Central Subway Public Art Program



In conjunction with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Central Subway stretching from Chinatown to South of Market, the SFAC’s Public Art Program is managing the implementation of a diverse and exciting public art program that includes permanent artworks and related arts programming in adjacent neighborhoods. Click here for Arts Master Plan.


Artist Yumei Hou

Artist Yumei Hou final mural design for Chinatown Station.

Traditional Chinese paper cut artist Yumei Hou will be creating two large-scale laser-cut metal artwork installations for Chinatown Station based on the Yang Ge (Sprout Dance), a spontaneous outdoor folk dance from the Northeastern provinces of China. Yumei’s design captures the spirit of this popular dance, which typically involves groups of people of all ages, men and women, dancing vigorously in a variety of costumes to celebrate happy occasions such as Chinese New Year, birthdays and grand openings. The murals feature some of the dance’s most iconic folk heroes such as the Monkey King, the White Snake and the dragon mingled with scenes of country life. The cut metal panels will be painted a vibrant red and installed so that they stand slightly off from the wall to allow for shadow casting. The artwork at the mezzanine landing will be approximately 16’ high by 37’ wide and the artwork in the ticketing hall will be approximately 30’ high by 35’ wide.

Location of artist Tomie Arai’s artwork for Chinatown Station. The imagery depicted  is a placeholder for a design to be developed by the artist in the future.

Tomie Arai’s artwork for Chinatown Station, titled Urban Archeology, will illustrate the life and history of the area surrounding the station through large-scale images translated into architectural glass elements. Upon approaching the station, transit riders will encounter contemporary imagery of the vibrant Chinatown community on the station’s parapet façade along Stockton and Washington streets.  The artwork at the façade will be approximately 100’ in length with a height ranging from 9’ to 4’. The artwork project will continue at the platform level with historical imagery translated into glass panels covering the 25’ high walls at each end of the platform.

Artist Clare Rojas’ proposal for Chinatown Station

Clare Rojas will create an integrated two-dimensional artwork for the cross cut
cavern wall at the concourse level of the Central Subway Chinatown Station. The artwork imagery will be based on Chinese textile samples patterned in the style of Cathedral Quilting. Each individual and distinct colorful swatch will appear to be framed within a small circle closely connected to other circles. The result will be an overall collection of images representing the Chinatown community held together by a common history and culture. The artwork will be permanently installed on a wall with the approximate dimensions of 36’ wide by 18’ high and 480 square feet. The artwork will be translated into a durable material such as mosaic or tile for installation.


Artist Erwin Redl’s proposal for Union Square/Market Street Station

The artwork by Erwin Redl for the Union Square/Market Street Station titled “Lucy in the Sky,” is an illuminated installation comprised of hundreds of translucent 10 x 10 inch light panels, each containing an array of color LEDs.  The light panels will be suspended along the entire length of the concourse level corridor’s ceiling in a diamond-shaped pattern and will be computer programmed to slowly change color and display simple patterns and animations.

Artists Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz’s proposal for Union Square/Market Street Station.

For the platform level of the Union Square/Market Street Station, the artists Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz are creating a site-specific stainless steel sculpture titled “Illuminated Scroll.” This artwork is in the form of a ribbon with dimensions of approximately 250’ in length and a width that varies from 4’ to 8’. The sculpture, which is comprised of highly polished steel disks, will be installed overhead winding its way through the struts along the length of the platform and will reflect the passengers and trains passing below.

Artist team Hughen Starkweather’s proposal for Union Square/Market Street Station

For the station entry at the Union Square/Market Street Station, Hughen Starkweather (Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather) will integrate a design into the glass deck and the front faces of the glass elevator enclosures. Their artwork titled “Convergence: Commute Patterns,” is based on the dynamic and diverse pathways, commute patterns and arterial structures that exist above and below the streets of the Bay Area. The visual impact of this design treatment to the station’s exterior would shift from being subtle during the day to backlit and more vibrant at night.


Artist Catherine Wagner’s proposal for Yerba Buena/Moscone Station.

For the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, Catherine Wagnerwill translate photographs she took in the late 70s documenting the construction of the George Moscone Convention Center into six large-scale photographic sculptural reliefs sandblasted and laser etched onto granite stone panels for installation on the concourse level. The granite panels will be approximately 10’ high by 12.5’ wide. For the surface level at the station entry, a photograph from this series will be translated into art glass for installation at the glass curtain wall. The art glass installation at this location will be approximately 14’ high by 23’ wide.

Artist Leslie Shows’ proposal for Yerba Buena/Moscone Station

For a prominent wall in the ticketing hall on the concourse level of the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, Leslie Shows will create an integrated two-dimensional artwork  approximately 36’ wide by 15′ high. The artwork titled “Face C/Z” is based on a photographic image of iron pyrite captured by a flatbed scanner.  The pyrite (or “fool’s gold”) image speaks to ever-shifting notions of value in industry and aesthetics, the many historical “gold rushes” of California, and the idea that anything might be made valuable under the right circumstances. The artwork will be fabricated in mirrored, painted, and engraved glass; sheet metal; gravel; and other permanent materials.


Artist Moto Ohtake’s proposal for the 4th and Brannan Platform Station

Moto Ohtake is creating a wind activated kinetic sculpture titled “Microcosmic” for installation at the 4th and Brannan platform station. “Microcosmic” measures approximately 14’ high by 17’ at its widest and will be installed on the upper section of a 40’ marquee pole on the platform. The sculpture has 31 rotating points, which allows it to interact with the environment by responding to San Francisco’s variable wind conditions.  It is designed to create rotations that move in opposite direction to one another under the same wind conditions. The moving components of the sculpture will create both compound gyroscopic motions and various visual patterns within the structure, depending on the direction and fluctuation of wind patterns.


The construction barricades at Chinatown and Yerba Buena/Moscone stations feature a changing exhibition of temporary murals. Each mural will be on view for approximately one year from 2014 until the completion of construction in 2018.


Kota Ezawa’s artwork for the Chinatown Station construction barricades

“Panorama” by artist Kota Ezawa,  is an approximately 150 ft. wide and 4 feet tall mural print, composed of diverse depictions of horizon lines that is installed on the construction fence for the Chinatown Subway Station on Stockton Street. The imagery in the mural consists of re-drawn photographs referencing various artists’ projects, geographic locations, historic and contemporary events, which all prominently feature a horizon.  Even though the project does not make an overt reference to China or Asia, the extreme horizontal orientation of a landscape is a format common in Chinese and other Asian painting traditions. This artwork will be on view approximately January 2014 – January 2015.



Randy Colosky’s mural on the construction barricades

“Ellipses in the Key of Blue” is a mural by Randy Colosky located on the construction wall surrounding the future Central Subway YerbaBuena/Moscone Station at 4th and Folsom. The mural is an extension of the pattern iteration drawings that Colosky makes with drafting templates used in mechanical drawing. Colosky has worked in the building trades and is interested in how construction projects and building sites can sometimes have formal moments during the process of construction. He starts by using drafting tools to make drawings as a way to tap into how these formal aspects are created. The drafting template offers an interesting scenario in that it is a fixed pattern. Like fractals repeating in nature, the template pattern (as it is incrementally moved in the act of drawing) generates its own algorithm. According to the artist, “this fixed algorithm takes the decision making out of my hands as to the ultimate composition, which makes the drawing process more of a meditative execution of the piece.” This artwork will be on view approximately June 2014 – June 2015.


San Francisco Arts Commission

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

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