The Cradle Project San Francisco at Alter Space


The Cradle Project San Francisco is showing in San Francisco April 17 to May 24th at Alter Space. We talked with Kevin Krueger to hear about his thoughts on The Cradle Project and the impact it's had since opening a few weeks ago.

Why did you choose to show The Cradle Project at Alter Space? There are a number of reasons that we are excited for the chance to work with Firelight on the Cradle Project. Since we opened our doors two years ago, group art exhibitions have been our key focus. Not only do they provide a chance for Alter Space to branch out within the surrounding community, but they also allow us to work with a range of artists with varying points of view. The cradle project follows our model of working with diverse artists, be it in their vision, their chosen mediums, or their backgrounds. For example, in the Cradle Project exhibition we have work from jewelers, designers, crafters, and quilters, as well as from recent MFA grads and professors.

The Cradle Project, while being a group art show, is also something different than that — it has momentum outside of the community that we participate in. We are thankful that the Cradle Project offers a chance for us to engage in a different dialog about contemporary art, and we believe strongly in it’s intention as it serves as a reminder that we are not alone and nothing exists within a bubble.

How do you hope your visitors will respond to the exhibit? Our hope is that the visitors will be moved in some way, both by the artworks created and the message that this exhibition carries. Even though, thematically the artists are drawing from the same well-pool, each cradle tells it’s own unique story through the eye and craftsmanship of the maker. We’ve invited artists who work with their hands and possess a sensitivity to materials in order to amplify the handmade quality of the exhibition. There will be around eighteen cradles made in the Bay Area, alongside another 18 or 20 that are part of the traveling collection, many of which were made in New Mexico, Washington DC, and elsewhere. We are curious to see how the regional differences, both materially and narratively, come into play for this exhibition. There is such a particular way of thinking about discarded and recycled materials in a place like San Francisco in comparison to New Mexico, we hope that this diversity is inspiring to the visitors as well.

How have artists in SF responded to the call to submit cradles?   The artists are working hard on their pieces. A good portion of them are arts professionals or business owners who are juggling their careers, their practice, and now their cradles. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and many of the artists have expressed gratitude in being selected for the project. Artist Vanesa Gingold said it well when she mentioned that she is very inspired by the approach of Firelight and their work in Africa, and will be taking a similar approach to making her cradle...manifesting a level of sensitivity in her voice and not assuming that she can speak for others.

a cradle under glass


What is Alter Space and what kind of exhibits do you typically show?   Alter Space is an artist-run-project that was started by me, Kevin Krueger, and Koak in late 2012. Our goal is to create a fostering environment for contemporary art that extends past any singular definition and hierarchical structure. Yes, we are a gallery that curates exhibitions and represents a small roster of artists, but our mission as a space extends well beyond that.

We are a place for performance, experimentation, readings, and workshops; in short we are a place that is open to all forms of creative making. Our main goal is to create a space within the rapidly changing SF community that allows artists to experiment, play, and grow. We value working closely with our artists to help carry their projects into fruition. One of the ways in which we do this is through the Jail Cell Residency, our 2-3 month residency program that offers up project-based space within our basement.

We are currently working with NY-based artist Shiri Mordechay on the construction and production of an artist pop-up book. We approach projects like this in a collaborative and hands-on way. We also are at the tail end of another residency project entitled "Thresholds: Shadow-Self" by Yulia Pinkusevich. It’s an ambitious, architecturally scaled immersive installation that is built within the confines of the residency studio space in the basement.

With Koak’s upcoming return to graduate school and deep immersion in her current graphic novel project, Sick Bed Blues, the day-to-day around Alter Space is now me and writer / filmaker Jorge Garcia. Together we are ushering in a new phase for the future of the space which will slowly unravel over the next year and a half. Our goal is to support, conspire with, and promote a wide-range of the arts, knowing that they all inform each other.

What has been the impact of The Cradle Project at Alter Space? It has been a lesson in learning how to work together. Alter Space is constantly collaborating with artists, curators, musicians, and so forth, but we’ve gained tremendous insight in working with Firelight and the Cradle Project - organizations that are outside of our immediate circle, and we’re finding how mutually beneficial to each other we are.

How do you feel about art that has a social impact?   Art with a social impact is important because it engages communities. People may not always agree with or may be skeptical of certain aspects of the work or the organizations making the work happen, but most importantly it gets people talking and thinking.