A team of artists, activists, agriculturalists, performers, inventors, writers and filmmakers moved into a warehouse located next to the Spring Street Bridge. The first time we rolled-down the warehouse gate, we met a man we’d soon come to know, help and hire. On that day, though, he was nodding off with a needle sticking out of his arm.
The more and more people my team and I met, the clearer it became that this place had a history of hosting people hiding from authority. These were said to include criminals fleeing police helicopter and car pursuits. Drug addicts and dealers. Graffiti artists. Taggers. Trysters. Skinny-dippers. And, sometimes in large numbers, the homeless. Farmlab scrubbed Under Spring. The asphalt below was coated with oil. The bridge above was seared dark from fires.
The team built a stage, created installations, repurposed wooden bins into mobile planters filled with the likes of pumpkins, chilies, squash, bananas, guava, mint, marigolds and sugar cane. For the next seven years dozens of free-of-charge public events were produced. Under Spring was known in government circles. A state assembly member held his inauguration here. Mayors, past and present, and city councilmembers stopped by.