Public Art Proposal Display

Art Proposals for the Plaza and Gardens Outdoor Sculpture Opportunities at the Southeast Community Center

SE CC Map.jpgThe San Francisco Arts Commission is conducting a selection process to choose sculptural artworks for the outdoor plaza and gardens area at the new Southeast Community Center to be located at 1550 Evans Street. The new Community Center is designed to provide workforce, childcare, and educational opportunities for the Bayview community. The goal of the artwork is to celebrate the Bayview community—its people, values, history, and culture—and to promote environmental stewardship and highlight the importance of the environment to health and prosperity of current and future generations. Four artists were chosen as finalists by a Selection Panel to create site-specific proposals for the Plaza opportunity: Flaming Lotus Girls, Lead Pencil Studio, Alison Saar, and Hank Willis Thomas. Another four artists were chosen as finalists by the same panel to create site-specific proposals for the Gardens: Mildred Howard, Amana Johnson, Dana King, and Joe Sam.


Flaming Lotus Girls

Ascending proposal 11-25 LowRez Image.jpgA brand new, beautiful Southeast Community Center will soon rise up, after many years of hard work by the Bayview-Hunters Point community. This wonderful new resource, will enrich the lives of Bayview residents, and provide a positive, much anticipated change. It’s time to celebrate!

Ascending is a sculpture that uses mirror surfaced, bubble-like orbs as an upbeat, effervescent metaphor for the Bayview neighborhood’s success in fighting for, and winning, the new community center. Much as sparkling water or champagne is perceived as celebratory, so too Ascending will symbolize joy, high spirits, and close community.

Traditionally, “mirrored balls” bring an attractive bit of flair wherever they are placed, and are believed to bring prosperity, luck and abundant growth in gardens. The mirrored surfaces will reflect, in a constantly moving and changing display, the people of the community as they walk by, as well as the lovely natural landscaping.

The sculpture will also abstractly depict the symbiotic relationship of rising bubbles intertwined with eelgrass (zostera marina). Eelgrass, a critical element for maintaining a healthy San Francisco Bay ecosystem, produces oxygen, which forms bubbles. Then the marine grass provides shelter to the bubbles as they rise to the surface. The eelgrass will be represented with a perforated and/or etched design climbing up, around and through the structure. Lights from within the orbs will shine out in the evenings, mimicking the movement of eelgrass underwater. There will also be in-ground lighting encircling the sculpture for nighttime illumination.

Ascending expresses the optimism that the new Southeast Community Center will become a safe and nurturing harbor for individuals and families of the Bayview neighborhood to grow, learn and thrive.

View a larger image of the proposal. 

Tree of Bayview

Lead Pencil Studio

lps_draft_presentation board2_small.jpgAdding to the SE Community Center’s natural environment is a symbolic tree for the people of Bayview-Hunters Point (BVHP).  This 35 foot tall sculpture is both an abstract boundary map of BVHP and a translucently rendered Coastal Live Oak.  This resilient indigenous oak tree is a visual reference for the hardship endured by the many minority communities who call this sacred land, home.  It is also a map of the many activists who had labored to keep this once overlooked community, healthy, whole and thriving through decades of unrelenting adversity. Tree of Bayview is a celebration and a symbol of this community and a reminder of the physical boundaries defended with citizen participation.  Tree of Bayview will serve as a quiet icon for that achievement that creates dazzling patterns on sunny days and brilliant illumination in the evenings at the much anticipated community center.

View a larger image of the proposal. 


Alison Saar

Saar-Southeast Community Center-Proposal-v4 (2B-small).jpgFor the Southeast Community Center, I would like to propose a 16 foot tall cast bronze sculpture of a woman carrying water vessels. The figure will stand 10 feet tall and will be balancing a 6 to 7 foot tall tower of various tubs, basins pans and pitchers. She is the embodiment of Yemaja, a Yoruba deity, the goddess of all waters and mother of all living things. Yemaja can be found in throughout Africa and the Americas, she is the protector of women and children and has cleansing and healing attributes.  

I feel this sculpture is ideal for the Southeast Community Center, in that it points to a loving and creative future of the area. While it pays tribute to the seafaring history of the area, she also represents the working-class beginnings of this community. To accentuate this history of Bayview, I will embed small objects, such as cowrie shells, miniature boats, tools of labor and objects of everyday life, within the flow of cast bronze water.  I am also interested in Yemaja as being a much needed spirit for the cleansing and healing of the area, as it struggles with issues of pollution and gentrification 

The figure will be cast in bronze and have a rich blue green patina, which will be coated in a protective layer.  

I would be very interested in perhaps working with the landscape architects in hopes of having the sculpture somehow orient or visually connect with the water features in the garden areas. 

View a larger image of the proposal.  

Take This Hammer

Hank Willis Thomas

HWT_PROPOSAL-compressed.jpgHank Willis Thomas’ TAKE THIS HAMMER is both a nod to the KQED documentary of the same name, and also a direct call to action for the residents of Bayview. As this classic film followed James Baldwin through communities of the Bay area in 1964, this sculpture will endeavor to engage the community in the same way today.

TAKE THIS HAMMER will be modeled after a carving tradition from the Southeast coast of Africa (Mozambique, Tanzania, parts of Kenya). The Makonde people in that area developed a style and symbol of carving a tree out of figures supporting each other. Representing community members old and young, past and present, the Makonde carving “tree of life” pays homage to those who have a hand in making community. Similarly, our sculpture will seek to embody the same principles and symbolism of paying tribute to a collective for their efforts in creating Bayview. One by one the figures will be shown doing their part to build the community; tall and in the round, the figures are connected on purpose, signaling the efforts made not just by the community of the present, but of the past and the future.

For this project, we plan to reach out to the people of Bayview-leaders, legends, members- inviting them to participate in being physically part of the sculpture. After the outreach process, those members who are willing and capable to donate a few hours of a pose will be able to immortalize their resemblances in the metal sculpture, and at the same time preserve their stakes in their community. These members will serve as figures in our totem-like commemoration to the area and will be accompanied by figures from the past that we have gathered through archival material research in the changing landscape of Bayview. Our hope, that a 17-foot sculpture at the entranceway of the Southeast Community Center, we will be able to portray the history and ever-evolving identity of Bayview residents past and present, while also highlighting their contributions and legacies that make up the fabric of San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area.

We hope to materialize this concept in a highly-polished metal, like stainless steel. Not only will this material feel classic, timeless and durable, but conceptually it will allow for reflection-both metaphorically and literally- so that visitors to the sculpture will be able to see themselves in the figures. We are looking to incorporate the community in all aspects of creating this sculpture and seek to collaborate with a local foundry, engineers, and installers. We hope to involving the community members and local art schools during different phases of fabrication.

​View a larger image of the proposal. 



Mildred Howard

Mildred Howard Art Proposal SECC Garden to email.jpgMy proposal for the Southeast Community Center involves reproducing two stacks of dominoes at an exponentially large size (6’ x 3’ x 8”) to be placed near the entry at Evans and a site to be determined within the Center’s garden. Dominoes have a rich history spanning a multitude of languages, peoples, and continents. Originating in China untold centuries ago, evidence of dominoes in various European countries has been found dating back to the 18th century; they remain extremely popular in Latin America and throughout the African diaspora. Even in an increasingly digital age, dominoes are a timeless pastime; many of the games we associate with dominoes were actually invented only in the last few decades. In my own travels I have seen people “slapping bones” on tables worldwide – from the Bay Area to Cuba and from the Caribbean Islands to West Africa. In view of the considerable diversity of the Bayview neighborhood, dominoes seemed a perfect object to speak to this audience of broadly varying backgrounds.

Because of their universality and their association with an enjoyable and shared activity, dominoes hold a wealth of potential meaning and association for the viewer. Their simple and iconic design transcends cultural barriers and speaks of gamesmanship, chance, strategy, and the tantalizing promise of victory. My three-dimensional works often use dramatic changes in scale and recontextualization to reveal how unassuming, everyday objects can be extraordinary repositories of memory, history, and personal meaning. The dominoes speak to what we hold in common regardless of socioeconomic and cultural differences, while also representing the “shuffle” and perpetual change of development, gentrification, and the movement of capital. The royal red color will catch the eye and stimulate the imagination to reconsider a familiar object; through this consideration, forgotten histories and new avenues of understanding may be revealed and illuminated.

View a larger image of the proposal. 

Eternal Voyage / Holding the Blue Planet

Amana Johnson

Amana-colored Print.jpgThe First Nation people known as the Muwekma Ohlone once inhabited the area now known as Bayview Hunter’s Point.  Their presence in the area spanned a period of more than 10,000 years before Western settlers came to the San Francisco Bay Area. They left a blueprint for stewardship and care of the earth and its life sustaining bounty.  Over the last 300 years many immigrants and migrant populations would come to partake of the golden riches in the area we now know as Bayview Hunter’s Point.

Water faring vessels of different types were essential to many of the communities of the area. The Ohlone people constructed Tule boats out of local reeds for fishing.  Chinese settlers who came in the 1800s built a thriving shrimp industry with the use of boats propelled by traditional Chinese sails.  African Americans fleeing the brutal Jim Crow laws of the south and seeking a kinder more viable life-style migrated to the area in the mid-1900s to work in the naval shipyards during WWII.  It is significant to note the paradox in this reconnection of African Americans to water faring vessels, in that African ancestors were brought to the Americas in the ships of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Drawing from concepts outlined in the San Francisco Master Plan for the Arts, the proposed sculptural works endeavor to acknowledge the history of people and cultures that have contributed to the Hunter’s Point area to make it what we know it to be today.

I have developed concepts that I hope will inspire reflection on the historical trajectory of the area; evoke tenderness and compassion for the children and the world that they will inherit; and to arouse and energize an awareness of the importance of caring for our planet and the environments that sustains life.  In these works I have relied upon metaphor rather than literal interpretations of these themes.

Eternal Voyage
Eternal Voyage exhibits a minimalist boat form that serves as a metaphor for the movement and migration of those who settled in the area throughout time. This simple form, recognizable by both children and adults, represents forward movement, change, relocation, and the search for belonging. 

The two passengers represent the old and the young.  The Child, a symbol of the future, rests comfortably in the experienced arms of the Elder, who rides the waves of change with confidence, poise, compassion, and a steadfast gaze on whatever may arise in the present moment.  They will be life-size figures, seated low in the hull of the boat.

The sail is representative of the diverse cultures that have influenced one another and left their unique footprint on the region. The faces that make up the sail symbolize the ancestral essence of those who came before and whose lives and actions propel us to continue to move towards the dream of a brighter future.  It’s billowing; fullness signifies the reality of our constant movement through time by the winds of change.  The swirling water symbolizes the tumultuous waters of our times.

I’ve located Eternal Voyage in the wetland area near the Evans and 3rd Street corner entrance.  I propose to position it so that the boat’s frontal bow is pivoted slightly portside (to the left).  People passing on the street or entering the site will immediately see that both sides of the sculpture have a unique voice and yet neither side will be in full view.  It is my intention that this placement may entreat visitors to enter the site, then follow the line of the boat around to discover that there are two separate but related dialogues happening on either side of the sculpture.  It will be positioned between the two walkways that lead from 3rd and Evans towards the building.

Dimensions and coloring:
Eternal Voyage will stand approximately 9’-10’ tall. The rim of the hull will hit the adult figure at approximately the upper rib cage.  The hull will be 2’ high x 6’5” long x 30” wide.  The waves will hug the length of the boat in medium relief on each side, and exceed its length 3” at both front and back of hull.  The boat itself will rest on a forward-tilt to affect a sense of movement.  The exact tilt will be determined as recommended by a structural engineer.  The sail of faces will be attached to the port side of the boat with steel reinforcements also outlined by a structural engineer. The sail coloring will be a blend of translucent, gradient tones of golden-bronze, sienna, red-bronze, and other earth tones that will seamlessly blend into each other and allow the metal’s luminance to shine through.  The skin tone of the two figures will complement the colors of the sail.  Their garments will be colored with vibrant reds, golden greens, rusty reds, with rich black rubbed into the crevices to accentuate the textured surfaces.

Holding the Blue Planet
The intent of this sculpture is to feature the principles of resilience, strength, and the power of cooperation.  This work shows two women working together to support, and reinforce each in the monumental task of both holding up the world, and offering tender and compassionate care to the children of our future.  It depicts the vast range of feminine capacity to simultaneously be fiercely protective and benevolently kind. 

Their intertwined arms are positioned to exemplify the importance of working together to skillfully overcome adversity.  This image represents the women warriors of Hunter’s Point who spearheaded many movements for community renewal, some of which include cleaning up toxic waste left from the shipyards, as well as social and financial equity.

The women are holding up the earth in a gesture of honor and respect for the land and surrounding environment while simultaneously nurturing the future wrapped in the folds of their skirts.

The proposed placement for this sculpture, as indicated in the plan view, is in the raised wooded area of Boulder Hill.  The intent is to place this sculpture a reasonable distance from Eternal Voyage and from the premier sculpture that will be located at the entrance to the facility.  There may be a more complimentary placement that achieves this goal.

Dimensions and coloring:
Holding the Blue Planet will stand 10’ tall.  The irregularly shaped base, made up of the women’s skirts, will be approximately 4’ x 4’.   The women will be 6’ in height to their shoulders.  Their outstretched arms will be 24” long, making their total height 8’.  The globe will be approx. 30” in diameter.   The blues in both the boat and the earth will be heat-applied layers of highly pigmented chemical patina.  The reds, rusts, verdigris, browns, and golden greens will be variations of classic bronze patinas. 

View a larger image of the proposal. 

Hide and Go Seek

Dana King

Pres-Board_30x40_12.jpgChildren have been playing “Hide and Go Seek” since the beginning of time. It’s an activity that demands a bit of ingenuity, stealth and youthful vigor. But the best part is that it requires an enthusiastic group of friends to join in.

Imagine such a group of kids, spanning hundreds of years of history, in sculpture made out bronze, bringing that fun to the Southeast Community Center Garden to share with generations of young visitors for hundreds of years to come.

The original inhabitants of the Bay Area were Ohlone Indians and specific to the the Bayview-Hunters Point were the Ramaytush branch. They fished and hunted, trading with other tribes while maintaining peaceful existence. That way of life ended for indigenous tribes when the Bay Area was colonized by Europeans in the race for global dominance in the 1500’s. Spaniards staked a claim here that lasted hundreds of years. The area we know as California was then claimed by Mexico after the Mexican War of Independence. In the 1846, the U.S. flag was raised after the Mexican-American War. The Gold Rush in 1849 changed the face of the entire state and especially its large northern California settlement of Yerba Buena, later renamed San Francisco.

Chinese families came with the expansion of the railroads, which connected the rest of the country to the west. The next great migration in the Bay Area came before and during WWII, when African American families from the southern U.S. states migrated to the area for employment in the shipyards.

This sculpture theme will be made out of bronze. It will consist of six children in the Garden, representing the various culturally significant immigrants who built lives in what we now call Bayview-Hunters Point: a child representing the indigenous, original San Francisco Bay inhabitants, the Ramaytush branch of the Ohlone Tribe, a child of Spanish heritage, Mexican, European, Chinese and African American heritage. 

Sculpture Design Description and Context

Location: Tree in the Picnic Area of Boulder Hill.
Action: He is starting the “Hide and Go Seek” game by covering his eyes and standing with his feet shoulder width apart, counting to 100 as the others hide.
Historical Context: His clothing is from the 1880’s. He is a descendent of Italian heritage whose fathers took to the sea upon arriving in America. Italian fishermen provided nearly 90% of all fish consumed in San Francisco. The fishing industry started to decline in the early 1900’s. Regional Oral History Office/U.C.Berkeley Bancroft Library

Location: Tree in the middle right side area of Boulder Hill
Action: Peeking around a tree. Her hand raised to her mouth and index finger making the “shhhh” sign.
Historical Context: Her clothing will represent items worn by Ramaytush children and her face will be marked with tribal markings. “The title Ramaytush Ohlone recognizes the Ramyatush as a part of the larger group of the Ohlone/Costanoan peoples who lived in the San Francisco Bay south to Monterey.” The Ramaytush Ohlone Indians were the first to settle in the Bay Area. The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone (ARO)

Location: Boulder Hill
Action: An African American child standing in front of a boulder assisting another child of Chinese heritage to climb the rock and hide.
Historical Context: The Chinese child’s clothing will represent the early 1900’s. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in 1848. Many were brought in to work the mines and support miners searching for gold. Many were hired to expand the railroads. The African American child’s clothing will be circa 1945: leather boots, socks, and overalls. African Americans came to the Bay Area with the Great Migration from the segregated south and found employment in the shipyards.

Location: Bioswale
Action: Crossing over the dry creek looking as if he is losing his footing, with arms extended for balance.
Historical Context: His clothing from the early 1800’s when the Bay Area was a Mexican territory called Alta California.

Location: Lower Bioswale
Action: Running up and to the right of the child who is counting, heading for the dry creek, her hair blowing and slightly holding up her skirt billowing behind her.
Historical Context: Her clothing dates back to the 1700’s, several hundred years into Spanish rule of California. 

View a larger image of the proposal. 

Phoenix Rising

Joe Sam.

Joe Sam Board.jpgThe concept for my sculpture is based on the mythology of the Phoenix.  

The Phoenix symbolizes renewal of life.

My sculptures, reflect the positive renewal and transformation the Bayview-Hunters Point community is experiencing after a long struggle that encompassed many generations.

Color is very important to me and my work.
Color also plays an important symbolic part in the sculptures.  

The ring of light around the sun emphasizes the power of the sun and reflects a connection to the sun’s infinite energy and warmth.

Freestanding flowers anchored to the base of the bird sculpture signify growth, renewal and beauty.

The four Phoenix eggs and the sculptures emerging from them represent the four largest ethnic population groups of San Francisco. The red color of the eggs connects to the practice of redlining that contributed to many poorer people losing their homes due to predatory lending, and to segregation in the City, particularly Bayview-Hunters Point.

The benches facing the large sculpture of the Phoenix will be placed North, South, East and West orienting the Phoenix sculpture to the world and showing direction.

The Phoenix sculpture and all other metal sculptures will be printed in porcelain enamel with Joe Sam Color patterns first created on paper. 

All sculptures will be made from steel or aluminum.

View a larger image of the proposal. 

Opportunity For Public Comment

Please take a few minutes to review these artwork proposals and provide feedback on the public comment form below. Public comments will be considered by the Selection Panel as part of the Final Selection Panel meeting where the Panel will recommend one proposal for implementation. Please note that public comments do not constitute a vote.

The Final Selection Panel meeting will take place Friday, December 14, 2018, 9 a.m.—3:30 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 hours in advance of the meeting on SFAC’s website under the Public Meeting section:

Comments may be emailed to, or hand delivered/mailed to 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 325 by Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting