The Healing Power of Arts & Culture: Creative Placemaking in San Francisco's Tenderloin

August 15, 2016

By: Justin Chotikul

"Any strategy for cultural equity must come from significant numbers of people who share a common experience that in turn becomes an energy force for change," says Hanmin Liu, the president of the Wildflowers Institute, a nonprofit devoted to "discovering the informal ways that things get done in a community and the leaders and activities that quietly make a difference". A 2014 ArtPlace Grantee, Wildflowers has devoted the past several years toward identifying the connection between artists and other residents in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. That connection -- or 'energy force', as Hanmin describes it -- is "healing". Last week I had the privilege to speak with Hanmin and his wife, Jennifer Mei, who runs the institute with him. Together they accompanied me through this fascinating section of the city, educating me on the many 'gems of the Tenderloin'.