Live at the Black Hawk - CODAworx

Live at the Black Hawk

Client: Tech in the Tenderloin

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team

Creative Director

Julia Beabout


Lead 3D Artist

Jimmy Yen


Lead Animator

Andrew Haugen


Development Lead

Sergey Federenko

Augmented City


Nikolai Basharin

Augmented City

Currently Featured Digital Artists

Lisa Padilla, Endi Woo Jin Kim, Michelle Yoon, Nalisha Jin, Brandon Liu


This award winning, interactive, Augmented Reality (AR) Placemaking experience, located in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, recreates a playful version of the world famous Black Hawk Jazz Club and serves as a virtual art, music and history gallery for local youths, artists and musicians. Using their own mobile phones, park goers can discover neighborhood stories, artworks and musical compositions while experiencing what "The Hawk" was like back in the day. This project was awarded multiple 2021 VEGA awards for Augmented Reality, Culture, Service, and Innovation. This project was partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


Live at the Black Hawk elevates the Tenderloin’s legacy of innovation and inclusion to shift the public narrative about the role and place of this challenging, underappreciated neighborhood in one of the world’s most innovative and prestigious cities.

Presented in partnership with Tech in the Tenderloin, Niantic, and the San Francisco Arts Commission, the project showcases the work of local youths, artists and musicians while also connecting low-opportunity youth and families with high-opportunity tech through digital art, music, storytelling and tech workshops.


Live at the Black Hawk combines Placemaking techniques, Collective Memory practice, and Augmented Reality (AR) to reconnect local residents, youths and visitors with the Tenderloin's radically inclusive, innovative past, present and future. Designed and created by Novaby, the experience is powered by Augmented City's cutting-edge visual positioning system and AR Cloud technology.

Novaby partnered with Tech in the Tenderloin and the Boys and Girls Club to provide AR workshops for local youths. The billboards on the exterior of the Black Hawk that historically told of upcoming live acts were repurposed as interactive audio-visual storyboards. Through field trips, research and digital art lessons, the youths created original illustrations and designed neighborhood histories and stories they wanted to tell.

Local professional artists were invited to create original, jazz-inspired artworks for the interior art gallery. The local non-profit Jazz Education Ensemble created the first original soundtrack. The experience hosts exhibits by neighborhood and Bay Area youths, artists and musicians on a rotating basis.

Additional Information

Live at the Black Hawk recreates the Tenderloin's world-famous Black Hawk Jazz Club that sat at the corner of Turk and Hyde streets in the heart of the Tenderloin. "The Hawk" attracted world-class talent from 1949 to 1963. Jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie played to packed houses, experimented with new sounds and recorded some of their best works. Local legend Dave Brubeck considered The Black Hawk his musical home. Here, his quartet infused their sound with foreign rhythms in new and innovative ways leading to one of the top selling jazz albums of all time. The Hawk was renowned as a socially-progressive, racially-inclusive club, even providing a dedicated, alcohol-free listening area where underage patrons could gather to learn about jazz and feel the vibe. Located in Boedekker Park, the Park provides much-needed space for relaxation, recreation and exercise for Tenderloin residents - many of whom live in dormitory style, SROs (single room occupancy units). The Park is a safe, welcoming place popular with local youths, schools and kids ranging from 3 to 103.