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Eyes on the Promenade: Art on Golden Gate Park’s Newest Public Space

The San Francisco arts nonprofit Illuminate is creating what it calls the "Golden Mile Project" along the JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park. "We want to make this less like a road, and more like a place to hang," said Illuminate Founder Ben Davis, during a Thursday tour of new art installations going in on a promenade full of cyclists, pedestrians, and families. "Look at the energy here, we want to bring art, concerts, and make it feel like a place for people."

More on the project from the Illuminate website:

This fast-moving effort, which brings a tapestry of civic groups, diverse artists, and community partners, will reveal the promise and potential of the newly minted former roadway – turned promenade – which became permanently car-free in April per a San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote. A November ballot measure now threatens this oasis.

Temporary activations will include 12 large-scale street murals, live music on two stages every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a weekend beer garden, grand pianos in the middle of JFK, the addition of 100 golden Adirondack chairs, coffee kiosks, street games, culinary delights, storyboards, street performers, and more. Visitors to The Golden Mile Project will be immersed in a whimsical kaleidoscope of art, music, food, play, relaxation, and beauty.

The lead image is of a Doggie Diner head, leftover from a now-defunct chain of Bay Area restaurants. There are also street murals getting painted all over the Promenade.

As indicated in the above Tweet from Walk San Francisco's Marta Lindsey, the artists are looking for volunteers to help paint the murals.

A street mural midway through installation. The white on the left is primer. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
A street mural midway through installation. The white on the left is primer. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
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As noted, there's more coming. Illuminate will install two pianos along JFK Drive—one at Conservatory Drive West and the other between Stow Lake Drive and East 14th Avenue. And below is a photo of a couple of the chairs they're preparing for the Promenade:

Yellow chairs getting prepped for the JFK Promenade. Photo: Ben Davies
Yellow chairs getting prepped for the JFK Promenade. Photo: Ben Davis
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Meanwhile, the Rec and Parks department is grinding off street markings and adding a new top coat of smooth asphalt.

Rec and Parks crews are cleaning up the asphalt.
Rec and Parks crews are cleaning up the asphalt.
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Of course, not everybody was happy, including in this hilariously curmudgeonly post forwarded by advocate Brian Halperin:

https://twitter.com/BruceHalperin/status/1573174823815110657

And, of course, this all means the de Young art museum and its largest backer, Dow Chemical heiress and Trump supporter Dede Wilsey, are now pushing a ballot measure that would immediately remove all this new local art in front of its building. This is the same art museum that takes city funds to the tune of $20 million every year and then uses that money to hire professional lobbyists to put cars back on the JFK Promenade.

Remember to vote:

For more on the measures, check out this op-ed.

Check out the Rec & Parks web page for a list of even more events and installations planned for the Promenade. More pictures below:

Another artist hard at work
Another artist hard at work
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The free access shuttle.
The free access shuttle driving over some primed asphalt awaiting more art
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Artist Rachel Znerold and advocate Eso Eco working on the same mural featured in Bruce Halperin's Tweet above
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People enjoying the park. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
People enjoying the park. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
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Bill Davies touching the nose of one of the Doggies for good luck
Ben Davis touching the nose of one of the Doggies for good luck
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A reminder that Streetsblog SF will be off on Monday, Sept. 26 and Tuesday, Sept. 27, back in full force Wednesday, Sept. 28.

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