San Francisco General Hospital Acute Care Unit Public Art Program

Rendering by Fong & Chan Architects of San Francisco

Rendering by Fong & Chan Architects of San Francisco

San Francisco General Hospital recently broke ground on its new, nine-story, 448,000-square-foot Acute Care Unit. Designed by Fong & Chan Architects of San Francisco and scheduled to open by 2015, the new hospital will be built amid the medical center’s historic red brick buildings on the 24-acre campus along Potrero Avenue. The General Hospital Acute Care Unit project generated approximately $7 million in Art Enrichment funds for a comprehensive public art program, which will produce an art collection that meets the highest aesthetic standards and will serve patients, families and hospital staff by enhancing the therapeutic environment. Through research and best practices from the field, the Acute Care Unit’s Public Art Program will be a model of innovation and creativity for art in a hospital setting.

Starting in early 2008, Arts Commission staff began work on the public art master plan for the new hospital building by meeting with the project team and hospital representatives, as well as conducting research into national best practices for commissioning artwork for the hospital environment. In September 2008, the Arts Commission gave approval to the master plan for the Acute Care Unit public art program. The plan identified multiple interior and exterior sites for medium to large-scale permanent public artworks including outdoor sculpture, art glass, large-scale two-dimensional works translated into permanent materials for installation in the main lobby and on the second floor. The plan calls for the purchase of smaller scale framed two-dimensional works to be installed in public waiting areas. As part of the plan, Arts Commission staff will also evaluate the condition and appropriateness of the existing General Hospital collection, repair and re-frame works for reinstallation and refresh the collection throughout the campus with new works as the budget allows.

The artist selection process for the Acute Care Unit began in August 2008 when Arts Commission staff advertised a call to artists nationally to submit their qualifications to be considered for the public art projects associated with the new hospital building. Of the over 600 applications, a selection panel identified 19 artists for inclusion in the primary prequalified pool of artists and 21 artist for inclusion in the secondary prequalified pool of artists. In June, the San Francisco Arts Commission announced the 13 finalists who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and artistic practices. Click here to see their proposals.