Public Art at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center
Art plays a vital role in creating a healing environment. Research suggests that it improves therapeutic outcomes and supports general wellness for patients, their loved ones and hospital staff. The San Francisco Arts Commission used best practices in the field and evidence-based design concepts to develop an extensive collection of artworks installed throughout the hospital and in public settings outside the building. These works include metal and stone sculptures, artist-created seating, contemporary stained glass, mosaic murals, terrazzo floor design, video installation and over 200 framed pieces for waiting rooms and public corridors. Many of these artworks feature the beauty of nature. Some provide for moments of contemplation and stillness, while others celebrate cultural heritage and depict life stories. The complete collection reflects the diversity and artistic vitality of San Francisco and is a model of innovation and creativity for art in a hospital setting.
Location: 23rd Street Entry Drive Median
American, b. 1941
Ethereal Bodies © 2015
Stainless steel sculpture; programmable LED lights; earthwork
These eight slender and diaphanous sculptures are grouped within a planted earthwork of tall grasses on undulating berms located in the center of the main entry drive turnaround median. As the viewer moves past the installation, the light and luminous stainless steel forms layer together to create patterns of other forms and come together to compose a single presence.
Location: Plaza between the new hospital and Building 5
Anna Valentina Murch
American, b. Scotland 1949 – 2014
Archipelago © 2014
Stainless steel, granite and LED lights
Archipelago is a visual metaphor for life, one that suggests the changing and adapting course of a river. The artist designed the entire plaza, with its sculptural seating, planters and olive trees, to be like islands set into a meandering river. One form flows into another to create passageways and quiet areas for solitude. At the center of the plaza stands an internally lit sculpture that, like a lantern, serves as a beacon at night.
Location: Potrero Boulevard Entry Plaza
American, b. 1952
Mother with Children with Hearts © 2015
San Francisco General Hospital is known as the “heart of the city” and the phrase inspired this series of sculptures. Mother with Children in the entry pavilion and the smaller Hearts figures sited along the walkway celebrate the crucial role the hospital plays in preserving and maintaining the community’s health and well-being.
Location: Surgery Waiting Room, Basement 1 Level
American, b. 1942
Quaking Aspens © 2015
Digital video on flat screen monitors with painted aluminum frame
Designed to match the other windows in the hospital, Quaking Aspens provides a virtual view onto Aspen trees dancing in the wind. The movement of the leaves is intended to be soothing and to create a meditative visual poem.
Location: Main Lobby
American, b. 1941
Nature of Medicine © 2015
Terrazzo floor design; mosaic murals
Both ancient and contemporary healing practices rely on the profound inter-connection between nature, science, and technology to treat human illness. The artist’s use of the flower motif in his designs for the lobby floor and mosaic murals is symbolic of this healing partnership.
Location: Emergency Department Entrance
American, b. Mexico 1973
Amate San Francisco © 2015
Amate San Francisco is inspired by the traditional indigenous Mexican folk art of amate (tree bark paper) paintings. As an homage to this tradition, the installation acknowledges the Latino heritage of the Mission District that San Francisco General Hospital calls home. The bird, animal and flower motif is a universal theme used by many cultures. It expresses the global nature of the hospital’s staff, patients, and visitors and the city as a whole.
Location: Three niches in the public corridors near elevator lobby, Floor 2
American, b. 1972
Quail and Monkey Branch © 2015
Tree of Life © 2015
Circular Path © 2015
Inspired by her interest in folk art, fables and the natural world, Lena Wolff combines elements of flora and fauna to create otherworldly and mythical narratives. Her work portrays plants, insects and animals interacting in fantastical habitats.
Location: Curved glass near elevator lobby and interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor, Floor 3
American, b. 1945
Forever Yours © 2015
Glass with vitreous enamels
These impressionistic views of springtime poppies and the golden hills of summer evoke the beauty of the Bay Area and the connection to nature that is central to the character of San Francisco. The artist created a series of digital images from overlaid and collaged photographs. The resulting design was translated into glass using a variety of techniques. The artist wishes to extend special thanks to Lenehan Architectural Glass and Magnolia Editions for their role in realizing the project.
Location: Curved glass near elevator lobby and interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor, Floor 4
American, b. 1962
Redbud Redux Suite © 2015
Glass with polyester film interlayer
Stephen Galloway’s three similar, but unique compositions are based on photographs of Western Redbud, a native California shrub. The two corridor windows depict meandering branches and leaves, while the curved glass captures a more scenic view. All three artworks appear to glow from within, capturing the look and feel of light in nature.
Location: Curved glass near elevator lobby and interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor, Floor 5
American, b. 1963
Revival © 2015
Glass with vitreous enamels and sandblasting
The flowering plants depicted in the artist’s designs include: Arnica and Angelica; Foxglove and Aconite; Passion Flower and Yarrow; Monkshood and Echinacea; and Passion Flower and Foxglove, are indigenous to Northern California. They have traditionally been grown or gathered for herbal and medicinal use.
Location: Curved glass near elevator lobby and interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor on eastern side of building, Floor 6
Julio Cesar Morales
American, b. Mexico 1966
Repeat Melody © 2015
Glass with vitreous enamels
In creating Repeat Melody the artist worked directly with patients, visitors and hospital staff to develop the artwork’s themes and color palette. Morales’ imagery draws inspiration from photographs taken during this collaboration, capturing the variety of people and experiences that make up the community of General Hospital.
Location: Interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor on western side of building, Floor 6
American, b. 1950
The Streets and Hills of San Francisco © 2015]
Glass and aluminum
Set among the steep hills of San Francisco, Arthur Stern’s colorful patchwork of buildings, parks, streets, clouds and sky takes its inspiration from the City’s rich cultural and geographical diversity.
Location: Curved glass near elevator lobby and interior courtyard windows flanking central corridor on eastern side of building, Floor 7
American, b. 1947
River of Time © 2015
Alan Masaoka’s varied motif of budding tree branches suspended above a calm river bed brings the outdoors inside, inviting reflection and meditation.
Location: Roof Garden, Floor 7
Japanese, b. 1949
Breath Between Sky and Ocean © 2015
Carved stone and exposed aggregate paths
Breath Between Sky and Ocean offers visitors a restorative connection to the natural world. The artwork consists of a series of hand carved granite boulders and pavers that are installed throughout the garden, connected by arcing paths. Ripples carved into the boulders express the themes of water and wind. The design on the stone pavers was inspired by the artist’s childhood memories of puddles after a rainstorm; the polished surfaces and cloud forms reflect the sky above.
Framed Artwork for Waiting Rooms and Corridors
Arts Commission staff in consultation with hospital representatives developed a comprehensive program of over 200 framed artworks installed in the public waiting areas and corridors of the new hospital building.
Artworks in this collection are by the following artists:
Mark McAfee Brown
Carmen Lomas Garza
Elisa Maria Leptich
Steven Vasquez Lopez
Eileen Frances Nelson
Ron Moultrie Saunders
Deth P. Sun
The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. To learn more visit sfartscommission.org.
Photography of artwork by Bruce Damonte and Perretti & Park Pictures