Creatively decorated toilets lined a street corner in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood on Thursday to raise awareness for a nonprofit that is converting old Muni buses into mobile showers and toilets for the homeless.
Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval was out at the corner of Market and 10th streets most of the day as part of an art installation titled, "C'mon Give a Sh-t!"
Six toilets designed by local artists and designers were on display to raise money for local homeless organizations and to share information about limited access to flushing toilets and other amenities around the world and even in the Bay Area.
Sandoval said mid-afternoon many people had stopped by to look at the toilets, including a white furry one and a papier-mache urinal.
"People are saying it's so cool," Sandoval said. "They find them playful and fun. They are fascinated by the toilets."
Artists Ana Fernandez, Sarah Ratchye and Travis Somerville, and designers Maloos Anvarian, Jeff Shipley, and Monica Viarengo created the bathroom art.
Sandoval spent the day sharing information with passersby about her nonprofit's project that will convert a retired Muni bus into a hygiene station for the local homeless population.
Sandoval said $75,000 was raised to retrofit the bus, which is anticipated to be ready by the end of March.
On the bus, free showers and trips to the bathroom will be offered at certain locations on a regular basis, she said.
After a six-month pilot program, Sandoval is planning to prepare another three buses to dispatch into the community by 2015.
San Francisco resident Sharon Trotter said the mobile hygiene station sounds like a "darned good idea."
Trotter, 54, has been homeless before, lived in shelters and is currently living in a single-room occupancy on Sixth Street. She said she has a friend who is still out on the streets and "if he could just take a shower, it would be an immense help for him."
She said even though she has temporary housing, she shares a bathroom with many other residents and would consider using the Lava Mae showers or toilets.
She suggested Lava Mae set up the bus by Civic Center, where, she said, "People are going to use it."
By the end of the day, several bids had been made on purchasing the artsy toilets at an online auction at www.32auctions.com/lavamae.
Proceeds from the auction will go toward Lava Mae's local partners at the Asian Pacific Island Wellness Center, Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, Project Homeless Connect, San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium and the San Francisco Mayor's Office of HOPE's Homeless Fund.