Pivoting and Prototyping in the Field

By: Sida Li, Lisa Baird, Vanika Nain, Kristine Yuen


When we did not win any of the grant funding from CAPL with our original “1-square meter gallery” idea, we had to take a hard look at our concept and determine how to move forward.

With no money, the most obvious step would be to downsize the physical manifestation considerably. We switched from an 8-foot-tall, 1-meter x 1-meter mini-gallery that one or two people could stand in comfortably to a truly micro gallery that invites curiosity and peeking inside. Then we tested it with a few people and asked them, “What do you think?”



After getting comfortable with the birdhouse form, we began to shift our thinking to the art that would be displayed inside.

We realized that muralists are community-based artists who could benefit from increased appreciation for their craft.

Then we realized that there is more than art and artists that needs appreciation and understanding among residents in the Western Addition.

What about historical sites, interesting anecdotes, and architectural wonders in addition to murals, art & artists?


Whereas our original mission was about increasing visibility and appreciation for artists in the Fillmore so that they could attain economic stability, our new mission became about increasing appreciation for all aspects of community life so that all residents could share a common knowledge and language.

What if tech employees, new immigrants from Asia, and long-time African-American residents could all talk about the same things together?

What if a little birdie could whisper something in their ear that would make them look one another in the eye a little more often and smile?

We decided to try placing our birdhouse prototype in and around the Fillmore at interesting sites or points of interest, including—but not limited to—works of public art. The feeling and reaction we got from this was encouraging.


What if the Corporate Social Responsibility department of one of the larger tech companies with workers moving in was interesting in creating this common language between its workers and their new neighbors?

We are intrigued by the idea of pitching our project to Twitter for funding. Why not?

Kristine Yuen