A collaborative public art project about AIDS in the 21st century Sharon Siskin, Nancer LeMoins
and Bob Corti.

STILL HERE is a project that addresses AIDS/HIV issues now, in the 21st century. As the title implies, AIDS/HIV still exists in our communities, and is STILL HERE as a global pandemic. STILL HERE also focuses on the fact that people living with the disease are STILL HERE struggling against all of its manifestations and ramifications, as opposed to the media reports of drug cocktails that return people living with AIDS to a pre-AIDS existence. We in the AIDS/HIV community think that the stories of the lives of real people living and struggling with AIDS everyday are still important and poignant. STILL HERE gives voice to some of these stories, from the points of view of the residents and art project participants of the Derek Silva Community, located on Market Street in San Francisco. STILL HERE began with a letter describing the project to all of the 65 residents and art project participants of the Derek Silva Community, a building managed by Catholic Charities. The residents of the building are living with AIDS/HIV and have low or no financial income. The three lead artists had been facilitating a photography studio and darkroom in one former apartment, a fine arts studio in another former apartment and a third space for digital art, from 1993-2002 with the support of California Arts Council Artists in Residence Grants. Two of the artists, Robert Corti and Nancer LeMoins, were also building residents. STILL HERE was a collaboration of these two artists with Sharon Siskin, (who is currently a USF Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts), as the three artists interacted with the building residents or art project participants who chose to participate in this project.

Six of the original posters were commissioned by San Francisco Art Commission Market Street Art in Transit, while nine more were commissioned by the 2001 Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize. The posters took the form of old picture postcards and acknowledged that we live in a city that attracts tourists. All of the work was done with fairly low-tech materials. Black and white photographs of the 16 project participants were made with a 35-millimeter camera and the printed 8"x10" images were then hand-colored. There were three writing workshops that were lead by guest poet Alison Luterman, to help to edit the text on the flip side of each "postcard" image. The "stamps" were made from reproductions of previous artworks made individually by the three lead artists, that also addressed AIDS issues. Dr. Maria–Laura Mancianti at Alta Bates Hospital was the pathologist who generously gave the artists her slides of magnified red blood cells, where the "postcards" rest. Bob Corti was the digital master in bringing all these together on his computer, and Gene Kahn at Colorwise lead the artists through the process of making it all camera ready for the Lambda printing process that produced these large prints. Six of these images were repeated four times each and were on display in transit kiosks along Market, between Embarcadero and Van Ness, in San Francisco from November 16, 2001 through February 14, 2002. The whole series of 15 posters have been exhibited widely, both locally and internationally.

The artists are thankful for the generous support of: 2001 Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, a program administered by New Langton Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission Market Street Art in Transit Program, Institute of Noetic Sciences, The People’s Life Fund, City of Berkeley Civic Arts Commission and California Arts Council, a state agency.

This public artwork is dedicated to the memory of Bob Corti who died in 2003.