Construction To Begin On Jane Warner Plaza Art Installation

Construction To Begin On Jane Warner Plaza Art Installation
The plaza is about to get six 13-foot tall abstract dandelion LED light features. | Image: Castro CBD
By Shane Downing - Published on September 15, 2017.

Beginning Tuesday, work will begin on the newest addition to Jane Warner Plaza: "The Seed," an art installation comprised of six 13-foot tall abstract dandelion LED light features.

Between Tuesday and Friday, construction crews will empty the plaza’s planters and pour cement for the installation’s foundation.

The area around the planters—between Castro Street and the F-Market tracks—will be taped off to pedestrians, and Live! in the Castro events scheduled to take place next weekend have been rescheduled.

Streetcar transit, however, will reportedly not be affected by the presence of cement trucks and construction crews.

According to Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, crews must leave the concrete to dry for 25 days before any additional work to the art installation can be done.

“After they pour the concrete next week, they’re going to put plywood over it to protect it from the rain,” Aiello said.

If all goes to plan—and the weather cooperates—crews will install the artwork between October 20th and October 24th. The CBD is tentatively preparing for an unveiling of the Castro’s forthcoming flowers on the evening of Friday, October 27th, although an event hasn’t been planned yet.

"The board is very excited about this installation," Aiello told us via a text messag. "[It'll] bring beauty and positive activation to the Jane Warner Plaza in the evening hours."

Rendering of "The Seed" by night. | IMAGE: CASTRO CBD

Last year, we reported that big changes were coming to the plaza: the Castro CBD, along with then-District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, secured a $150,000 Invest in Neighborhoods Grant through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The money brought back chairs and tables to the plaza, as well as expanded programming for the Live! in the Castro event series. However, a “Plaza Stewards” program that was subcontracted through Larkin Street Youth Services was terminated.

One of the biggest announcements at the time, however, was the flower sculpture.

The design was selected through a competitive public process, in consultation with numerous city agencies and local lighting experts. It was created by Los Angeles-based Aphidoidea, a multi-disciplinary design, architecture and art collective.

As we previously reported, construction was initially planned to begin this past spring. The new installation is intended to be temporary, and will remain in the plaza between two and three years.

This summer, Jane Warner Plaza got a fresh paint job and a Little Free Library. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Something less temporary is the the recent coat of aquamarine paint that was added to Jane Warner Plaza.

Aiello told us that the paint has nothing to do with the art installation. Rather, it was a decision made by Public Works.

“It gets dirty,” Aiello lamented.

Another recent addition to the plaza is a Little Free Library. Members of the Castro Writer's Cooperative—a shared co-working space for writers located at 549A Castro St.—donated the books for the library, which first appeared in June.

The launch of the Little Free Library saw folks reading in the plaza. | Photo: Castro CBD/Facebook

The Seed’s installation will allegedly not interfere with the plaza’s Little Free Library, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the library is there to stay.

The CBD has had a difficult time stocking the library's shelves. “People are taking books but not bringing books back,” Aiello said.

To keep the effort afloat, a bin has been placed near the entrance of P.O. Plus for neighbors to drop off books.

“The little library is sad, but it’s there,” said Aiello, “so we could really use books so it feels more robust.”