Sustenance: 150 Years of Feeding the Community at 600 Divisadero


Rare Device presents “Sustenance”, a new group gallery exhibition with a focus on the unique histories of 600 Divisadero and the positive effects the residents of the space have had on the community. Curated by Lauren Venell, the show features local art by Lauren Venell, Heather Hardison, Samantha Barsky, Alyson Thomas, Dan Brazelton, Tina Jett, Ally Trigg, Andrew Venell, Brian McHugh and Karen Curtiss.

600 Divisadero Street has provided nourishment to everyone around it for over 150 years. Since 1876 this piece of pasture has housed an orphanage, a Bank of Italy, a neighborhood meat market, and now, Rare Device shop and gallery. Each of these institutions has fed the community--sometimes with food, and sometimes with more spiritual sustenance, as a place for neighbors to gather and feel at home. The community also feeds 600 Divis, much like tributaries feed a river. Generations of San Franciscans have flowed through here, sometimes stopping and spending time with the people, goods and spaces that have grown and changed here over time.

In 1876 the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum was built on the site of 600 Divisadero, which fed dozens of children--and, after the 1906 earthquake, more than 50 other members of the local community as well. Even though the kitchen was destroyed, Superintendent Henry Mauser grilled meats over an improvised fire pit for weeks following the disaster. 50 years later 600 Divis continued that tradition by serving local residents with high-quality, low-cost meats at Divisadero Meat Market. Divisadero Meat Market stayed open for 84 years under just two different owners, finally closing in 2010. Now the storefront is home to Rare Device, a welcoming spot where people can nourish their spirits and homes with meaningful, beautiful objects, or gather for community events like children's story time.

About Lauren Venell: Lauren Venell is an independent designer and artist from San Francisco, whose products can be found in stores around the world. Her work has been published in titles by Chronicle Books, Klutz/Scholastic, and Quarry Books, and featured in several media outlets including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Everyday with Rachel Ray and on Canal+ Television. Lauren lives and works with her husband and an ornery parrotlet named Elvis.