South City's centennial art plans take time to develop 

When big events happen in the city, the Cultural Arts Commission often marks the occasion with a new piece of public art.

But a project planned last year to celebrate South City’s 100-year anniversary was delayed because of uncertainty about funding, and the commission is still looking for a piece of art to commemorate the occasion.

The commission has roughly $20,000 to spend, although no firm timeline has been set to find an artist and install the piece, according to Parks and Recreation Department Director Sharon Ranals.

"They’ve not made lightning progress, but they’re working on it," she said.

The money is not coming from the city’s general fund, Ranals said, but from a set-aside for the 2008 centennial celebration, which included parades and dedications of new buildings and bike paths throughout the year.

Local discussion has taken place about where the sculpture should be located and what it should be, but the commission will ask for bids from artists from across the U.S. before narrowing down to the type or look of the potential purchase, according to Joy-Ann Wendler, a member of the commission.

Wendler said she would like to see the piece placed in a centralized public location, such as a park, rather than a place that’s hard to get to.

"I want the community to be exposed to art," she said. "This may be the only chance some of our residents get to see art. I think somewhere popular would make more sense than, say, Oyster Point."

There are already some 15 pieces of public art in South City parks, along roadsides and in front of buildings.

Once the commission asks for bids and suggestions for the artwork, a location will be narrowed down, Wendler said. The final piece will be ultimately approved by the City Council before installation.

The most recent installation was a tall marble sculpture located in Orange Park. The piece, "Crucible of Light," has a hole at the top to allow the sun to pass through and water runs over it.

The park, off Orange Avenue, is also home to five other pieces of art. The cluster has become known as the sculpture garden.

South City also purchased art to commemorate the new millennium in 2000. Located at the intersection of Junipero Serra and Westborough boulevards, "Millennium" welcomes visitors and citizens at the busy
intersection.

"It’s an exquisite piece," Wendler said. "Though people don’t expect it in South San Francisco, there are a lot of art pieces
in the city."

akoskey@examiner.com

 

Bringing art to the public in South City

Some 15 pieces of public art are on display in South San Francisco parks and public spaces.

Windharp: Grandview Drive near Genentech; renovated 1996

Prometheus Gives Fire to Man: South San Francisco Caltrain station; installed 1996

Millennium: Westborough and Junipero Serra boulevards; installed 2000

Safehaven: Central piece of Orange Park Sculpture Garden; installed 2002

Obelisk: Orange Park Sculpture Garden; installed 2004

Torque: Sculpture at 100 McLellan Drive; installed 2008

American Dog: Sculpture in the South San Francisco Dog Park; installed 2009

Crucible of Light: Sculpture in Orange Park Sculpture Garden; installed 2009

Source: City of South San Francisco

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