Public Art Proposal Display

Animal Care and Control Public Art Project

Project Overview: 
The San Francisco Arts Commission is working with San Francisco Animal Care and Control and the San Francisco Department of Public Works to commission public artwork(s) for the new Animal Care and Control facility to be located at 1419 Bryant Street. The newly commissioned artwork should highlight the little known but important City department, which improves the welfare of San Francisco’s animals and animal-loving population. The artworks should also harmonize with planned public spaces and the overarching design goals of the new site, while taking into consideration the realistic conditions and use of the public spaces by humans and animals. Four artists were chosen as finalists by a Public Art Selection Panel to create site-specific proposals for the new Animal Care and Control facility public art opportunity: Michael Bartalos, Mona Caron, Rupert Garcia, and Favianna Rodriguez. 


Michael Bartalos

Bartalos SFAC-ACC Proposal Display Board-v2_RGB.jpgProject Narrative
The SF Animal Care and Control facility plays the invaluable role of providing for the care, shelter, health, and adoption of our city’s animals. My proposed artworks depict these many species with the aim of engaging the public's interest, communicating the SFACC's values and objectives, and enhancing the new building's spaces for visitors and staff alike.

My proposal consists of various site-specific sculptural metal artworks whose lighting, context, and dimensionality bring animal imagery to life. They are placed strategically to lead one through the facility from the entrance gate to the lobby and on to the second floor. The three locations and their corresponding installations are as follows:

Exterior Fence and Sliding Gate at Bryant Street West Entrance
A visitor’s first impression of the Animal Care and Control facility is the public pedestrian and vehicle entrance on Bryant Street. A decorative treatment of the fence and sliding gate will greet the public in a fun and welcoming manner while imparting visual cues to the facility’s mission and services.

The imagery prominently announces the various types of animals handled by the SFACC which are seen here among San Francisco architecture, landmarks, and vegetation to communicate the department's intent to ultimately place the animals in good homes or to return them to their natural habitat.

The imagery will be fabricated from waterjet-cut steel plates and, given the fence's height and orientation, will cast impressive shadows on the sidewalk and parking lot for passersby to delight in.

Main Lobby West Wall
Fifteen colorful wall-mounted metal sculptures of various sizes embellish the Main Lobby’s spacious multi-story West Wall. The imagery depicts animals commonly found at the SFACC, juxtaposed to suggest harmony, community, and interdependence. Arranged diagonally alongside and above the stairs, the artworks direct the arriving visitors’ gaze upwards, introducing them to the scale of the building and inviting them to the second floor.

These sheet metal cut-outs are powder-coated in a cheerful color palette and mounted to "float" a few inches from the wall, casting soft shadows when lit.

Main Lobby Second Floor Handrail
A decorative handrail on the Main Lobby’s upper floor echoes the imagery of the exterior fence, creating a sense of continuity between the outside and inside of the facility.

The decorative section runs along the east and south sides of the second floor opening at a length of approximately 32 feet. Highly visible from both floors, its  imagery will be fabricated from waterjet-cut steel plates in a single color and painted to resist wear and tear.

View larger image of proposal. 


Mona Caron

ACC_Caron Board_2.jpgConcept
The art intends to provide an immersive and soothing experience, that elevates the emotional aspect of animal care for both visitor and employee at ACC.

The architecture is a protagonist of the artwork: A border, matching the color and texture of the main lobby’s north cement wall, evenly follows the peaked perimeter of the adjacent west wall, highlighting its iconic house-shape.

At mid-height, this border extends inward, becoming human arms in a care-taking gesture towards animals depicted in a central image.

At this large scale, it will feel as if the building itself is embracing the creatures, communicating: “This is a place that takes care of animals.”

The centrality in the artwork of the human act of care honors the work of ACC employees, and together with the house symbol, it celebrates the intentions of visitors to the adoption lobby: the spirit of providing a home.

In the blue image, different pets are transparently overlaid, each one or all can be seen receiving the care.

On the first floor, the stairs appear to climb right into the artwork. Various animals in the composition accompany, then extend, the upward spiral motion leading
into both the real building and the symbolically depicted one.

The linework will be sharpest in the faces of the animals, and get looser beyond. A blurry background contains soft hints of an open street in San Francisco.

The background’s one-point perspective orthogonal lines are accentuated, resulting in radial streaks that emphasize the metaphoric luminosity of what goes on where arms and hands connect with animals.

The rays also add a sense of fast motion and outdoor glare , in contrast with the calm in the
foreground, and the grounding home-shaped frame.

The space has northern exposure: natural light will be cool, and the east facing artwork will stay in shade. This environment mutes warm colors while making cool ones vibrate strongly.

In response to these conditions, the proposed color palette is a variety of mineral blues on pure white, with hints of contrasting raw umber to ochre accents.

The chromatic inspiration comes from Mexican and Portuguese azulejos tile façades, for their striking luminosity in the shade. Their contrast with surrounding stone, cement, or stucco walls has a paradoxically warming effect.

Conceptually, the blue resonates with the sky, the roofless outdoors, and the idea of “coming in from the cold.”

The palette’s classic esthetic tradition acknowledges the proposed materials to be used in the art’s fabrication.

Two options for materials are have been ascertained as feasible and absolutely durable, as well as conceptually enriching: 

Option 1: Mural painting on-site
Using cold fresco technique with KEIM mineral silicate paints, with a matte protective topcoat. The border and arms would have a separate ground texture and paint treatment, matching the adjacent cement perfectly. This option takes advantage of Mona Caron’s primary technical discipline as a muralist.

Option 2: Reproduction
The artists’ original would be a watercolor, painted on handmade paper made of linen pulp pressed on Navajo animal felt blankets, bearing their fur imprint visibly.

The watercolor would be reproduced on ceramic tiles or boards created by Magnolia Editions.

The border and arms would be installed as a separate surface, slightly raised, placing the painting inside the building’s embrace.

This option allows, within budget, the coverage of a reduced area of the main wall.

View larger image of proposal. 


Rupert Garcia

Garcia Board_sm.jpgDescription of the proposed artwork
An attempt to visually include all the different varieties of animals that the SFACC Center services in the main lobby is virtually impossible and unknown. Instead, I have chosen to represent the “most common animals” the Center attends to: a dog, cat and two birds. The mixed attitudes of amusement, puzzlement, and indifference these animals display towards each other suggest the idea of the spirit that the happenstance juxtaposition of these different animals in one space conjures. The large square composed of four smaller squares in solid color above and in the center of the dog and cat symbolizes the four cardinal points and to all the animals of these locations not depicted in the composition that the Center services.

Formally, the vibrant colors suggest several things: chief among them is the joy and certainty patrons experience upon entering the Center via the main lobby. The step arrangement of the squares and the rectangle reflect the floors of the Center and the stairway from the first and second floors. The geometric composition of the overall layout is related to and fits the geometry of the layout of the large lobby wall and the lobby generally.

Location of the proposed artwork is the second floor wall facing the stairway of the main lobby. (If the budget allows for it, two additional panels may be placed in additional locations to be determined by the SFACC - please see images included on p. 3.)

The proposed materials: low-fired hand glazed tiles, each measuring 6 x 6 inches

Colors: red, yellow, blue, orange, green, violet.

Artwork dimensions: four panels sized 6 x 6 ft, 7 x 7 ft, 4 x 4 ft, and 7 x 9 ft.  

Description of anticipated maintenance requirements:
Ceramic tile is durable and hardy; simply clean as needed with dry or damp cloth and mild detergent.

Description of the Artist’s role in the project and the role of subcontractors:
The artist, having painted the imagery to be depicted on the ceramic tile panels, will collaborate with Donald Farnsworth and the team at Magnolia Editions in Oakland, CA* to produce the tiles. Magnolia Editions will use a technique developed at the studio to translate the artist’s painted imagery into hand-glazed low-fired ceramic tiles, and fabricate artwork from this imagery in panels at the dimensions listed above.

Magnolia Editions’ ceramic technique can be summarized as follows: first, the various light and dark values of the image are precisely identified. Tiles with white glaze are then printed (using a UV-cured acrylic flatbed printer) with a positive acrylic mask only where the white areas of the image will lie on the tile. One at a time, each successive value from light to dark is then painted onto each tile, and a positive mask is printed on top of each value in black acrylic ink. Once the darkest areas are masked, the entire tile is washed with water and then low-fired. Besides being exponentially more efficient than traditional methods of hand glazing, this technique allows for a ‘brushy’ texture in the final ceramic image to more accurately capture the unique handwork of Garcia’s original paintings.

View larger image of proposal. 

Our Animal Friends

Favianna Rodriguez

Rodriguez Board.jpgThis art piece celebrates the diversity, beauty, and dignity of all living creatures. My aesthetic is playful, colorful, and designed to speak to the imagination of viewers of all ages, including children and youth. The wide range of colors is symbolic for the diverse animal stories of the many species who are housed at the animal care centre. My first goal in creating these animals was to highlight each individual story of every living creature, and in turn to make them more loveable.

In my artistic practice, I leverage the power and language of color because I think that it speaks to many people across cultures, identities and ages. Given that many families and young people come to the shelter, my second goal was to create imagery that is accessible to all and that also helps create a pleasurable environment for visitors.

I used an approach that resembles a sumi ink drawings  in order to be gestural and represent the unique movements and funny poses of animal. I also opted for symbols and textures from my imagination in order to give each creature more dimension. My third goal in the piece is to help viewers imagine what an animal may mean in their own life and to see beyond the standard imagery of a dog or a cat, and instead travel into a galaxy of possibility.

I am tremendously enthusiastic about this project because, as an owner of 3 rescue dogs, I have a deep respect for all living creatures and am actively involved in helping to protect many different kind of species. I believe that all animals deserve dignity, respect, and an opportunity for a peaceful life.

My plan is to create individual oversize animal figures throughout the walls of the building in the areas that are designated for art. Each figure will be 3-6 feet in height and will be digitally printed and hand painted on marine grade plywood. Each animal will be protruding from the wall about 1 inch. Behind the animal figures, I will paint shapes directly on to wall surface that are symbolic of natural elements in the animal’s environment, like branches, leaves, balls, and yarn. Interspersed with these shapes will be silhouettes of the animals themselves.

In this conceptual proposal, I have focused the location of the artwork on the large 3-story main west wall. However, if selected I would also work on two pieces for two primary walls available in the sad lobby. The two pieces in the sad lobby would be made with ceramic tiles given that there will be a lot of animals entering that space.

I will collaborate closely with my partners, Magnolia Editions, to use ceramic tile when possible so that there can be variety in the presentation of the figures. Ceramic tiles are best for areas that are close to animals or humans, such as the first floors. Magnolia Editions are a perfect partner for me because they are committed to exploring ways to make sure that my colors pop.

The images in this proposal are in the conceptual phase. I will work through various iterations of the animals to capture the nuances of each of them. The decorative and colourful nature of each animal allows me to put it a lot of information in each piece. If selected, I would like some meeting and discovery time with SF Animal Control staff to understand the various animals and creatures they care for and to be inspired in my creative process.

My budget reflects artworks on the main west wall, first and second levels, as well as two artworks on the walls in the sad lobby, and two small artworks in other areas. Favianna RodriguezThe materials I will use for the artworks on the west wall are marine grade plywood with digital printing in close collaborations with Magnolia Studios, who assisted me in this proposal.

The maintenance requirements for these artworks is minimal since they will be digitally printed on primed marine grade plywood. The animal figures can be clean with a microfiber cloth as needed, damp or dry depending on circumstances, and a mild detergent may be used.

My role as the lead artist for this project will be as Art Director and Project Manager. I will be responsible for collaborating and meeting with stakeholders to shape my final concept,  including staff members from the animal control center. I will also be responsible for the overall aesthetic of the project. I will meet with architects to better understand the needs of the space and to determine if more animals can be created within by budget.  My subcontractors will be Magnolia Editions in Oakland, CA which is conveniently located two blocks from my own art studio, and Atthowe Fine Art Services, who are fans of my work. I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with these two institutions that have deep knowledge in the arts. While both of them know about my work and have even admired me from afar or heard me speak, neither of them have directly worked with me. It would greatly benefit me as an artist to work with these experts so that I can build art experience and also experiment with my aesthetic approach.

This project would be perfect timing for my artistic career. I have lived in the Bay Area all of my life and am a well known international artist. I have always appreciated the care with which the San Francisco Arts Commission selects its artists and I am so thankful San Francisco has these type of opportunities for artists. I live just across the bridge in Oakland and these types of opportunities are not as readily available in my city, even though we are a booming city. Therefore, I'm always looking out for collaborations with SFAC because it truly serves as a real launching pad.

This project will allow me the opportunity to build my public art experience and to carry over my human figurative work into an animal form which I rarely do. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to play with my practice and also to push its limit. If selected for the project, it would really allow me the innovation space to create creatures that can take on a life on their own.

View larger image of proposal. 

Opportunity For Public Comment

Please take a few minutes to review the proposals on display here and complete a comment form below. You may also email your comments to, or hand deliver/mail comments to 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 325 by May 4, 2018 by 5 p.m. 

The Final Selection Panel meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 302. All Artist Selection Panel meetings are open to the public. An agenda for the meeting will be posted 72-hour in advance of the meeting on our calendar. 

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

July 20
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 18
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Full Arts Commission Meeting

July 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 18
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting