Treasure Island: A New Destination for Public Art

Redevelopment of Treasure Island Generates Up to $50 Million for Public Art Over a 20-year Period

Rendering of the Treasure Island Redevelopment

Rendering of Waterfront Plaza Ferry Shelter. Image courtesy of Treasure Island Community Development/AECOM.

300 acres of expansive open space and parkland will feature a diversity of public art projects and programs by artists of local, national and international renown

Treasure Island.jpgSAN FRANCISCO, June 14, 2017 - The Treasure Island Development Authority and the San Francisco Arts Commission announce the unanimous approval of the Treasure Island Arts Master Plan. The Plan will guide the implementation of the Treasure Island Art Program, which is funded by one percent of the construction costs of its private residential development.  The funds will be used exclusively to enhance and activate the public realm with artwork and ongoing art programming.

According to Tom DeCaigny, director of the San Francisco Arts Commission: “The large-scale redevelopment of Treasure Island provides an unprecedented opportunity to commission bold, imaginative and dynamic contemporary art projects, both permanent and temporary, in diverse media. We applaud the Treasure Island Development Authority and the master developer, Treasure Island Community Development Corporation, for supporting the use of private funds for a public benefit.”

The plan’s curatorial framework proposes that artists use the name of the island as a source of inspiration and consider its vantage point in the middle of the Bay, in addition to responding to its ecology and environmental conditions. Distinct from most government programs in their requirement for permanent visual art, the Treasure Island Art Program will feature visual, performing and media arts, providing an inclusive repertoire of art practices; however, the program will be anchored by a strong collection of permanent sculpture. All permanent artworks commissioned for the island will be part of the collection of the Treasure Island Development Authority.

“Treasure Island is San Francisco’s newest neighborhood and it seeks to embody the best of our City. The Island’s natural beauty will be complemented by beautiful public parks featuring important public art in the great tradition that the SFAC has established here,” said Chris Meany, on behalf of Treasure Island Community Development.

The redevelopment project includes over 300 acres of publicly accessible open space, which is the largest allotment of new park lands in San Francisco since the construction of Golden Gate Park in 1871. The majority of the artworks will be placed within the open space; however, there are additional opportunities to present works at the site of historic buildings. The first three projects are expected to be signature monumental artworks located at the Ferry Plaza, Building One Plaza and Yerba Buena Hilltop Park. All sites are remarkable for their high visibility and panoramic views.

A cultural legacy for the island will be established by the proliferation of new art projects and the intended reinstallation of the historic Pacific Unity sculpture collection from the Golden Gate International Exposition. In addition, the Plan includes a recurring island-wide treasure hunt featuring temporary art in all media and an artist in residency program with the goal of placing emerging or local artists alongside the internationally renowned.

The site for the project is a former Navy base located on Treasure Island and parts of Yerba Buena Island, in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.  Former Naval Station Treasure Island ceased operations in 1997.  The redevelopment is overseen by the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA), a nonprofit organization and San Francisco City agency.  The redevelopment is being undertaken through a public-private partnership between TIDA and a private master developer, Treasure Island Community Development Corporation, which is a joint venture between Lennar Corporation and Stockbridge Capital Group, Wilson Meany LLC, and Kenwood Investments, LLC.

The redevelopment plan for Treasure Island will be implemented over the next twenty years.  It calls for the development of up to 8,000 homes, of which more than 27% will be affordable.  The project also includes 300 acres of parks and open space (including a 20-acre organic urban farm), K-8 school, up to 450,000 sq. ft. of retail and commercial buildings (located in a combination of new buildings and in renovated historic buildings), and a 300-plus-slip marina. A new ferry terminal will connect Treasure Island to downtown San Francisco, as part of the innovative transportation plan for the project that seeks to increase use of transit and limit impacts to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The project has been repeatedly recognized for its approach to sustainable development, winning the Governor’s 2008 Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in the Sustainable Communities category. The project was also awarded the American Institute of Architect’s 2009 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design, and was selected as one of sixteen projects world-wide to be a partner with the Clinton Climate Initiative and US Green Building Council in their Climate Positive Development Program. The project has been certified LEED-ND Platinum, and is both the highest scoring and largest project ever to achieve a Platinum rating.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is a nonprofit public benefit agency responsible for overseeing the economic development of the former Naval Station Treasure Island and is vested with the rights to administer Tidelands Trust property.   To learn more, visit

The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries and Street Artist Licensing. To learn more, visit


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