Whether you like it or not, the Central Subway Line is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Stations will be at Fourth & Brannan, Union Square, and on the southern edge of Chinatown. And in the last case, you have a chance to help call one of the aesthetic shots, if you act this week.

The Central Subway’s expected to provide a way to travel under the most congested 1.7 miles of the city in less than 10 minutes. Some have criticized the project for reasons such as cost ($1.6 billion) and inefficiency. However, construction is already underway and the San Francisco Arts Commission is busy planning the design for the Chinatown station.

Public art proposals have been selected from a pool of artist submissions from all over the country. The SFAC is calling for public comments on the finalist’s proposals.
The Arts Commission will choose designs for two categories of permanent artwork for the Chinatown station.

The “Landmark” artwork will be a large-scale piece that creates a station identity. This is the art that will be on entryways and large wall expanses. The other category is called “Wayfaring” artwork. These pieces will be “a visual thread for pedestrians to follow through the station”. Here’s a summary of the proposals:

Landmark Artwork Proposals

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Ming Fay – Golden Mountain Sequoias
A vibrant mosaic mural of an imaginary place in nature called Gold Mountain (based on the Sierras) that inspired many Chinese to come to California in the 19th century.

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Yumei Hou – Yang Ge Dance of Northeast China
A white and red mural over an arch with green trimming that depicts Yang Ge, a spontaneous outdoor folk dance.

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May Sun – An Ocean to Cross / A Land to Build
Green/blue stone floors and red granite walls with old photographs honoring the lives of the pioneering Chinese settlers.

Wayfaring Artwork Proposals

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Carl Cheng – The Chinese Underground Garden
Various window boxes constructed through out the station that depict garden vistas, fruits and vegetables, and original artwork to create the idea of a serene garden underneath the chaos of Stockton Street.

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Tomie Arai – Urban Archeology
A mural that spans the vertical length of the elevator, with images gradually shifting from the lower level to the concourse to tell the story of Chinatown from past to present.

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Yun-Fei Ji – The Garden
A hand scroll that winds through the station that depicts a garden filled with contemporary Chinese Americans going about their daily lives, accompanied by text taken from interviews with Chinese American’s living in the Chinatown neighborhood.

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Faye Zhang – Inception, Confluence and Flow
Three colorful pieces that play with the idea of flowing water in addition to images of Chinese calligraphy relating to water, all made of mosaic tiles and laminate glass.

What do you think of the proposals? Check out the detailed descriptions with pictures the SFAC website and then e-mail your comments to zoe.taleporos@sfgov.org. This is not a vote. Comments will be summarized and shared with the Artist Selection Panel prior to the final panel meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 at 9AM at the Arts Commission offices (located at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70). The meeting is open to the public.

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  • mikesonn

    I think the art pictures show just how far down into the depths you are going to have to go to ride. Some cool stuff, but man this project gets me.

  • mikesonn

    I think the art pictures show just how far down into the depths you are going to have to go to ride. Some cool stuff, but man this project gets me.