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  Crissy Field Center Murals project   Crissy Field Center Murals   Mural first side: History                 Murals second side: Restoration                   Installation views                  
  The Presidio is a former U.S. Army base which was turned over to the National Park Service in 1994. Crissy Field is a section of the Presidio on the bay shore adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge. Originally a tidal marsh it had been filled in, paved over and used as an airstrip.
The Golden Gate National Parks Association (Parks Association) in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) undertook a project to restore the site and to create a recreational area and a model wetland. Part of the project was the conversion of a building on the site into a visitors’ center, the Crissy Field Center, an environmental and educational center devoted to the diverse communities in, and visitors to, the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Parks Association through Leslie Stone Associates commissioned me to make artworks to be used as murals in the Crissy Field Center to tell the story of the site and the work that went into remaking it as a recreational and educational resource that addresses the convergence of natural and urban environments.
Two murals each made up of four panels are on opposite sides of a set of pivoting door panels. Each panel measures 8 ft. tall by 6 ft. 6 in. wide, making a total surface of 8 ft. by 26 ft. for each mural. The door panels form a divider between an exhibit and multi-purpose room and the main hall on the ground floor of the Center. The original artworks measure 42 in. by approx. 35.5 in. and were digitally enlarged and printed before being mounted on the door panels.

This set of panels depicts the history and natural history of the site from its state as a wetland in pre-history to its condition as a dis-used and neglected urban space in the 1990’s.
We see the Yelamu Ohlone, the first people to inhabit the site; the arrival of the Spanish and establishment of their presidio; and the subsequent arrival of the American Army.
The site evolved and its military role changed with the growth of San Francisco. It was used as the site of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. In the last twenty years it had fallen into neglect before its transfer from the U.S. military to the National Park Service and its restoration by the NPS and the Parks Association.

This set of panels shows the project to restore Crissy Field as a recreation area. Beginning with the site before restoration through the archeological assessment and field work, the detoxification of the site, the construction and planting of the model wetland, restoration of the historic airfield, and the planning and landscaping of the recreational areas.



I used reference materials; photos, engravings, maps, blueprints, and documents from the Golden Gate National Parks Association, National Park Service, military archives, the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley as well as photos of indigenous birds graciously provided by Mr. Don DesJardin. In keeping with my mandate from the Parks Association and NPS all the elements included in the artwork are authentic to the Crissy Field site.

See Don Desjardin's Bird photos on his website
See VR panoramas of Crissy Field