Artwork Proposals for the Glen Park Recreation Center









The San Francisco Arts Commission is working with the Recreation and Parks Department and the Department of Public Works to commission a public artwork at the Glen Park Recreation Center. The project goal is to commission a signature artwork in association with the renovation of the Glen Canyon Recreation Center, which highlights the site’s natural environmental attributes or reflects its unique history.


In September 2014, a Public Art Selection Panel consisting of two arts professionals, a community representative, a Recreation and Parks representative, and a member of the Design Team reviewed and scored the portfolios of 8 artists from the Arts Commission’s list of prequalified artists selected by Arts Commission staff. The four highest scoring artists were invited to create proposals for the site: Jenny Heishman, Cameron Hockenson, Living Lenses (Po Shu Wang), and Charles Sowers. The four finalists met with members of the Project Team and members of the community to discuss the goals of the project and visit the project site and its surrounding neighborhood. The finalists then spent several months developing their proposals that are on display at the Glen Park Recreation Center and on the Arts Commission website for public comment from December 18, 2014 – January 10, 2015. Comments will be summarized and shared with the Panel prior to the final selection. Please note that comments by interested members of the public do not constitute a vote.

The proposals on display are the finalists’ preliminary concepts. The selected proposal will be further developed and refined to determine the fabrication technique, and meet all feasibility, maintenance, safety and other requirements, as needed. All final designs are subject to approval by the Arts Commission prior to implementation.


Please take a few minutes to review the proposals on display here and complete a comment form. You may email your comments to Zoë Taleporos, at or mail/hand deliver comments to the San Francisco Arts Commission at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 345. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on January 12, 2015.

Comment forms are also available in the exhibition notebook at the Glen Park Recreation Center during the proposal display period of December 18, 2014 – January 10, 2015.

The Final Selection Panel meeting will take place on January 16, 2015 at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 8th floor conference room, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The winning proposal will be selected at this meeting, which is open to the public and includes a period for public comment. A meeting agenda will be posted on the Arts Commission website at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at under the Public Meeting section.


Click here to download a comment form as a Word document. Or, copy and paste the questions below:

1. Comment on the strengths (i.e. unique, beautiful, timeless, bold, etc.) of any/all of these artwork proposals.

2. Comment on the weaknesses of any/all of these artwork proposals.

3. Will any/all of these artworks be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds?

4. How well do any/all of these artworks fit into the Glen Park Recreation Center and surrounding area?

5. Please tell us your zip code for: where you live; where you work.

6. Additional comments:



Hockenson BANQUET GCP REC Center ART Proposal (2)

Banquet is a feast table for life in Glen Canyon Park, and a place of gathering within the community. As a four course “slow-food” meal for flora and fauna throughout the seasons, Banquet serves up a unique sensory experience of life for residents of San Francisco. The table itself symbolizes a microcosm of the park ecosystem where all residents may gather, collapsing perceived boundaries between ourselves and the environment we live in.

Made of monolithic granite slabs, roughly hewn, the table features a central planter for a botanical feast. Place settings of ceramics or enameled steel, with deep basins for soil will be inset into the surface of the table. Banquet courses change as seasons change. Spring features wildflowers like lupines, poppies, red columbine, seep monkey flower, blue-eyed grass, checkerbloom, mule’s ears, or bee plant. Summer courses may include horsetail, coastal sage or coyote bush. A fall harvest may include a variety of bunch grasses. For dessert, winter toyon berries are served.

The arrangement of the table is similar to that of the canyon itself with a surrounding square that allows access, gathering space, and circulation. Riparian plants grow in the center, and coastal scrub at the sloped periphery of the table. The small square, in which the table is located, will be surrounded with plantings that compliment those on the table. There are twelve place settings, and 10 seats, with two spaces which are ADA accessible.

Banquet will attract life in many forms, in some cases migrating thousands of miles, in others, living year-round within the park and city. At the center of the table, edible seeds, nectar, pollen-filled flowers, berries, and fibrous grasses grow from ceramic terrines, platters, and bowls. A variety of insects feast on pollen and nectar including butterflies, damselflies, bumblebees, and honeybees. Insects attract western fence lizards, alligator lizards, mice, bats, and a number of birds. Reptiles, rodents, and small birds in turn draw hawks, owls, opossums, and coyotes. Plates overflow with a main course of wild flowers and grasses. Toyon berries in the surrounding plaza will be appealing to animals like raccoons and coyotes. The table itself effectively becomes a stage for interaction and a feast for the senses. Local history suggests Native Americans, early settlers, and many residents have had an intimate knowledge of coastal flora, and used it frequently for food and medicine. In many ways Banquet reflects an interdependent relationship the community has had with Glen Canyon over time.

The ecological and social qualities of “Banquet” will draw hikers, bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, recreators, and students. The art will become a point of rendezvous, a place to rest, or a place of picnics and gathering, and as a place to contemplate its poetic message.

Click here to see a larger PDF of the proposal.

Round the Campfire

JH_Glen Canyon Rec Center Proposal Display Board_final

Round the Campfire is a group of objects based on those found at a state or national park campground scene.  At the center of this universe is, of course, the campfire.  Moving in concentric rings out from this center is the ring of stones that demarcate the fire pit.  Next is a group of logs placed end-up for makeshift seats.  Further out are picnic tables.  And finally, peeking in from the edge of the clearing, are animal eyes making the outer ring.  At the Glen Canyon Recreation Center, this scene is set with the curved wall of the planter bed used as a section of a larger, imagined circle with the center located at the tip of the area outlined as the “art site.”  The forms have been stylized, colored and spaced to create a pattern with radial symmetry, not unlike a mandala.  It’s the rhythm and repetition of the simple forms that gives the piece it’s presence as well as the recognition of the scene of a deeply rooted human experience – sitting around a fire together.

This design not only references the larger context of the site as a place where the community comes to recreate, as a place that sits on the threshold between a neighborhood and nature, and as a place that offers a beloved summer camp experience in the otherwise urban environment; it also continues to provide a social space for the community to gather.  Rather than remove the existing, very well used picnic tables, this concept folds the picnic tables into the design both visually and conceptually.  Round the Campfire is an artwork that functions like a stage set, where all visitors can actively use the sculptures as props, inhabiting the space in a playful way and perhaps share with one another their campfire stories.

Click here to see a larger PDF of the proposal.

Canyon Symphony

LL Board

The artwork site is located at the bottom of the canyon, between the recreation center buildings and the playground. So the public is already being exposed to the ‘endless forms most wonderful’ of the natural surroundings all the way up the canyon, as well as the interesting blockings of the recreation center, and the play structures.

Given the visual stimuli already present, this proposal made use of the simplest of forms in contrast. The idea is to stir visitors’ curiosity and direct their attention to something less obvious but important about the place.

The sculpture consists of a mirror polished 9’Ø stainless sphere and a 5’6” Ø ring in front of it. They sit on opposite edge of a 12’Ø colored concrete paving area at the site.

The artwork is also an interactive platform through which visitors can discover how the Canyon is moving in real time, by listening to how it sings.

A 24”Ø black granite information plaque is inlayed between the Sphere and the Ring, inviting visitors to touch the two ‘touch buttons’ set on opposite sides of the ring. The buttons are set at a distance that one person alone will not be able to reach both of them. This is intentionally set to require a collaborative effort of at least two visitors holding hands to reach for the buttons together. In doing so, they are using their connective selves to complete the ‘switch-on circuit’ that turns the Canyon Symphony on.

The whole interactive electronic setup is modularly put together from four off the shelf, time tested mini electronic components, designed for maintenance friendly. (1) A Geophone accelerometer is set under the granite plaque to sense the constant movements of the Canyon. (2) A controller inside the sphere collects the Geophone signals, sends it to a (3) processor to convert into music, and output it through a (4) speaker. The two touch buttons set on the ring are wired to form the ‘on/off switch’ circuit with the visitors. (See Electronic Schematic Chart for details.)

1.Visitors can eavesdrop on the movement of the canyon on demand, but only if he or she is willing to collaborate with at least one other person. They are literally forming a very weak electrical circuit with the earth.

2. A call for volunteers will be sent out to the community of the Canyon Park to lend their voices in recording single notes following pitch samples provided by the artist.

The notes will make up two octaves of a custom harmonic scale, calculated with its Tonic note taken from the Earth’s fundamental free oscillation period (see Tuning Chart for details.) So local volunteers’ voices will form the pre-recorded notes that will be coupled with the X Y Z axis of the local earth movements, and literally giving voices to an ever evolving symphony of the Canyon.

Click here to see a larger PDF of the proposal.

Solar Totems


Inspired by 19th century meteorological instruments that used a spherical glass lens to burn a sunshine record on a substrate of wood or paper, Solar Totems is an aesthetic-scientific instrument, a kind of sculptural data-logger that creates an archive that helps the viewer consider the interaction of sun, weather and site.

Solar Totems is a sculpture composed of three 30 inch diameter by 9 foot tall old growth redwood logs. The logs are installed upright in a triad arrangement on the open, south-facing plaza in front of the Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center. A solar powered heliograph mechanism with a spherical lens is mounted on one of the logs. The sun’s rays are focused by the lens to lightly burn into the wood. As the sun moves across the sky, the burn becomes a line; preserving a record of sunshine periodically broken by fog or cloudy skies. The lens is advanced a small distance each day to create a distinct daily line. The mechanism records one year of daily atmospheric conditions. When the yearly record is complete, the heliograph is moved to another log, leaving a sculptural archive of daily variations in sunlight that park visitors can use to compare regional weather patterns from year to year.

Solar Totems is inspired by 19th century meteorological instruments that similarly burned a record of the relative proportions of clear or cloudy skies that occurred during the day. But unlike the traditional instruments that produced a separate burn record for each day, or blurred multiple day records into one hard to read meta-pattern, the heliograph mechanism in Solar Totems writes a sequential solar text, day by day, line by line, like a written document. This stacked, linear arrangement of solar burn markings evokes letters, words, and sentences, linking solar script to manuscript, the traditional symbol of archived human knowledge from the cultural past.

The annual rings of the 200 year old logs themselves are a biological archive of seasonal weather conditions also created by sunlight. Reclaimed from the forest floor where they sat for 100 years since felling, these very rot-resistant redwood logs are repurposed receive this solar manuscript. Taken together, the three transformed logs turn the plaza into a kind of civic solar and atmospheric observatory, artistically expanding our understanding of place and connecting us to our environment through that understanding.

Click here to see a larger PDF of the proposal.


San Francisco Arts Commission

401 Van Ness, Ste. 325
San Francisco, CA 94102

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