I recently participated in You Are Beautiful, an open call exhibition at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Artists were invited to create an artwork to contribute to the universal affirmation that "each individual is intriguing, complex and beautiful." The You Are Beautiful collective has organized similar shows in other locations, and plastered the world with stickers that make people feel positively good. Don't be surprised if you see one stuck to a bike rack near you.
The artwork felt cozy in MCCLA's roomy gallery space at the opening where a roving cameraman wandered around asking everyone to utter those three little words, "You are beautiful." The exhibit included giant scrabble tiles, tiny works on paper, murals, and little notebooks requesting your doodles. You could peruse books of work from past exhibitions, and people were just hanging out, soaking up the love, and feeling flattered. It was really easy to take the art personally.
Workshops related to the exhibit took place at Mission Cultural Center, which has a long history of making the creation of art more accessible for the community. There was a screen printing session a few weeks ago. And my pal, Jimmy DiMarcellis, better known as the artist Porous Walker, did a special installation for the show, filling a large gallery with picket signs for the opening. Last Saturday he hit the streets with an army of You Are Beautiful demonstrators.
We don't often write about exhibits that are nearly over, but contributing art to the San Francisco edition of You Are Beautiful included a unique opportunity to have your work installed on the streets when the show is over. So, keep your eyes peeled. Details on the renegade street installation are understandably under wraps, but feel free to contribute in your own way. Make your own You Are Beautiful artwork and put it out in the world. If you don't make art (you should), you can make a donation to the YAB organization, and receive your own stickers to paste up. C'mon, make somebody's day. Get in on this. You are beautiful and you know it.