Sanctuary for the Arts

Our friends at ClothRoads post a really nice calendar of global textile events each month.  Their most recent calendar featured an intriguing exhibition at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) in San Francisco, titled Sanctuary. The exhibition, presented by the FOR-SITE Foundation, features 36 contemporary wool prayer rugs handwoven by master weavers in Pakistan based on designs by contemporary artists from 22 countries.

Sanctuary installation view; photo by Robert Divers Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.

Installed in FMCAC’s historic chapel, the rugs highlight the need for refuge, protection, and sacred ground. Each rug is distinct based on the artist’s aesthetic and background, but they are all constructed the same. Each is a four-by-six-foot wool rug woven in Lahore, Pakistan, using traditional materials, naturally-dyed yarns, and hand-knotting techniques. They are beautiful, evocative, sobering.

Ana Teresa Fernández, Erasure; photo by Robert Divers Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.
John Akomfrah, The Cave; photo by Robert Divers Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

The Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is one of those special places Thrums Books like to bring attention to because it hosts important textile events like Sanctuary. FMCAC is a nonprofit within the Historic Landmark District along the San Francisco Bay. This repurposed military base is home to thousands of events each year: art installations, dance and theatre performances, and an array of cultural educational opportunities. It hosts the annual San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art Show as well as seasonal Renegrade Craft Fairs. FMCAC also provides about $2.5 million in annual grants to local arts organizations, allowing a variety of art groups to produce diverse and innovative work at the Center.

Mona Hatoum, Untitled; photo by Robert Divers Herrick, courtesy FORE-SITE Foundation.

Fort Mason is also home to about twenty nonprofit and arts organizations. These residents, like the San Francisco Art Institute, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery, and the Mexican Museum, receive annual support from FMCAC, allowing them to focus on producing original artistic programming. And of course, you will find a bookstore on site, the famed Greens restaurant, and an art supply store, too.

Enjoy it!




Thrums Books are available at ClothRoads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your favorite local bookstore.

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