While the “Early Days” statue was removed in 2018, the hole in the ground has left more than just a physical space — it’s left an opening for the true history of the Native American experience in the Bay Area to be shared by those who should have been the only ones to tell their story in the first place: Native Americans.
To draw attention to the true history, mark the 50th year anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz, and emphasize accurate artistic representation of Native Americans, the San Francisco Arts Commission has developed the American Indian Initiative, which will consist of various art installations, films, festivals and talks over the course of 2019, the first of which occurred in early April in preparation for public events.
Over two days, SFAC notes, “renowned photographer, Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Seminole-Muscogee-Navajo) photograph[ed] approximately 150 Native American community members in curated groupings of 3-5 individuals consisting of Native American leaders, professionals, and youth on top of the empty plinth where the Early Days statue stood for over one hundred years.” (ABC7 News filmed the photoshoot, and you can see more from that day on their site.)
Later this year, these images will be projected onto various Civic Center buildings during the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration and at other locations during the seven weeks of artistic activation by Native American artists following Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the Fulton Mall/plinth. We’ll be sure to share more on these events as they draw closer.
This May marks 74 years since the end of the Holocaust, and to remind those of its horrors — and its survivors — Lest We Forget, an installation by German artist Luigi Toscano, will line Civic Center Plaza from April 17 through May 19.
Comprised of 68 portraits of Holocaust survivors, including both local survivors, and those from across the United States, Germany, Israel, Russia and Ukraine; the “portraits are meant to provide voice and visibility to these survivors,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Each portrait stands over seven feet tall, and will line the plaza in such a way that allows for visitors to walk among them.
Presented by the Goethe-Institute San Francisco and the German Consulate in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and San Francisco Arts Commission, the installation has previously been installed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and the UN Headquarters in New York City.
The installation opens April 17 and runs through May 19, which ends with a closing ceremony.
This year’s 168th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is “the West Coast’s largest Irish event celebrating Irish history and culture,” according to event organizers the United Irish Societies of San Francisco. The parade, with this year’s theme of “women breaking barriers,” begins at 11:30am on Market at 2nd Street and ends in a sea of green at Civic Center Commons. The annual event brings together San Francisco’s diverse community to learn more about and celebrate Irish history and culture.
Civic Center Commons is a world class backdrop for insightful and inspiring public art — and this spring brings pieces from acclaimed local and international artists.
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Exterior Light Art: Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth’s latest piece is illuminating the western side of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (BGCA) on Polk at Hayes. His works involve large-scale neon light installations on the exterior of buildings and employ a broad pallet of languages and typefaces. Kosuth’s new work at BGCA was selected by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) in 2015, the first public art project to be funded through the auspices of the Public Art Trust with a contribution made by The Emerald Fund. The Lighting and Dedication Ceremony is March 13, 6pm.
Lest We Forget: An installation by German artist Luigi Toscano, 68 portraits of Holocaust survivors will line Civic Center Plaza from April 17 through May 19. Featuring both local and international survivors, the acclaimed installation is coming to the City by the Mayor’s Office of Protocol and is fully sponsored with private funds from the German Consulate and the Goethe Institute. The installation has previously been on display at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and the UN Headquarters in New York City.