A Manifesto, Commentary, and Reminisces by the 2021 Graduating Class of the San Francisco Art Institute (1871-2021*)
Diana Ostrom
A Modest Series of Proposals and Considerations
for artists working under straitened circumstances; which is really all of them, or most of them, or at least those who are not working as social media managers, and those who are not heirs to great fortunes of plundered gold:
No one is coming to save you — perhaps someone who loves you will tuck you into bed and make you salads and schedule appointments at the eye doctor, but even they may be tired of the difficulties, the deep and endless distractions your art presents for you. They may save you but not your art. So you will have to save both.
Even institutions can crumble around you (lol ask us anything). Funding may fail. You may be left alone with your tools and space between your bed and the door to your bedroom. Trust in nothing but your own true heart.
To that end: Protect yourself. Exploit your skills to safeguard yourself, your freedom, and your time. Wear sunscreen, floss your teeth, demand universal healthcare, and do not hope for the best because hope is a prelude for preventable despair.
There are people who love you, but they are unlikely to be the people best positioned to advancing your career. Be kind to the people who love you. Other opinions of you or your work are irrelevant.
If you do not enjoy something on a profound or meaningful level — if it does not delight you, fortify you, or teach you, stop doing it. You will die, though probably not today. Do not waste time.
Zeming "Alex" Dai
Midnight hour
Everyone takes off their masks
Seeing the truth in the dark
At the end of everything
人都走投无路 逐渐沉沦
Everyone is desperate and gradually sinks
The wave that humans regard as ordinary things
Wave tossed but not sunk
Just let the light
Reverse this fate
Rora Blue
When I was 19 I rolled my windows down and drove too fast and I didnt know who I was but I hoped and I hoped
I heard someone whisper that I could be great but my knees were bruised and I had bags under my eyes from trying
If you met me at 22 you’d think I was still in love with the world a world that said it wasn’t okay for me to hold another girls hand a world that swallowed me whole
Here I am taking up space in a space that has said that there is no space for me
I’d like to argue that for so many a graduation is not a confetti cannon but an explosion
A moment where all the past versions of you inhale because they never thought this day would come
Its space in your lungs after you know what it means for your body to collapse in on itself, an institution to collapse in on itself, a world to collapse in on itself
The world that swallowed you whole
You let the sun hit your face at 2pm on a Friday afternoon anyways
To know what it means to still want to make art when nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed, no one is watching
To face all that uncertainty and       flourish
I want someone to know that I am here against all odds
I am here
You are here
We are here
Gisselle  Immormino
My entire life I dreamt of going to college. The experience I got was so much more than I ever could’ve imagined. Being at SFAI brought me closer to my family, and myself. Everything important to me became so much clearer. Independence. Family. Health. Home.
I went to San Francisco for the school, but I stayed for the people. For my classmates, friends, and professors. My time there will always be a fond memory of growth and self-discovery. It sounds cliché. Everyone says that about college, right? SFAI was different though. It was special in a way that can never exist the same way twice.
I like to think all the times I sat at the fountain, watching the turtles, and feeling the direct sunlight on my skin, made me flourish. Forever ingrained into my body. I miss you, but forever grateful. You taught me so much more than I was expecting, maybe even more than I wanted or welcomed at times. Thank you for your magic, confidence, laughter, opportunity, tears, late nights, sunshine, life. Everything.
Camila de Andrade Bianchi
Telegram from Curityba to Folha da Noite de S. Paulo, no. 2-11-927:
They report from Imbituba that the individual Juvenal Manuel do Nascimento, former post office agent, gathered in his house all his friends and relatives under the pretext of having a party.
During lunch, Juvenal was happy and, at the end of the party, went to his room, from which he brought a package containing dynamite, saying that he was going to give everyone a surprise.
Everyone was attentive and waiting for the surprise when, with general astonishment, the owner of the house approached a lit cigarette to the package that exploded, killing Juvenal and seriously injuring his wife and all the people who had attended the fatal invitation.
De Andrade, Oswald. “O Manifesto Antropofago.” Revista De Antopofagia, May 1928, p. 7.
Emily Golla
Abrupt. Swift. Hasty. Sudden. Unexpected. Unceremonious.
Loss often comes without notification.  Death without question.
But life is a choice.
How you react to what is thrown at you is a choice.
Choosing to live doesn't quell any inclination to freeze, mourn, lament, or languish.
Still, character requires action; life necessitates movement.
What doesn't kill us will not innately make us stronger,
but rather provides a catalyst
to breathe new life and vision into what may otherwise suffocate.
There's codependency between life and art:
Art requires life to exist.  Life requires art to truly live.
Art is OUR choice.
It continues as the world comes to a halt.
It persists, though the walls of our institutions are shaken and tumble.
It endures while our connections are incrementally dissolved.
It remains when life is threatened to end.
Art may struggle to breathe, while air is being squeezed from our lungs or diverted from our sails, threatening our course... but still it perseveres.
We persevere.