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Art in the Alley - 20th Anniversary

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What started as a seed of an idea to create an opportunity for local artists blossomed into ‘ART in the Alley’ – a small outdoor art fair that took place a few times a year in the evocative strip that lies between Vesuvio and City Lights Bookstore, Kerouac Alley. Event sponsor Vesuvio owner/manager Janet Clyde, along with employee Josephine Ramos and local artist Elizabeth Ashcroft put their heads together and came up with a plan. The date was set: Sunday, September 16, 2001. What began as a celebration of local artists morphed into an opportunity to embrace each other and our community in so many other ways in the wake of 9/11.


Art in the Alley took a gray little alley and bedecked it with color – vibrant paintings, sculpture, drawings, jewelry, mixed media, dolls, clothing & installations. Hovering above it all were colorful silk umbrellas from Chinatown casting sparkle and shadows. One local artist, Paul, would literally take his ‘painting pants’, stuff them, and display them standing up at the Grant Avenue end of the alley (and yes, he sold them all!) Some years there were readings, always, there was music. In other words, the show ended up reflecting the eclectic and ever evolving creative nature of the village that is North Beach.


And it did take a village – though we three coordinated the city requirements, gathered the artists, found the band, wrote the press releases, designed the posters, got the word out – and another team built the display walls and then took them all apart again (thanks Chris Clyde and company!) - it was the artists that took a chance on a bit of an unknown and the North Beach community that turned up and supported us.


And visitors, well, if they happened upon us, they discovered a little special North Beach moment in their romp around the neighborhood to take home with them. To-day art shows regularly happen in the alley now closed to traffic


Twenty years ago – hard to believe! Here’s to ALL of US!

Art in the Alley 2001-2010



Elizabeth Ashcroft

A North Beach Artist

Live Worms Gallery Proprietor

September 15, 2021

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