856, each time relinquishing power after only 3 months of action.
The Art Vigilance Committee is founded by Bay Area artists Selene Foster and Chris Treggiari. It is our view that we are now at a point in San Francisco history when a force can once again come together to fight for the common good. In this case we see the common good being the infusion of public art into the lives of San Franciscans. The Art Vigilance Committee intends to collaborate with visual artists, musicians, theater performers, and other creatives to form a group whose purpose will be to perform publicly in the streets of San Francisco. Our goals are simple: to entertain and enlighten the public through recreations of pivitol moments in San Francisco’s amazing history.
We will focus on three distinct events that have taken place from the 1850’s to the 1970’s. We are interested in these events because each one represents a moment when citizens of San Francisco where compelled to band together and fight against a perceived injustice. Right or wrong, these moments have helped to shape our city. They are:
- The 1856 hangings of Charles Cora and James Casey by the Committee of Vigilance, due to a perceived failure by the San Francisco justice system to maintain law and order.
- Thursday, July 5, 1934, known as “Bloody Thursday,” when the West Coast Waterfront Strike turned deadly.
· The “White Night Riots,” a series of violent events on May 21, 1979, sparked by the lenient sentencing of Dan White for the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
San Francisco was built on the efforts of men and women who fought for what they believed in. The Art Vigilance Committee has the same passion for executing public art performances to the people of San Francisco. We are calling on fellow artists who have similar passions to collaborate with us in bringing to light these moments in history for all of San Francisco.