Americans for the Arts Recognizes Outstanding Public Art Projects in San Francisco

Four Permanent Artworks at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and a Temporary Art Project that Cautions Against Storm Drain Pollution are Honored Today by Public Art Network Year in Review

Hospital cooridor with stained glass windows on either side depicting a river with rocks and leaves

River of Time by Alan Masaoka, 2015.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, 2017—Americans for the Arts today honors 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2016 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by a jury from 325 entries representing communities across the country, the roster of winning projects included five projects commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission, including four projects located at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and a series of humorous storm drain murals located in Mission Bay. The honors were announced at the 2017 Americans for the Arts Conference taking place at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

“I could not be more proud of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s public art team and the regional artists,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny, “San Francisco consistently produces exceptional projects, worthy of this national recognition. These honors are a testament to San Francisco’s commitment to providing broad access to high quality art for all citizens.”

Located in the center of the main entryway of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is Ethereal Bodies by Cliff Garten. A work of stainless steel and LED lights, Ethereal Bodies consists of eight slender and diaphanous sculptures grouped within a planted earthwork. Also from General Hospital are three large-scale indoor glass installations. Inspired by photographs of Western Redbud, a native shrub, Redbud Redux Suite by Stephen Galloway depicts meandering branches and leaves and captures the look and feel of light in nature. River of Time, a stained glass installation by Alan Masaoka, brings the outdoors inside through its illustration of budding tree branches suspended above a calm riverbed. In The Streets and Hills of San Francisco, Arthur Stern uses glass and aluminum to create a colorful patchwork of buildings, parks, streets, clouds and sky, reflecting San Francisco’s rich cultural and geographical diversity. The four works blur the boundaries between urban life and nature, invite meditation, and effectively foster the hospital’s vibrant yet healing atmosphere.

In addition, the Year in Review program honored Jenifer Wofford for her series of six storm drain murals, commissioned in partnership with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to help raise awareness about storm water pollution in the San Francisco Bay. Sited in the Mission Bay neighborhood, SF Bay Guardians depicts different animals common to the local ecology standing guard in front of storm drains surrounded by common urban refuse. Wofford, known for infusing humor into her work, uses the animals to engender a sense of guilt and sympathy in the viewer to help inspire and raise awareness about steps that can be taken to minimize pollution and protect the environment.
“These selected works reflect the incredible diversity of public art projects, including temporary to permanent, sculpture to performance art,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The innovation of work demonstrated in the Public Art Network Year in Review shows the breadth of talent from artists around the country. I congratulate them and their commissioning groups for these community treasures.”
The presentation of the Public Art Network Year in Review was generously supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, sponsor of the 2017 Public Art Preconference: Expanding the Ecosystem. Jurors Sherri Brueggemann, manager of the Public Art Urban Enhancement Program for the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services Department; Kevin B. Chen, artist and curator from Oakland, CA; and artist Alison Saar from Los Angeles, CA, were on hand for the session to announce the selected projects.
The art works selected for the Public Art Network Year in Review can be seen on this page. The complete presentation, which includes photos and descriptions of the 49 works, is available for purchase through Americans for the Arts’ store.
At the 2017 Annual Convention, Americans for the Arts also unveiled its new Public Art Resource Center (PARC). Supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, PARC is a first-of-its-kind online portal where users can access resources and tools tailored to the specific needs of a rich array of stakeholders in public art, including artists, public art administrators, private sector partners, fabricators, and community stakeholders, among others. A public art services directory, a public art programs directory, and many other resources are available on PARC, giving the field centralized access to information about current and ongoing issues impacting the public art field.
The Public Art Network is a program of Americans for the Arts, designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

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