Finalist, San Francisco Arts Commission Public Art Project
The San Francisco Arts Commission is conducting a selection process to choose an artist to create a sculpture for the new Southeast Community Center at 1550 Evans. Sited on the Center’s exterior plaza, the artwork is intended to of large, landmark scale, activate the plaza during both day and nighttime hours, and welcome and engage viewers from afar and up close. Four artists were chosen as finalists by a Public Art Selection Panel to design site-specific proposals for this artwork opportunity: Frederick Hayes, Mildred Howard, Adia Millett, and Xaviera Simmons.
Adia Millett's Proposal: We are the Future's Ancestors
We are the Future's Ancestors is designed to connect our past and our present with the future of the Bayview Community.
Why a pyramid? Pyramids have been built in many places around the world including the Americas, China, Russia, Egypt and Sudan. According to ancient myths, these monumental structures were not only built to honor the dead, but to protect the land, raise human consciousness, and preserve important objects for the future. This 25-foot-tall glass pyramid will be a marker of strength, beauty and hope for the Bayview community today and in the future. It will also provide any opportunity for current community members to speak to the future.
The bottom three feet of the pyramid will consist of an earth-toned mosaic. The shapes will suggest shells, rocks, sticks, and leaves in order to convey our foundation’s connection to the physical earth. Above this, an image of flowing water that commemorates the history of the seaports and shipyards that brought people of diverse backgrounds to Bayview. It also creates a visual link to Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s art located inside of the community center.
There is a row of houses designed to symbolize home, community, and the traditional San Francisco housing aesthetic. The multicolored homes touch one another to convey the essential connection between old and new community members.
Together these images form a landscape embraced by a glass quilt of polygon shapes providing protection, warmth, and the feeling of home.
Inside the pyramid is a custom designed stainless steel sealed container/ time capsule that will contain letters from present day community members to the community members of the future. Community youth members will be invited to be the ambassadors of the times capsule, to be opened on a future date (20+ years). Other items determined by conversations with community members, will be added to the time capsule (historical documents, neighborhood memorabilia, etc.). The time capsule will be concealed in a recess inside of the poured concrete floor or and will be secured with a tamper-proof locking mechanism.
Community engagement such as public events and workshops will be organized in conjunction with youth groups, assisted living centers, Opera House, etc., in order to gather material for the time capsule. Writing and Art making Workshops will be designed to address community member’s dream and goals for the future. The piece will serve as a foundation for bringing people of all ages, races, religions, and economic backgrounds together to share stories and perspective on their home and its future.
In addition, there will be an event/celebration for the closing of the pyramid, when the time capsule is placed inside and for the opening of the time capsule in the future.
Materials, Fabrication, and Design:
The proposed sculpture is approximately 25’-0” in height and approximately 12’-0” square at the base. It is comprised of stained glass panels bearing on an engineered steel structural frame. The panels will be affixed to the structure with a rated fitting. The glass is approximately ¾” thick with a laminated glass to increase strength and to prevent breaking and shattering (testing data available from glass supplier).
The structure will bear upon an engineer designed and approved poured concrete footing and will be anchored to resist required seismic, wind, and occupancy loads. The base of the pyramid to a height of approximately 3’-0” above grade will be of reinforced poured concrete with tile mosaic work applied to the exterior surface in panels. To further protect the artwork, the structure will be placed on a poured concrete slab raised approximately 0’-4” above surrounding grade terminating at a concrete curb around the base of the pyramid. All metal work and hardware will be 316 marine grade stainless steel with an approved anti-corrosion finish. Tile/mosaic work will be provided with an approved protective and anti-graffiti sealant.
Inside the pyramid there will be a 20” x 16.2” x 16” high stainless-steel sealed time capsule. This container will be concealed in a recess in the poured concrete floor and will be secured with a tamper-proof locking mechanism.
Light fixtures securely mounted to the interior of the structure will provide night lighting effects provided by lighting designers. All LED light fixtures will comply with required regulations including Title 24, will be outdoor-rated, and will be connected to an automatic timer.
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