Mid-Market buildings to shine as part of rejuvenation project

Thousands of light pixels will illuminate storefronts and enormous projector screens will drape over building facades along mid-Market Street as part of The City’s battle to rejuvenate the grimy stretch.

Three internationally known “light artists” will take part in the ARTery Project, which is launching Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. and will be on display for six months.

Artist Paul Notzold will be spinning off his earlier work, TXTual Healing, which projected conversation bubbles onto building facades, sometimes next to people’s windows.

“This one’s going to be a little different. … It’s much more spontaneous, as they’re moving speech bubbles,’’ Notzold said. “It’s a little more narrative. The boxes play through creating a mash-up of visuals that I have gathered through the Market Street area.’’

His work will be projected from the sixth floor of the Art Institute at UN Plaza from dawn until midnight on a nearly 600-square-foot screen draping the Renoir Hotel on the Seventh Street side.

Another artist, Jim Campbell, is blanketing two vacant storefronts with thousands of light pixels that will project pre-recorded scenes from the area.

And artist Theo Watson is producing an interactive project, “Faces,’’ where pedestrians will walk to a capture station and have their portraits projected onto a wall at Sixth and Market streets.

The $350,000 project is the latest in The City’s efforts to liven up the run-down mid-Market area.

The section of the thoroughfare between UN Plaza and Van Ness Avenue has for years been occupied mostly by residents from surrounding SROs and the chronically homeless.

Several storefronts have remained empty — as many as 14 buildings in the area are registered as vacant or abandoned with the Department of Building Inspections.

Mayor Gavin Newsom this year initiated an $11.5 million loan program for property owners and tenants to bolster economic development and arts in the area, on top of a $1.5 million project to rejuvenate UN Plaza.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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