The sticker on each item for sale at the garage sale held by longtime Mission District artists Yolanda Lopez and her son Rio Yañez. (Lydia Chávez/Mission Local)
The sticker on each item at the garage sale held by longtime Mission District artists Yolanda Lopez and her son, Rio Yañez. (Lydia Chávez/Mission Local)

It’s no secret that San Francisco’s booming real estate market has made it challenging for anyone living on the margin. Art galleries near Union Square are being forced to leave and Oakland is luring working artists across the Bay, where cheaper rent is a huge draw. And then there are the local eviction tragedies, like that of two longtime Mission artists, Yolanda Lopez and her son, Rio Yañez, who are being forced to leave their duplex on San Jose Avenue after more than 30 years. This weekend the mother-son duo put on an eviction garage sale to help pay for the move. Mission Local has been covering the eviction saga of these highly esteemed Mission artists since the beginning, including a collaboration piece Lopez created with her lawyer, Adriana Camarena, transforming the mass of eviction paperwork into protest art. Mission Local editor Lydia Chávez checked in with Camarena about the garage sale:

The Garage Sale this weekend, wrote Camarena in an e-mail, was deliberately carried out in an art gallery as an art and political statement. “Probably the most valuable piece in the Garage Sale,” Camarena wrote, ”is the price sticker that reminds people that this is the eviction of two lifelong Mission artists: ‘Yolanda López and Río Yañez’s Eviction Garage Sale [$price]‘”

The garage sale protest was held at Galeria de la Raza, itself a historic San Francisco art establishment, showing works by artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Galeria’s former director and Yolanda Lopez’ ex-husband, Rene Yanez, is also being evicted.

  • NanaFranna

    What a shame that these artists and their artwork is not held in high regard as they deserve. I love you San Francisco, but shame on you!

    • Easygoer13

      why??? I mean it is so easy to want to be an artist….and to call yourself one….but others validate your work with their $$ ….and if it does not happen for you …your “art” does not support you…..than maybe its just a “hobby” …and you need to find something else

      • Lina

        EasyGoer….you don’t have a clue who these people are. They have been part of the cultural fabric of this area for decades. You probably did not go to or know about the over-sold-out benefit for Lopez and Rene Yanez last November at Brava Theater, nor that they were the backbone of the Galeria de la Raza or many other relevant points. So your point about “it is easy to call yourself one…others validate w/$$ etc.” demonstrates a huge lack of ignorance about the economy of the visual arts world and the economy of the tech industry’s impact on what had been a low key bohemian Latino multicultural community. Which are the points that attracted the $$ making techies to the area triggering greed-based evictions. Don’t try to take me on about this: I have worked professionally in the arts in SF/Oakland/San Jose for many decades in a capacity that keeps me very involved with issues affecting the cultural communities and their funding, AND have lived in this neighborhood…..

        • Easygoer13

          WRONG WRONG WRONG….if they are not earning a living that affords them the ability to live where they choose and it takes others to support them ….than their “art” while as gifted as they may be is not appreciated enough by those willing to pay the cost on a regular bases …. This is silly is some ways …I can call myself a singer or poet an artist but if no one or only a few view me as such ….than my passion for the “art: may exists but it is not enough to pay my bills….it is completely self indulgent to think others should, so I can satisfy my own desires … if the work or the art stands on its own then normally it is rewarded by those willing to pay for it

          • Lina

            What this eviction is about is thst after 30 years of doing just fine paying their rent they have been evicted under the Ellis Act which allows landlords to evict so that they can dramatically increase the rent. Ellis Act evictions have increased more than 70% in SF and especially the Mission in the past 2years. So, this was not a “wanna be” situation…it is a direct result of economic re-engineering of a neighborhood. Gentrification. I have worked many years as a Bay Area arts FUNDER; from your remarks it is clear that you do not have any grasp whatsoever of the mechanisms of support that economically sustain artists and arts organizations.

          • Easygoer13

            What was the rent compared to the fair market value …the problem that exists is like most things … balance …instead of people working together to a find a fair and reasonable solution ….most only want it one way….the way the most benefits them most….

  • Jeanne Corsick

    By this, SF is unfortunately losing it’s unique culture thereby about to become lackluster. All good things to these artists.

  • Jack Johnson


  • sfnative

    You should be naming the landlord. People should know what scumbags are reaponsible for this this.

  • shmulik

    Visitation Valley, in San Francisco, is calling you, artists. Come, own your home.


Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She's worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She's a staff writer for KQED's education blog MindShift.

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