Public Art Proposal Display

Geneva Powerhouse Public Art Project

The San Francisco Arts Commission is working with The Recreation and Parks Department to commission public artwork(s) for the renovated Geneva Powerhouse facility, which is located at 2301 San Jose Avenue. The goal of the public art project is to create a signature artwork for the redesigned Powerhouse that will inspire and engage arts programming participants and the community in general, enhancing their connection to the historic building. Three artists were chosen as finalists by a Public Art Selection Panel to create site-specific proposals for the Geneva Public Art opportunity: Hughen/Starkweather, Alison Pebworth, and Hank Willis Thomas.

 

Empowering Connection

Hughen/Starkweather

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The Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse, located in the Ocean/Merced/Ingleside neighborhood, was constructed to serve San Francisco's first electric streetcar line in 1901, survived the 1906 earthquake, was designated a historical landmark in 1985, and was eventually condemned after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The neighborhood surrounding the building is diverse and dynamic, with a large immigrant population, the largest youth demographic in the city, and the fewest number of youth services. The Car Barn was a transportation hub for the city, providing jobs for people living in the neighborhood, which led to the growth and development of the surrounding area. The Powerhouse Arts Center will serve the community by providing much needed programs and art opportunities for people of all ages, giving a voice to the community and empowering them through critical thinking and creative expression. Through power and connection, this building will link historical narratives with possibilities for the future.

Hughen/Starkweather propose to create two glass artworks that will reference the building as a symbol of the past and future of the neighborhood. The artworks will celebrate the building's history as a transportation hub and will explore the shifting patterns of the neighborhood population over the years. Because the transformation of the building into an arts center is a symbol of hope, our artwork will include elements that speak to the continued growth and development of this community while honoring its rich past.

One layered glass artwork will be housed in the central floor vitrine in the location of the original electrical turbine. The artwork will act as a palimpsest, referencing layers of the building’s history, it’s important role in the neighborhood and the promise of the future. This location was once the original power source generating electricity for the railway cars, transporting people through San Francisco and beyond. Lit from below, our artwork will emit a soft warm glow, inviting visitors to stop and investigate.

The site of the second glass artwork will be the original hand railing surrounding the equipment platform above the vitrine. Imagery on the surface of the glass will echo that on the vitrine below but with a slightly different graphic representation. 

View larger image of proposal.

Power Roots

Alison Pebworth

Pebworth_Geneva_Power_Roots_Proposal.jpgPower Roots is an artwork in two pieces inspired by the industrial substructure of the Powerhouse and speaks to both the history of the building and the community that it serves.

A sculptural steel wall piece paralleling the arterial forms of muni tracks and root systems wraps up and around the SE corner of the Car Barn pointing the eye in an uplifting look in all directions.  Wooden remnants collected directly from the community from old signage, architecture and household ephemera are deconstructed and reformed into abstract compositions inset along the lines as a formal softening and to acknowledge the historic people, businesses and neighborhoods that are the life blood to these systems.  

The second piece takes both a literal and metaphorical look down into the foundation of this community building into an assemblage of over thirty stacked wooden drawers spiraling down to a five-­‐foot depth in the center floor vitrine.  Additional historic remnants and personal community artifacts are arranged within these drawers to form a cohesive composition on first glance, and a fun investigation into the details of many lives on closer inspection. A Steel collar encircling the vitrine, inset into the concrete floor and engraved with names and poetic descriptions of the people and histories represented (i.e. Jordan June High School Social Justice Poster, Maria Gonzales’ baby shoes, Valente Marini Perata & Co. funeral-­‐home fabric samples, Lacy’s Barber shop Haircut Menu, etc.) creates a playful way to engage with the piece through “I spy” searches looking down through the glass floor to link the text with the artifacts within.  

Punctuations of bright off-­‐primary colors of Powerhouse red-­‐orange, mustard yellow, spring green and cerulean blue will tie both pieces together. 

The wall piece combines painted and treated bent steel tubing with dimensional steel cutouts and angle iron. Colors painted on various sides of the piece will appear and recede from view depending on where you stand in relation to the piece.   Some of the tubing will have surface treatments to darken the natural steel to contrast with the concrete wall and retain an industrial look, yet recede in contrast to the inset remnant compositions. All surfaces will be coated to prevent rust or other damage, with wax coating as a possibility to let the piece patina naturally with the building. The piece will be attached to the wall with concrete anchors and a cleating system. Maintenance will be no different than the painted steel rails left in the architecture.  

Inset into the vitrine, three stacked steel frame and plywood platforms with concentric cutouts in the upper two levels to expose a 3’ x 4’ surface in the center lowest level, a 18” wide mid-­‐level and a 1’ wide perimeter on the upper level will provide support for the drawer and artifact assemblage that I create. Each wall inside the vitrine surrounding the structure will be painted a different shade of “Powerhouse orange,” with occasional visual breaks of color blocks in line with the wall piece. Surrounding the vitrine set into the floor, a ¼” steel collar with rounded corners, up to 14” wide for the engraved text will be surface treated for protection similar to sidewalk engravings. Specifics will be provided for the pouring of the concrete floor. 

View larger image of proposal. 

This Is Now

Hank Willis Thomas

HWT_GENEVA POWERHOUSE PROPOSAL BOARD.jpgMy work seeks to push a collective understanding of how we all relate to each other. Using words as art, I incorporate text as a direct means of communication between myself and the viewer, while also using the physical space, like that of the community theatre, to raise questions and encourage audience participation. My training as a photographer has made me keenly interested in the idea of ‘perspective’ and how materials can be used to effect what and how we see.

The work for the Geneva Powerhouse project will be titled THIS IS NOW, consisting of the phrase in a large words (“THIS” “IS” “NOW”) written across the middle of the South Wall between the two sets of windows. It will playfully occupy the space behind the performance stage, to be the central point of the space as well as a frame of mind. This text will generate public interaction by encouraging the viewers to clarify its ambiguity and interpret it in their own ways while also seeing reflections of themselves and their space from different angles. It can be read as a statement question, and in direct conversation with the viewer. Measuring about five feet tall, five feet wide and approximately one foot in depth, each letter will house compositions of triangular, reflective, colored plexiglass, angled in variations to catch and reflect light and space from many perspectives. Presented at Geneva Powerhouse, THIS IS NOW is intended as a space of reflection and engagement within the ever-changing present.

The backdrop for center stage is an ideal location to elevate all perspectives.  This work in turn becomes one of a way of creating a collaborative forum for critical engagement and visual storytelling. I endeavor to reach audiences beyond the art world as well as highlight the importance and necessity for catalyzing individual and collective voices to participate in the shaping of social and political discourse.

As a public space, I hope that my work at Geneva Powerhouse will invite a discourse on art, history, politics, commerce, performance and society. Also borrowing aesthetics from folkloric American quilts, these mirrored letters will allow for viewers--and performers of the stage--to visualize themselves as part of the community.

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 sfacpublicartcomment@sfgov.org, or hand deliver/mail comments to 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 325 by May 11, 2018 by 5 p.m. 

The Final Selection Panel meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 15, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 125. 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

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

November 06
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

November 06
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

November 06
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

November 06
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125