Public Art Program

SF Arts Commission logoThe San Francisco Arts Commission, through its Public Art Program, is conducting the Central Subway Public Arts Program to create an exciting range of artworks for the Central Subway stations and adjacent properties. As with all new City capital improvement projects, 2 percent of the eligible Central Subway construction costs will be allocated for public art. The Arts Commission has worked with cultural agencies along the Central Subway corridor, local communities and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to complete a comprehensive Central Subway Arts Master Plan.

Union Square/Market Street Station Artwork by Erwin Redl

Erwin Redl

Union Square/Market Street Station Artwork by Jim Campbell and Werned Klotz

Jim Campbell and
Werner Klotz

Chinatown Station Artwork by Yu Mei Hou

Yumei Hou

Chinatown Station Artwork by Tomie Arai

Tomie Arai

Moscone Station Artwork by Catharine Wagner

Catherine Wagner

This comprehensive public art program will reflect the rich cultural and historical contexts within the areas in which this light-rail extension will be located. Following the submission of proposals by 19 national and local artists, a public display period was conducted in July 2010. A press release about the Central Subway Public Art Program is available at the Arts Commission’s website.

Each Central Subway station will feature two art installations: a landmark and a wayfinding artwork. The landmark project will serve as the identity for the station and will be located in a prominent area such as the entryway or the large walls on the concourse level. The wayfinding artwork will extend through two or three of the station levels, providing a visual thread for customers to follow as they travel through the stations.

At the Union Square/Market Street StationErwin Redl’s landmark artwork, Lucy in the Sky, will span the entire ceiling of the station’s main concourse. The ceiling’s long expanse will be covered with hundreds of translucent 10-inch-by-10-inch light pixels aligned in a diamond grid. Each pixel will be illuminated by RGB-LEDs that will cause the small panels to shimmer and shift in color, creating an ever-changing and dazzling spectacle for transit customers.

The wayfinding artwork commissioned for the Union Square/Market Street Station was awarded to the artistic team of Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz. Their installation, Reflected Loop, will circumscribe sections of the station’s concourse and platform levels to create a unifying circuit of light and ambient reflections throughout the station. Made of highly polished stainless steel discs supported from above by thin steel rods, the artwork will wind its way through the station.

For the Chinatown Station, the landmark artwork will be artist Yumei Hou’s installation, Yang Ge Dance of Northeast China. Hou’s artwork is based on traditional Chinese paper cut art. It will depict an outdoor folk dance popular in the northeastern provinces of China. The folk dance is a form of storytelling, and the artist’s work includes imagery from a number of popular legends as well as scenes from everyday life. 

Tomie Arai’s wayfinding artwork illustrates the history of the area surrounding the Chinatown Station through architectural glass elements. As riders move through the different layers of the station, they will be able to experience this narrative in much the same way as an archeologist might sift through layers of history to uncover the past.

For the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station’s landmark project, local artist Catherine Wagner will transform photographs she took in the late 1970s documenting the construction of the Moscone Center into large-scale photographic drawings that are experienced as sculptural reliefs. The images of the Moscone Center while construction was in progress will be sandblasted and laser-etched onto a gray stone or metal panel that will be set, slightly recessed, into the walls spanning the concourse level.

The wayfinding artwork for the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station is to be announced.

 Visit our Request for Proposal page to view art proposals currently out for bid.

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