City College Art Gallery


Preston Gannaway

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

August 21 to September 20, 2017

Artist Talk:Wednesday, September 6, 6:30 to 7:30, Visual Arts Bldg, Room 102

Preston Gannaway is a Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary photographer and artist. For more than 15 years, she has focused on intimate stories about American families and marginalized communities while addressing themes such as gender identity, class and our relationship to the landscape.

Editorial clients include New York Times Magazine, California Sunday Magazine, Mother Jones, ESPN, and WIRED among others. Her first book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, about the changing character of a seaside neighborhood along the Chesapeake Bay, was released in 2014.

Preston Gannaway states about Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea:

Seven and a half miles of beach stretch along the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia. There are few, if any, spots in the Ocean View neighborhood
where one can actually see the Atlantic. It’s a place of inherent contradictions. Vulnerable to weather’s every whim, its connection to the natural world—even if
not embraced—can’t be denied. Once a rowdy playground for sailors, the picturesque landscape was rampant with drugs and prostitution. Over the
decades, it’s been a siren call for transients and misfits.

But low rent also provides a way out of the projects for working-class families. For them, the beach is free. And it’s always there. Ocean View is an area filled
with pride, yet perpetually changing. Old cottages are being bulldozed to build million dollar homes. “We’re gonna reclaim some of this property and make it
what it should be,” said a woman who moved to the neighborhood’s affluent subdivision a few years ago. Competing desires are at the heart of this community.

Gentrification is far from egalitarian. Though lower crime is an obvious upside, other effects of the changing demographics are far murkier. They are, as the
saying goes, somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea.

When I first moved to Ocean View in 2009, I found the beauty and complexity overwhelming and intoxicating. I felt compelled to photograph it. Having grown up
in a homogenized part of the Old South, I’ve long been drawn to—and felt liberated by—difference.

I had never seen a place so eclectic as Ocean View. I find its imperfections attractive, and perhaps more importantly, truthful. As a hairdresser here once put
it to me, “A place so diverse must be forgiving.”

City College Art Gallery is located in the Visual Art Building's room 119 on the Ocean Campus of City College of San Francisco. The gallery is wheelchair accessible, free to the public, and just a few blocks from the Balboa BART station. 

Gallery Hours: please call 415.239.3157 or415.239.3156 for current gallery hours and directions.


The City College Art Gallery’s Mission:

  • Establish City College Art Gallery as an important arts destination for citizens of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, thereby stimulating active public awareness, support, and participation in the arts.
  • Provide a free, publicly accessible venue for art made by regional and national artists as well as the distinguished faculty, staff, students and alumni of City College.
  • Provide meaningful cultural and learning experiences for City College students by hosting contemporary art exhibitions in a critical context, which ultimately improves visual literacy and analytical thinking.
  • Introduce City College art students to art professionalism through juried exhibitions and visiting artist-led workshops.
  • Offer City College art students hands-on training in all aspects of gallery management, providing them practical job skills in order to gain employment in the art field.