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By: Eileen Verlin

Thriving, successful gallery closes doors on January 1, 2005!

Funding for children's art programs vanishes!

Historic venue lost for public use!

All these could happen unless attention is brought to the plight of The Whitney Young Cultural Center Mansion in the Haight! Local artists will no longer have a low-cost venue to showcase their work. Children will be out the percentage of profits the venue once garnered for teaching art. A beautifully restored 1906, three storied treasure will be closed to the public, or perhaps turned into offices...

With the huge budget cuts, layoffs and school closings, art programs in the public schools and youth centers are the first things to be cut out. Private lessons are out of the question for most families. No other center provides an art program with the variety and expertise as Whitney Young. Instead of cutting out these specialists, they want to expand this gallery program which benefits the community, artists and children alike.

In a heroic last attempt at alerting the art loving public, city officials, parents and possible benefactors, "The Whitney" is pulling out all of the stops on December 4th, 5pm - 10pm, for what may be their final, extravaganza reception: 5,000 square feet of professional art! 20 artists! And a CD Release party by Carroll Glenn with Pia!

"Primarily, I'd like to draw CROWDS of people to the 'HAHA! (Haight Ashbury Holidays Art)' show, itself," says Rik Livingston, Director of Visual Arts. "If people want to support us, a good way is just to come down, sign our petition to keep the place open and BUY ART for themselves and for gifts! I think you'll see the work is, at the very least, equal, if not more interesting, than any being presented at the other fine galleries in San Francisco."

"But beyond that obvious goal, I'd like to see if I can let it be known that we need grant writers willing to work for a percentage. I'm told in these conservative political times that companies are just looking for art exhibits that benefit children, yet, because we don't have the financed time to write grants ourselves, we can't get ahold of this money."

"And, as well, any contributions would be greatly appreciated. After finding money to completely renovate a mansion, it's ironic that we may have to close for lack of money to pay salaries.. Whitney Young is now placed in the unfortunate position of having to make tough choices - every art specialist they employ has had their hours cut in half because of the current budget crises. After this show, unless we receive help, there will, effectively be NO curator for the Mansion...Please! Help us help the community!"

You can contact Rik Livingston via his website at or by phone: 415-346-8323. More information about Whitney Young is at

"HAHA!" runs NOW through December 11th. Reception December 4, 5pm-10pm. Open 10am -5pm weekdays, 1pm-4pm weekends. Special Holidays party for staff and parents of Whitney Young (and public interested in learning about WY) on December 11th featuring the fun and fantastic Goodie, in person!

Among the 20 artists in the "Haight Ashbury Holiday Art" exhibit are:
1.Eliza Schmid: artist and psychiatrist.
2. Goodie: historically important artist to first make cartoons and greeting cards featuring African Americans.
3. Cathy Lynch and Pat Mazzera: Ed Zelinsky, who owned the famous Musee Mecanique, died recently. This exhibit honors his work and spirit.
Also featuring: Matt Delight, Rik Livingston, Joel Sanderson, Nora Handel Aton, Beth Ross, Dona Wilson, J. Taylor, Jr., Laura V. Williams, Diallo, Robert Reed, Eliza Wilson, Thomas, Ron Criswell, Robin Gay Wakeland, Robert S. Sumner, Jr., Yuketa Daigen, Mari Suzuki

Art by Catherine Lynch, Eliza Schmid and Goodie