Vivian Ellis

Over the years, Vivian Ellis has seen many changes in her community. Her parents migrated to San Francisco in the 1940s and lived in Hunter’s Point before moving to Bayview. Here, she talks about growing up and discovering herself through her community, and the history of her people.


Vivian Ellis

Born in Bayview
59 years old
Teacher & producer

A Bayview artist reflects on her childhood

As a child, Vivian remembers skating around the block, playing at the park, and hanging out at Joe Lee’s gym. With school right across the street, Vivian didn’t get a chance to wander far from home.

As she got older, Vivian enjoyed exploring more of the city. She recalls riding the bus to the retirement home her grandmother owned, and feeling irritated with the hippies who blocked the street. On the whole, the sixties and seventies were full of joy. “It felt like the sun was shining every single day,” Vivian muses.

A dedicated teacher, Vivian is passionate about promoting arts and education in her community. She sees the positive in her community — fathers stepping up to the plate, acceptance of different races, and programs that welcome new neighbors to the community.

“My career started with my people.”