Gene Friend Recreation Center Improvement Project

The San Francisco Arts Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula. As the indigenous stewards of this land and in accordance with their traditions, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place, as well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory. As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland. We wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the ancestors, elders and relatives of the Ramaytush Community and by affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples. As a department dedicated to promoting a diverse and equitable Arts and Culture environment in San Francisco, we are committed to supporting the traditional and contemporary evolution of the American Indian community. 

The San Francisco Arts Commission is committed to creating a city where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, resources and platform to share their stories, art and culture and where race does not predetermine one’s success in life. We also acknowledge that we occupy traditional and unceded Ohlone land. Fueled by these beliefs, we commit to addressing the systemic inequities within our agency, the City and County of San Francisco and the broader arts and culture sector. This work requires that we focus on race as we confront inequities of the past, reveal inequities of the present and develop effective strategies to move all of us towards an equitable future. 

基因之友(GENE FRIEND)娛樂中心改善項目 資格申請 (RFQ) 


Gene Friend Rec Center Rendering
Gene Friend Recreation Center Rendering

Project Overview

Gene Friend Rec Center_Phase 2 Presentation 6.5.23_Page_28.jpg      Gene Friend Rec Center_Phase 2 Presentation 6.5.23_Page_29.jpg

The San Francisco Arts Commission invites artists and artist teams residing in the United States to submit qualifications for two art opportunities for the Gene Friend Recreation Center Improvement Project: 

  1. Integrated Wall Opportunity: Located along the interior north-facing wall of the Center’s gymnasium and visible from the exterior at 6th and Folsom Streets. Artwork may be comprised of dye-sublimated aluminum panels, or other appropriate material, and can span either the center section in between two diagonal struts (approximately 40 feet wide) or the entire expanse of the upper wall (approximately 100 feet wide). 
  2. Two-Dimensional Artwork Program: Direct purchase of existing 2D artworks to be framed and mounted along prominent interior corridors. Size of unframed artwork should be no smaller than approximately 12 inches in any direction and no larger than approximately 60 inches in any direction. Purchase price of individual artwork will depend on scale of artwork and market rate for artist’s work. Artists will be responsible for delivery to a specified location. Framing and installation costs will be the responsibility of the Arts Commission. 

The goals of the Gene Friend Recreation Center Improvement Project Public Art Project are to illuminate the rich history and full diversity of San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood including recognition of SOMA Pilipinas, the Filipino Cultural Heritage District, and to lift up the Center as a destination and proud neighborhood asset.  


  1. Integrated Wall Artwork $ 206,550  
    Inclusive of all artist fees, as well as associated expenses for artwork design, engineering, fabrication, transportation, and consultation during installation. 

    Site Work and Installation $ 50,000  
    Managed by SFAC under a separate contract.  
  2. Two-Dimensional Artwork Program $ 50,000 
    Inclusive of artwork purchase, framing, and installation. 

Project Description

In 2014, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and The Trust for Public Land initiated a feasibility study and worked closely with the community to envision improvements to the Gene Friend Recreation Center, located in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood on 6th Street at the corner of Folsom Street. The Center provides indoor and outdoor recreation facilities and programs for youth, seniors, and members of the local neighborhood and community. Nearly 25 years in operation and at a time of unprecedented population growth within the neighborhood and the City, the Center will be rebuilt in order to create a safe, welcoming, modern resource for its constituents. After an extensive community engagement process and in partnership with Mark Cavagnero Associates and Kuth Ranieri Architects, the following project goals were identified: Create a space that is welcoming, open and safe; extend the Center’s multipurpose uses, providing for a more productive use of space and additional indoor and outdoor programming; implement an approach that honors the neighborhood’s cultural heritage; and increase access and value for site users. 

For more information on the Gene Friend Recreation Center Improvement Project, please visit San Francisco Recreation and Parks project page: bit.ly/genefriendproject 

Selection Process

Artist Qualification Panel: The eligible applications will be presented to an Artist Qualification Panel consisting of two (2) arts professionals and one (1) SFAC staff member who will review and score the applications to identify a shortlist of qualified artists to be considered for both the Gymnasium Integrated Wall Opportunity and the Two-Dimensional Artwork Program, outlined below. The scoring criteria for both art opportunities will include the artists’ meaningful connection to SoMa. 

Artist Review Panel: For the Gymnasium Integrated Wall Opportunity: The shortlist of qualified artists will be presented to the Artist Review Panel consisting of three (3) arts professionals, one (1) representative of the client agency, one (1) representative from the design team, one (1) Arts Commissioner, and one (1) community representative. The panel will identify three finalists who will be invited to develop conceptual site-specific proposals after attending an orientation session with the project team and key stakeholders. Each finalist will be paid an honorarium of $2,500 plus travel reimbursement for development of a proposal.  

The Artist Review Panel will reconvene to consider the finalists’ proposals in an interview format along with any community input and will recommend one artist for the project to the Arts Commission. 

For the Two-Dimensional Artwork Program: SFAC staff will shortlist artists from the qualified pool who work in two-dimensional media such as painting, drawing, photography, textile and collage. Shortlisted artists will be presented to the Two-Dimensional Artwork Program Artist Review Panel comprised of two (2) arts professionals, one (1) representative of the client agency, one (1) Arts Commissioner, and one (1) community representative. 

The Artist Review Panel will score the shortlisted artists based on the following criteria: Artistic merit, innovation and originality as evidenced by representations of past work and other supporting material, Artist’s work is judged to be appropriate to the goals of the project, and Artist’s meaningful connection to the neighborhood. The highest-scoring artists will be invited to submit images of up to 6 original artworks that are available for purchase for the Two-Dimensional Artwork Program.  

The Artist Review Panel will reconvene to score the submitted artworks. Artworks receiving the highest scores will be presented to the Visual Arts Committee for approval. Purchases will be finalized pending in-person reviews of the artwork. 

Arts Commission Approval: The Artist Review Panel’s recommendations are first submitted first to the Visual Arts Committee (VAC), a subcommittee of the Arts Commission and then to the full Arts Commission for approval. All Artist Review Panel recommendations are subject to the Visual Arts Committee and Full Arts Commission. 

All Arts Commission meetings and Public Art Review Panel meetings are open to the public and are posted on the Arts Commission website at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. To check the meeting schedule for public art projects, please go to our calendar.   

Selection Criteria for Artists and Artwork: Artists and artwork will be selected in accordance with the Mission and Goals of the Civic Art Collection and in accordance with the criteria below. Criteria to be used when considering when scoring an artist’s application for a commission and/or acquisition of artwork by either purchase or commission shall include, but not be limited to the following considerations. Per City contracting requirements, artist applicants who are registered as a Local Business Enterprise will be given a rating bonus of 10% relative to other applicants. 

Artistic Merit: Artistic Merit may be judged by such measures as originality of concept and artistic vision; the degree to which the work engages the viewer emotionally, intellectually, spiritually; the qualify of craftsmanship or mastery of skills and techniques. Artistic merit may also be credited to artwork that reflects a significant or direct relationship between the artist and distinct racial or cultural communities.  

Relevant Skills & Experience: Review Panels and the Commission shall consider the assessed ability of an artist to successfully implement a proposed project, such as the ability to work constructively with other project stakeholders, meet deadlines, willingness to resolve issues as they arise, and generally manage the demands of the project. Cultural competency and/or significant connection between the artist and the project constituency, or experience that may particularly qualify an artist to meet project goals may also be considered. 

Meet Project Goals: The proposed artwork (or the assessed ability of an artist to design a proposal) meets the specific goals of the project as defined in the this RFQ.  

The Artwork is Appropriate to the Site: The artwork or proposed artwork is appropriate for its intended display location in terms of scale, media, design or imagery and is judged to be relevant within the context of the surrounding community, and is compatible with the mission and operations of the client department. 

Feasibility, maintainability: Proposed objects shall be evaluated relative to their feasibility and evidence of the artist’s ability to successfully complete the work as proposed. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to: project budget, timeline, and the artist’s experience. Due consideration shall be given to the structural and surface soundness, and to inherent resistance to theft, vandalism and weathering, and to the cost and amount of ongoing maintenance and/or repair anticipated.  

Contributes to the Quality of the Civic Art Collection:  The  artwork is  judged to support and improve the city’s collection in terms of artistic qualify and diversity of artists represented. The Arts Commission is committed to acquiring art works that reflect diversity in style, scale, media, and artistic sources as well as diverse cultural communities and perspectives.  The Arts Commission also encourages exploratory types of work as well as established art forms.   

Public Safety and Accessibility: Artwork shall be evaluated to ensure that it does not present a hazard to public safety and complies Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and with all other applicable building codes.   

Duplication:  Artists will be asked to warrant, as a condition of their agreement with the City,that the artwork commissioned or purchased is unique and an edition of one, and shall not be duplicated unless it is part of a limited edition or otherwise stated to the contrary in the artist’s contract with the Commission. 

Artists’ meaningful connection to the SoMa neighborhood. 

How To Apply

Applications are available through SlideRoom, an online application system for calls for entry. There is no charge to artists for using SlideRoom. Please be sure to allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties can occur. Applications that are mailed, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered will not be considered.  

Applications will not be accepted after the September 18, 2023, 11:59 p.m. (PDT) deadline. 

1. Letter of Interest Questions 

  • Provide a description of your artistic focus, career highlights and qualifications, and particular interest in this project, including your meaningful connection the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. 

2. Resume

  • 25,000 characters maximum.
  • If you are applying as a team, please include your team/studio resume. If that is not available, please combine the individual resumes (one right after the other) of each team member into one document.

3. Ten images of previous work

  • SlideRoom accepts all image file types up to 5MB. Images should at least 72 dpi and no larger than 1280 x 1280 pixels
  • For team application, please indicate the lead artist for each project.
  • For information on formating your image files, please click here

4. Image Descriptions

  • When you upload your images, SlideRoom will prompt you to fill out image descriptions. Please include the title, medium, dimensions, and year for each work. You may also include a brief statement (2 sentences maximum) about each work

Click here for a recording of the Pre-Application Workshop from August 30th, 2023.
Password: Fri3nd!!

Virtual Office Hours:
Fridays from 11:30am-12:30pm PDT. Please contact Public Art Project Manager Arianne G. Davidian to reserve a time: arianne.gelardin@sfgov.org or call (415) 310-8012. 

Check out our How to Apply to Calls for helpful tips on how to submit the most competitive application.

Please note that Arts Commission staff will be available to answer questions about this call until 5 p.m. (PDT or PST) on the deadline date, September 18, 2023. Please contact Arianne Gelardin Davidian, Public Art Project Manager at (415) 310-8021 or by email at arianne.gelardin@sfgov.org

SlideRoom technical support is available Monday – Saturday by email, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. (CDT or CST) support@slideroom.com

Applicants will receive updates on the status of their submissions via email: notifications@slideroom.com.  

Project Timeline

Qualification Panel Meeting 
Late September 2023 

Artist Review Panel Meeting 1 
October 2023

Applicant notification  
October 2023

Artist Review Panel Meeting 2 
February 2024 

VAC and Full Commission approval of recommended artist 
February - March 2024

Artist under contract  
March - April 2024

Anticipated completion  
Spring 2025 

*All dates subject to change

*Applicants will receive updates on the status of their submissions via email: notifications@slideroom.com.  

*Selection process for Two-Dimensional Artwork Program for interior corridors will commence January, 2024


Questions & Answers

Yes, this opportunity is open to artists and artist teams residing anywhere in the US. Eligibility is NOT restricted to applicants living in the City and County of San Francisco. Please note that one of the project’s selection considerations is the “artist’s meaningful connection to the SoMa neighborhood”, which can be interpreted geographically, culturally, or in any thematic way that you identify, based on your personal or collective experience. 
Consider images of your previous work that will both give us a sense of your creative practice and ethos, as well as works that may illustrate your connection to the SoMa neighborhood. 
You may consider some degree of dimensionality and layering for this artwork opportunity, however there will be a limitation as to how far the artwork can offset from the gymnasium wall due to the architecturally integrated nature of the location. Please also consider that the gymnasium is a very active zone, both visually (athletic text, wayfinding signage, basketball court floor graphics, street views through full-length windows, etc.) as well as programmatically (sports activities, group gatherings, classes, special events, etc.). 
The second phase of Artist Selection for the Two-Dimensional Artwork Program will occur in January 2024. At this time, shortlisted artists will be invited to submit images of up to 6 existing artworks that are readily available for purchase. For the Integrated Wall Artwork opportunity, the Arts Commission is looking to select an individual artist or artist team for a new commission; the selected artist or artist team will work through a series of design phases to refine and implement an entirely new, site-specific artwork for the gymnasium. 
The Integrated Artwork opportunity is not restricted to dye-sublimated aluminum; other appropriate, durable materials can also be considered, as long as maintenance and conservation needs are feasible within the project budget. The anticipated lifespan of a commissioned artwork should be 25 years or longer. 
No. There is a prompt in the SlideRoom application in which you will be able to select one or both opportunities for which you would like to be considered. 
The size of unframed artwork should be no smaller than approximately 12 inches in any direction and no larger than approximately 60 inches in any direction. Currently, there is not a defined weight limit for the 2D program. The Arts Commission will coordinate with the project’s architectural design team to ensure that the interior corridor walls can support the selected works.  
Your image selection should represent your practice and ethos as a whole. Should your application advance to the second phase of Artist Selection, you will be asked to submit specific artworks available for purchase (for the Two-Dimensional Program) and/or a conceptual proposal (for the Integrated Wall Artwork opportunity). 
It’s always good to have an overview image depicting the full extent of an artwork. If you feel that a detail image will help to illustrate your ideas, expand our reading of the full artwork, then you should include a detail as one of the ten allotted images in your application. 
The existing Gene Friend Recreation Center on 6th and Folsom is open to the public, but it is being entirely redesigned through SF Recreation and Parks capital improvement project, and so while you will be able to see how people use the current space, it won't give you a full picture of where the artwork will be located or how the new space will be fully utilized once rebuilt. In the second phase of Artist Selection, three finalists will be asked to develop conceptual proposals. These artists will receive a comprehensive orientation to the project site and will have an opportunity to meet with the project team and community stakeholders.

Explore SF Recreation and Parks’ capital improvement project at the Gene Friend Recreation Center: bit.ly/genefriendproject and take a look at the most recent design: Gene Friend, Civic Design Review, July 17, 2023 (PDF). 


Eligibility is open to professional, practicing artists who reside in the United States. Entries not meeting eligibility guidelines will be withdrawn from consideration. 

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online