Artsy Toilets Raise Money for Homelessness

By SASHA LEKACH Bay City News
|  Friday, Nov 22, 2013  |  Updated 9:10 AM PDT
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Artsy Toilets Raise Money for Homelessness

Bay City News

Artistic toilets to raise funds for homelessness line Market Street. Nov. 20, 2013

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Creatively decorated toilets lined a street corner in San  Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood on Thursday  to raise awareness for a nonprofit  that is converting old Muni buses into mobile showers and toilets for the  homeless.

Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval was out at the corner of Market  and 10th streets most of the day as part of an art installation titled,  "C'mon Give a Sh-t!"

Six toilets designed by local artists and designers were on  display to raise money for local homeless organizations and to share  information about limited access to flushing toilets and other amenities  around the world and even in the Bay Area.

Sandoval said mid-afternoon many people had stopped by to look at  the toilets, including a white furry one and a papier-mache urinal.

"People are saying it's so cool," Sandoval said. "They find them  playful and fun. They are fascinated by the toilets."

Artists Ana Fernandez, Sarah Ratchye and Travis Somerville, and  designers Maloos Anvarian, Jeff Shipley, and Monica Viarengo created the  bathroom art.

Sandoval spent the day sharing information with passersby about  her nonprofit's project that will convert a retired Muni bus into a hygiene  station for the local homeless population.

Sandoval said $75,000 was raised to retrofit the bus, which is  anticipated to be ready by the end of March.

On the bus, free showers and trips to the bathroom will be offered  at certain locations on a regular basis, she said.

After a six-month pilot program, Sandoval is planning to prepare  another three buses to dispatch into the community by 2015.

San Francisco resident Sharon Trotter said the mobile hygiene  station sounds like a "darned good idea."

Trotter, 54, has been homeless before, lived in shelters and is  currently living in a single-room occupancy on Sixth Street. She said she has  a friend who is still out on the streets and "if he could just take a shower,  it would be an immense help for him."

She said even though she has temporary housing, she shares a  bathroom with many other residents and would consider using the Lava Mae  showers or toilets.

She suggested Lava Mae set up the bus by Civic Center, where, she  said, "People are going to use it."

By the end of the day, several bids had been made on purchasing  the artsy toilets at an online auction at www.32auctions.com/lavamae.

Proceeds from the auction will go toward Lava Mae's local partners  at the Asian Pacific Island Wellness Center, Mission Neighborhood Resource  Center, Project Homeless Connect, San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium  and the San Francisco Mayor's Office of HOPE's Homeless Fund.
   

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