Participatory Art: SFCB gears up with Papergirl SF

Find out about the phenomenon of Papergirl, its ties to San Francisco, and upcoming events including SFCB’s Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival on September 22 and Friday Night at the de Young on September 7, 2012.

Jen Burks

San Francisco’s artist community is always looking for ways to engage the greater public in an intimate, direct way. Papergirl San Francisco has mobilized this mantle. Imagine someone on a bicycle catching your eye and tossing you a wrapped roll of multimedia artwork (like these images from past PGSF participants) – for free. Wouldn’t that just make your day?

Bonnie Johnson


Lauren McCleary


Isidora Vujosevic


Michael Zander


Concepcion Hennessey


Nora Aoyagi (also a past Roadworks Featured Artist!)

Papergirl is a global community art project that distributes submitted art pieces by bicycle, freely and at random, to people in the streets, American paperboy style. Founded in 2006 by Berlin artist Aisha Ronniger, the project has since spread to over forty-five cities worldwide. San Francisco artist Heather Tompkins came across the concept in a street art blog and quickly co-founded Papergirl SF in 2010.

The art selection buffet.[Image: Papergirl SF]

Heather explained that artists can donate any number of multiples or unique pieces. For those considering donating multiples of a piece, consider that PGSF volunteers historically distribute between two and three hundred rolls each year based on previous donations. “Anywhere between eighty and a hundred copies ensures your piece is selected for many rolls,” Heather noted. But PGSF will take any donation, unique or multiple, as long as it will fit into a roll.


The rolls go a-riding. [Image: Papergirl SF]

Be a part of Papergirl SF: their 2012 call for submissions is now open. Visit for submission details, or stop by San Francisco Center for the Book and drop off extra or discarded prints at SFCB’s very own PGSF recycling station!

Papergirl SF & Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival
SFCB has asked Papergirl SF to hit the streets with Roadworks on Saturday, September 22: the group will be running the carving station, where all ages can try their hand at carving linoleum or scratchboard blocks while the steamroller pulls prints and music plays in the background.

Papergirl SF & San Francisco Center for the Book
Enjoy a Friday Night of unique art and bicycle-related events with Papergirl SF and San Francisco Center for the Book at the de Young. Event on Friday, September 7 from 6–8:45pm. Join resident artists, musicians, cyclists, and local businesses in a night of celebrating all things art and bikes. Watch letterpress and binding demonstrations by SFCB, help create art prints and bike flags with Arch Drafting & Graphic Suply and Rickshaw Bagworks, and check out a Public Bike. There’s even complimentary bicycle parking for those who choose to ride to the museum.

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elka weber
elka weber
elka weber is a writer, book artist, and library elf interested in publication design, hand papermaking, short fiction, long road trips and really crafty ideas.

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