Bayview Rise

Pier 92

San Francisco, CA 2014

Bayview Rise is an illuminated mural for the grain elevator and silos of the Port of San Francisco's Pier 92. The site is situated on San Francisco Bay at the north entry into the Bayview district, near Third Street as it crosses Islais Creek. The large scale of the 187’ façade makes the artwork visible from surrounding hillsides and freeways, creating a landmark for the Bayview. The art is about the interaction of color and light, but is also about and for the community.

Bayview Hunters Point has evolved as successions of people and their changing values have become interwoven with the place. The art is a dynamic visual metaphor for this transformation. Its imagery weaves together symbols of the neighborhood’s evolving economy, ecology, and community as well as its past, present, and future in a cohesive pattern that combines both abstraction and representation. 

Bayview Rise works 2-dimensionally as a graphic composition and pattern, 3-dimensionally as the pattern articulates folded and rolling surfaces of the historic structure, and 4-dimensionally as colored lights cycle through the spectrum, causing the mural imagery to change its appearance.

Different light colors cause parts of the mural of that same color to glow while other colors recede into the dark background. As the light colors shift, images appear to float in and out of the scene, transfiguring. This striking effect of "illumination animation" results in the appearance of a moving image, abstractly representing a community in transformation, or Bayview Rising.

While conceptualizing this artwork Haddad|Drugan researched the history, culture, and future plans for Bayview Hunters Point. They identified stories that could be included in the artwork, ranging from industry to infrastructure to community to ecology, and compiled them in a layered map. The artists met with community representatives and shared their research and a group of words inspired by the research. From this process they developed the artwork to emphasize the concept of “rise,” a word they had shared with the community and which tied together some of its most inspiring stories. The graphic imagery of the mural is rooted in the Bayview’s historic and future conditions, but with an emphasis on elements that float, fly, grow, and rise.  

The composition creates a spatial illusion in which elements appear to rise up and out from a horizon where water meets land and sky. Grounding the image is a bottom layer of water, representing both San Francisco Bay and the past marshlands of Islais Creek. Submerged in the water as a symbol of the neighborhood’s past is the head of a steer in homage to the Bayview's historic Butchertown and the cattle that once marched down Third Street. 

Growing out of the horizon line is a pattern inspired by native islais cherry plants overlaid with a field of shorebirds rising from the water. Soaring above is a heron, alluding to nearby Heron’s Head Park, an environmental restoration project by the Port that is part of the Blue Greenway trail that traverses the shoreline.

Red balloons appear to float from the mural into the sky, referencing a quote by community activist Essie Webb who once likened Hunters Point to a balloon waiting to be re-inflated. 

The images within the mural have been combined, overlapped, and juxtaposed in a triangular matrix so there appear to be metamorphoses between cherries and balloons, water and birds, land and leaves. This shift is emphasized with the changing colors of lights.

Each night of the week the lights will cycle through a different sequence of colors, some nights rapidly, some nights slowly, sometimes not changing color at all.

Bayview Rise was funded and commissioned by the Port of San Francisco with coordination from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Painting installation was by R.B. Morris III. Lighting installation was by Legend Theatrical.

Photo credits, going down:

1-3, 7-9, 11, 13: Laura Haddad

4-6: Bruce Damonte

10: R.B. Morris III

12 (map): Sarah Ferreter & Laura Haddad