Residing Here, is a public portrait and storytelling project based on illustrating and publicly exhibiting the unique relationships that a wide diversity of Berkeley residents have to both the natural and urban environment, shaping their stories and values in ways specific to this city and their experiences within it.  Through a selection process in which residents tell their individual stories and participate in photography sessions with the artist a select group of people of diverse ages, cultures and economic conditions will be chosen.  The result will yield physical installations of life-size portraits to be installed in public venues, both  native habitat and urban landscape, becoming part of the visual information and stimulation of our city. In addition to visual imagery, each installation will have a scannable code that connects the viewer through their phone to a dedicated app, where they can hear the subject’s story in their own words.  With the oral history of the people who live here, the public will discover that individual experience becomes collective identity.  


Residing Here is a collaborative project between Samantha Matalone Cook and Sheila Metcalf Tobin, both Berkeley residents and artists in their own ways. You can contact them about this project by emailing or

Exhibition Dates:**

August 7th, 2018: Ecology Center Night Out for Liberation and Safety 6-9:30pm *

August 11th, 2018: Ecology Center Salsa Festival 10am-3pm

August 16th, 2018: Ecology Center Thursday Beer Garden 3-7pm

September 9th, 2018: Solano Stroll, Solano Avenue Berkeley 10am-5pm

The Berkeley residents we interviewed are a diverse group in age, circumstance, experience, and perspective. They all gave a thoughtful and personal reflection of their life and their work here in Berkeley. We have included two audio clips for each person- the full interview (20-60 minutes in length), and a shorter edited interview (an average of 4 minutes in length) which contain what we feel is the essence of their interview. We are so grateful to all of our participants for sharing their stories with us, and with you.


Persis Karim

Persis M. Karim, Ph.D. is the Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair at the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University, is a BUSD parent, the daughter of immigrants, and regularly walks at the Berkeley Marina. Originally from Walnut Creek, she moved to Berkeley in 1998 after finishing graduate school.


Simi Litvak

Simi Litvak has lived in Berkeley since 1984 and is a disability rights advocate and LGBTQ activist. Living with a disability herself, she loves and uses the Berkeley YMCA regularly for community and movement.


Sara Kaplan

Sara Kaplan has lived in Berkeley since 2011 and is a self love teacher and advocate, a Trans lives activist, and a BUSD parent to two transgender kids.


Devin McDonald

Devin McDonald was born in Berkeley to a well known musical and political family in the community. He and his wife saved the long established toy store, Mr Mopps, from closing a few years ago, keeping it open and flourishing for many generations to come.

Teddy Berger Greer

Teddy Berger Greer was born in 2009 and died in 2012 from rare from of childhood cancer. His mother, Clarence reflects on Teddy’s love of trains, particularly the Steam Trains in Tilden Park, and how her Berkeley community helped her family survive his diagnosis, treatment, and death.


Mah Kande

Mah Kande, originally from Senegal, settled in Berkeley in 1998. He is a BUSD parent and African Drummer, and he often hosts gatherings at the local park to teach drumming and build community.

Paul Allman
Paul Allman moved to Berkeley in 1936, when there were still horse drawn carts. Among his many experiences, he has worked as Night harbor master and art columnist for the Berkeley Gazette, witnessed the Berkeley Pier fire, and is the last surviving human to have ridden in the cab of a coal fired locomotive on Shattuck Avenue.

Carole Davis Kennerly

Carole Davis Kennerly has lived in Berkeley since the late 1960’s and has served in both appointed and elected city  government positions, including City Council and Vice Mayor, Berkeley, Ca. As Co-Founder/Director, she spearheaded the South Berkeley community project to establish a Wm Byron Rumford Statue and preserve local history.

Nick McMullan

Nick McMullan was born in Berkeley to formerly homeless parents, and has channeled his family’s experience into active participation in local politics. He is currently a CAS student at Berkeley High School and interns with his city council woman’s office.

Roger Yarborough

Roger Yarborough moved to Berkeley in 1950 with his family, and was a Marine, Black Panther member, and is a Vietnam Veteran. He is the father of 20 children and worked as a journeyman carpenter. Roger is currently homeless, battling lung disease and working part time at the Sink Factory.