February 22nd 2018 | 7-10

Roots & Branches embodies the decade long pact between an artist, place and community. The understated motifs and patterns of the Bay Area are modified and spliced in the works and sounds of Nicholas Basta, a process that has repositioned ELL as a Record Shop -  a space built on stories and exchange.

For this show at ELL, Oakland-based artist and educator Nicholas Basta takes his practice and long standing creative relationships to explore the beginnings of Roots & Branches in the context of the storefront arts space. This is a collaborative exhibition of DJ’s and beatmakers; illustrators and artists; photographers and directors; to explore a space in between creativity and commerce.
15% of the proceeds will support Elevate Oakland, a non profit focused on supporting and increasing access to music education in public schools.    51oakland.org

for more info | rootsandbranches.org

February 1st 2018 | 6-9

EVIDENCE: Visualizing Urban Divides is a crowd-sourced, interactive photo exhibition that interrogates the ubiquity of division in the contemporary city. As urbanization and economic inequality reach record levels, our cities are seeing amplified gentrification, ghettoization, and unprecedented camp formations. Physical manifestations of inequality or difference, urban divides are becoming more pervasive. Yet in the public imagination, they are often perceived as symptoms of conflict or of a failed society- not characteristics of our own neighborhoods. By juxtaposing photography of iconic divides with everyday urban conditions, this exhibition challenges that assumption, arguing that in fact it is the Utopian undivided city that is a myth. Every city is divided, and often not by a simple line. A complement to the explorations in the Yale Architectural Journal, Perspecta 50: Urban Divides, this exhibition investigates the spatial and architectural actors of urban divides, reassessing division as a ubiquitous mechanism of urbanism.
Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal is the oldest student-edited architectural journal in the United States, is internationally respected for its contributions to contemporary architectural discourse with original presentations of new projects as well as historical and theoretical essays.

Exhibition: August 24th | 6-9

This is ours: an american dream.

We trace the overlooked histories of those who came before us, and bear witness for those who follow.

Explore and you may find a story familiar to your own.

Take a seat, you are welcome here.

Find Familiar uncovers an overlooked and excluded history.

This work of artifacts and found objects explores the individual and collective identity while questioning formative associations. The story tangibly depicts one familiar domestic narrative; recorded by one contemporary artist; forged by many landmark voices.

A response to Tolerance & Time w/ Afton Love & Feifei Feng.


Duration: July 13th | 6-9  -  November 2017



Afton Love and Feifei Feng explore presence and the human condition through personal depictions of the natural, synthetic, and imaginary.


The two large format works pair the environments of the New Mexican landscape and a West Coast American City together in a conversation at ELL, to consider vastness and entropy; geologic and constructed time; and the intertwined natural and built narrative.


Afton Love is an Oakland based visual artist who works across media, including graphite, beeswax, resin and latex. Her work aims to call attention to our human condition in connection with the natural world, and is influenced by her extensive time spent in the vast landscape of the American West. Love has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California College of the Arts.



Hailing from China, Australia, and now the US, Feifei is an architect by day and artist by night. She has a Master of Architecture degree from MIT and Bachelors degrees in Design and Architectural Studies from UNSW, Sydney. She is the co-founder of ISO Ideas – an architectural design collaborative, and Monoseason – a minimalist lifestyle store. Her work is informed by a fascination with the the cultural and social impacts of urban development, proposing alternative urban narratives that seek to reevaluate our living environment and re-generate awareness through productive friction.


In collaboration with:

Stanford Urban Resilience Initiative

ELL is holding a public forum, social reception and pin-up in response to the Art-a-thon. We would like to represent the vision of each participant by including all the work, process and documentation — the messy, the clean, the written, the crumpled — produced during the Art-a-Thon. This reception will be a space to discuss the event, show the process and production, and exchange ideas.


The Art-a-thon for Natural Disasters and Climate Change in the Bay Area was a two day event held on April 29th and 30th at the Epicenter SF that brought together artists, designers, ethnographers, and scientists to collaboratively explore the future of the region in a world of climate change and natural disasters. The goals of the event included: a fun weekend with new friends, new longer-term collaborations, new ways of thinking about climate and disaster risk science, and compelling project proposals. Process work and documentation will contribute to the conversation at ELL.

Duration: May 18th | 2017 - 6-9


Duration: February 3rd - April 20th | 2017

“Tales of the Isolated Warriors”, Santos Shelton introduces a new series of work based on the theme of isolation. Inspiration taken from his own experiences, Shelton examines the bigger questions surrounding why people choose to isolate themselves from others and why society isolates certain individuals. This set of work is the next chapter in his ongoing narrative based on a fictional universe the artist uses to represent his ideas. Using abstract and illustrative influences, Shelton seeks to express emotion and thoughts that reflect his life while being a record of the time we live in. In “Tales of the Isolated Warriors,” the story continues after “the traveler” has drifted in space for over a century. He is drawn by an unknown force to a mountain located on a isolated planet. He meets a strange warrior there and discovers not only the secret of the mountain, but gains some insight into his own demons.
Santos Shelton has created his own universe with galaxies, planets, and beings that live within. He uses his life experiences in conjunction with what he sees is affecting society to tell stories of distant worlds and civilizations, while allowing this universe to grow and be molded by his artistic journey. His universe is not just a conduit for him to share his feelings but to hopefully help create a better understanding of the human experience. Santos is currently based in Oakland, CA. He uses bold colors, shapes, and patterns tempered with abstract expressive movement to create emotion in his work. Illustrative influences add a deeper and personal touch to bring his universe to life while using the power of story-telling to convey his intent and message. He believes in communicating an idea through these various mediums to allow the viewer not just a moment of reflection in their own life, but to come to their own conclusions and understanding about what the work means.

Listening Party | Response I

Event Date/Time: March 09th | 6-9

Sound and story combine to add an audio dimension to Shelton’s visual work. Building on a practice she learned while studying radio documentary at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, Sarah's Listening Parties are a collective connection to one of our most intimate (and overlooked) senses. Think of it as a rare opportunity to sit in good company, close your eyes, and soak in sound.

Closing Reception | Response II

Event Date/Time: April 20th | 6-9

Sourced from the individual and reflective mind - join us in review of a collaborative effort that addresses the formalities of social structure, reflection, vulnerability and honesty.

Duration: October 14th - December 16th | 2016

“Wish You Were Here”, a collaborative exhibit by San Francisco creative group Day Dreamers Limited, will open as part of the inaugural show for ELL, a new exhibition space whose curatorial focus is cross-disciplinary work.
ELL is located at the crossroads of Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Financial District; neighborhoods that are constantly changing, but also central to the tourist, adult entertainment, and financial industries.
Taking cues from these overlapping cultures, Day Dreamers Limited will explore the nostalgia of tourist traps and souvenir shops by creating fine art as well as traditional versions of San Francisco souvenirs, including pressed pennies, t-shirts and fortune cookies. Vending machines will be installed on site, allowing the audience to participate by purchasing souvenirs from the exhibit.
The notion of San Francisco as a salable commodity intrigued the group. The tourist industry is a big part of San Francisco, but one with which we locals rarely interact. By applying our own aesthetics and skills to traditional notions of San Francisco and its souvenirs, we can elevate something we love deeply within our own constructive commentary.