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Oakland Museum of California Announces Complete and Final List of Bay Bridge Steel Program Awardees

UPDATED: June 19, 2017

(OAKLAND, CA) January 17, 2017—The Oakland Museum of California has announced that a total of 14 artists, designers, and design firms have been awarded steel from the demolition of the Eastern span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge for use in public projects throughout the state of California, at the conclusion of three rounds of competitive applications. A complete list of the projects and descriptions may be found at the end of this news release. 

The Bay Bridge Steel Program, which was originally announced in June 2015, was created in response to significant public interest from Bay Area artists and creative communities to make steel from the bridge available for repurposing and reuse, preserving its legacy and visibility as a major landmark and historic icon via public projects throughout the State. The 14 successful projects have planned installations in Oakland, along San Francisco’s waterfront, on Treasure Island, in Napa and Marin Counties, Truckee/Tahoe and Joshua Tree, California.

Now that the final projects have been selected, distribution of the steel from the Bay Bridge will begin in Spring 2017, with recipients beginning work on their installations thereafter. 

“The Oakland Museum of California is part of a vibrant creative landscape in Oakland and California,” says OMCA Executive Director Lori Fogarty, “and we were delighted to be able to facilitate this process of awarding material to exciting projects and supporting the work of California artists and designers. The Bay Bridge Steel Program is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to remember the legacy of the Bridge, which connected and unified our communities for 80 years. We look forward to seeing these installations completed as lasting and engaging celebrations the public will interact with for generations.”

The Oakland Museum of California is working under the direction of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC) — which is made up of representatives from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) — to support and administer the process of distributing steel to be salvaged from the demolition for use in projects that creatively celebrate the original 1936 East Span and/or its history.

To this end, the Museum assembled a highly qualified selection committee with expertise in public art, art administration, landscape architecture, structural engineering, and the history of the bridge to review proposed projects and award the available bridge steel. The Museum has also engaged an independent program consultant, Leslie Pritchett, with extensive public art experience to help administer the Bay Bridge Steel Program.

Three rounds of applications spanned an 18-month period, which concluded in December 2016. All applications were considered for projects destined for the public realm within the state of California and that met key criteria, including celebrating or evoking the bridge, its history, or its importance as an iconic structure. The selection committee reviewed proposals and awarded specific elements of salvaged and remediated steel, at no charge, to successful the applicants. This program was established to award grants of bridge steel; it does not provide for funding or ensure that projects will be accepted or approved by the responsible municipal agencies where they are planned; awardees are responsible for addressing these and other additional requirements.

“It’s great to be part of and support a public program like this, and to pay homage to the original Bay Bridge East Span,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty, who is also the chair of the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee. “The removal of the 1936 bridge is changing the visual character of the Bay, but the placement into the public realm of iconic elements from that structure will keep the historic East Span alive in our collective memory.”
The Bay Bridge Steel Project partners are pleased that this exciting opportunity was embraced by a broad range of artists, architects, landscape architects, planners and other design professionals working in public contexts and looks forward to seeing the completion of projects celebrating the 1936 East Span of the Bay Bridge realized.

Bay Bridge Steel Program Awards
The following fourteen projects were granted steel through the Oakland Museum of California Bay Bridge Steel Program.

AECOM will utilize salvaged pieces of steel as playful site furnishings on the new southern waterfront promenade of Treasure Island, a public walkway known as Clipper Cove Promenade that will run the length of the Island from the entrance to Treasure Island at the Causeway to the southeast corner of the island. This site offers fantastic views of the new Bay Bridge. By transforming massive metal pieces into furnishings, the steel will be tangible and accessible to the public in a way that was never possible in their original location. By re-using the pieces of salvaged steel in this location AECOM will create a visual link to the Bay Bridge in an area that’s history and function is directly tied to it. (Round C)

Katy Boynton
Katy Boynton, a San Francisco-based artist, has been contracted by Hornblower Cruises and Events, in cooperation with the Port of San Francisco and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), to develop a series of public artworks on Pier 3/Hornblower Landing, just north of the Ferry Building on San Francisco’s waterfront. Inspired by Pier 3’s location across from Treasure Island where the Golden Gate International Exposition World’s Fair was held in 1939-1940, Boynton will populate the pier’s public space with artworks and furnishings fashioned from salvaged Bay Bridge steel that refer to the bridge and the fair. Boynton will create a sculpture dedicated to Pacifica, the most prominent statue at the Treasure Island World’s Fair. Eighty-one feet tall, Pacifica stood with a star curtain as her backdrop. Made of metal, the stars were designed to provide a soft chime sound in the wind. As a dedication to the history of the World’s Fair and its celebration of the Bay Area’s bridges, Katy plans to recreate the star curtain and wind chime, incorporating salvaged Bay Bridge steel. Boynton also plans to use bridge steel to delineate a public access pathway, and at the end of the Pier in a second sculpture dedicated to the structure of the old Bay Bridge. The artworks will be lit dramatically at night, ever-inviting the public for a waterfront stroll. (Round C)

The India Basin waterfront is currently undergoing a transformation into a legacy waterfront park for the City of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. The waterfront park system will include more than a mile of continuous shoreline promoting public access, recreational amenities, interactions with the Bay, educational and cultural programs, and resilient habitat creation. A robust signage and wayfinding system, site-specific furnishings, and a destination sculpture park are key to creating a regional attraction, an interpretive dialogue with the past, and unique encounters with the Bay. BUILD:, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, and their partners will use salvaged Bay Bridge steel members as signature pieces in these larger systems. The pieces will be installed in prominent, publicly accessible spaces. In certain locations, the pieces will be positioned to enhance a direct line of sight and connection to the new Bay Bridge. And as signature members in prominent pieces along the waterfront, the steel will serve not only as public art, but also as a symbol of the incredible cooperation required for such transformative and historic projects to occur. (Round C)

CMG Landscape Architecture /Treasure Island Community Development
The completion of the Bay Bridge in 1936 triggered celebrations that lasted for days, and in 1939-1940 the newly built Treasure Island hosted the Golden Gate International Exposition which celebrated, among other things, the completion of both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. At that time, the Bay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world and it symbolized great technological and engineering advancement. The Field, an installation on the newly redeveloped Treasure Island, will celebrate the grand scale of the Bay Bridge and the majestic and heroic engineering that went into its design. Located in a future shoreline park at the southeastern corner of the island and directly adjacent to the existing East Pier, the installation highlights the sheer length and thickness of the ‘eye bars’ from the bridge, whose placement in a tight array reminds visitors of the unprecedented scale of the 1936 East Span. Encircled by trees, the installation provides visitors with a sense of discovery as they enter the park from the street or happen upon it while walking along the future Clipper Cove Promenade. The open eyelets tower fifteen feet above visitors walking below and solemnly pay tribute to their dismantled brethren. The Field creates not only a striking element when viewed from a distance but also produces an incredible, immersive experience for visitors as they weave their way through the steel forest. (Round C)

Karen Cusolito
By day, the towers of Karen Cusolito’s installation will evoke the scale and grace of the old bridge; placed in a manner reminiscent of the footings of the bridge rising up toward the height of the deck, yet disappearing into the sky much as the old bridge has now disappeared. By night The Towers will glow with a soft light from within presenting an elegant yet ghost-like impression of an Eastern Span that exists only in photos and memory, and in some unique public works of art. The Towers will be placed intermittently along a pathway; three Bay Area sites are currently under consideration. They will be experienced intimately by pedestrians as they walk along the pathway, bringing the public up close to a piece of history they had only previously seen from afar while driving across the bridge or from the shore of the Bay. Where possible, for passersby in cars, The Towers will evoke the sense of driving across the Eastern Span as it stood for many decades, with patterned light and dark as drivers whiz by the uprights. For those young enough to never have been on the old Eastern Span, this installation will allow them to touch and feel the historic steel and rivets of a now-lost building technique, and be inspired to explore the history of the Bay Area’s industrial age and the important connectivity the bridge brought to the region. (Round C)

Elsewhere Philatelic Society
A theme that frequently comes up in the interactive performance work of the Elsewhere Philatelic Society (EPS) is “the Bay Area that is no longer there,” in that its community of members are already imagining places in the world that could never have existed. In support of Philatelicism (“[…] the study of the study of stamp collecting, collectors, and collections”), artifacts-real or made up-help to immerse our community in these worlds. The Rivet, a visceral reminder of the original bridge span, will help tie the real history of the bridge to the Society’s stories, and vice versa. During public displays of The Rivet, questions may arise regarding the rivet, its provenance, and its verisimilitude. Participants will receive a fanciful description of the original 1936 East Span of the Bay Bridge and specially chosen historical moments from the bridge’s history. One of the goals of the Elsewhere Philatelic Society is to provide real historical and art historical perspectives on Bay Area locations overlaid with immersive fiction. In practice an amalgamation of public space reinterpretation, street art/environmental installation, publications, machine-augmented concerns, and philately, the objective of the EPS will be creatively augmented by the addition of The Rivet, as it will facilitate a “conversational space” about the old Bay Bridge and that which connects the city of San Francisco and the East Bay. (Round C)

Thomas Greathouse/Laney College
Thomas Greathouse and fellow students from Laney College, with the support of their faculty advisor, have designed a sundial fabricated from distinctive elements of salvaged bridge steel, which they plan to install on the Laney College campus in a publicly accessible community garden. The base for the dial will be a section of a truss, reminiscent of a scale miniature of the same footings that supported the old Bay Bridge. The sundial will include rivets placed at every “sun” hour. The sundial will function as a centerpiece of the garden and tell time without modern or digital technology. In this way it will connect people to the Earth. Also, the project team hopes that the sundial may inspire people to be creative or to take a welding class. (Round C)

Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology Center/Mark Bulwinkle
Eva Soltes of the Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology Center in Joshua Tree, California has, with Bay Area artist Mark Bulwinkle, designed an entry gate for the venerated arts center fashioned from the old Bay Bridges’ trusses. The gate, which will frame the public entry to the performing arts venue and artists’ residency, will celebrate the center’s Bay Area roots where founder and composer Lou Harrison (1917-2002) engaged in a “lifetime of artistry, activism and concern for the environment.” Soltes suggests that Lou Harrison and the old Bay Bridge were contemporaries, “Harrison was on the scene in San Francisco composing avant-garde art music with John Cage. They were among the burgeoning WPA generation that went on to define the modern-art era of the 20th century.” (Round A)

Hyphae Design Lab
Oakland-based Hyphae Design has proposed repurposing large bridge structures into the landscape of a new transit hub being planned in conjunction with the Oakland Army Base redevelopment. Hyphae designers will “create several landscape elements out of the steel pieces that leverage the inherent elegance of the original 504′ truss spans” and celebrate the history of the old Bay Bridge at a site close to where the bridge touched down, adjacent to the Port of Oakland. (Round A)

The Living New Deal
The Living New Deal is dedicated to public education and documentation of the people, programs, and infrastructure of the New Deal, and will use rivets from the historic East Span in conjunction with its projects, which include art exhibits, public lectures, and tours. The project incorporating rivets from the old Bay Bridge will have the theme “Building Bridges, Not Walls” and will highlight the contributions of immigrant workers and the multicultural diversity and internationalism of the Bay Area. One theme of the exhibit will be the role of immigrants in the building the Bay Area’s bridges. The exhibit and related public programs are planned for two San Francisco locations-the San Francisco Public Library History Center and the Canessa Gallery in North Beach. (Round C)

Sean Paul Lorentz
Sean Paul Lorentz of Petaluma, California plans to build a cantilevered sculpture from bridge trusses that will “emphasize the incredible strength” of the bridge steel.  He wants to “create a piece with two independent, extreme cantilevered sections with the focal point on the space between the two forms” that will “evoke that climatic moment before the last key stone section is added” to an arch or to a bridge. His plan is to celebrate the time just before the cities of Oakland and San Francisco were united by the 1936 East Span, as well as man’s triumph over his physical world as represented by the old Bay Bridge-a major accomplishment of engineering and ingenuity. Lorentz is planning a temporary, two-year installation in a publicly accessible sculpture park in Napa and is working on plans for a permanent installation in Healdsburg, California. (Round A)

Tom Loughlin
Bay Area artist Tom Loughlin has designed a sound and light sculpture fabricated from an old Bay Bridge warning light and a massive, box-shaped, riveted top chord. According to Loughlin, “The aim of the piece is to call to mind various rhythms that intersect in the San Francisco Bay. The ebb and flow of tide and fog and sunrise and sunset have taken place for eons. The arrival of humans introduced additional rhythms, from our own heartbeat and breath to the pulse of our activity in the urban landscape. The pulsing light and sound of the proposed sculpture call to mind the navigational aids, bridges, and other structures we’ve put into the Bay to assist our travel. Perhaps visitors to the sculpture will find themselves thinking about their place in the natural landscape and the tools we have built to help us traverse it.” The sculpture is slated for installation on Treasure Island. (Round A)

Mountain Forge/Anton Standteiner
Anton Standteiner and his company, Mountain Forge, Inc., will use Bay Bridge steel to build a public railroad platform for the miniature riding railroad at the Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation Regional Park. The existing small track and the soon-to-be completed large track railroads circumnavigate the park’s community garden and the children’s play area. The new railroad platform will facilitate loading and unloading at this popular park attraction, and will evoke the important railroad and transportation connections between Truckee/Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area. (Round B)

San Francisco-based landscape architects SURFACEDESIGN, INC. proposed an overlook and viewing platform for a new San Francisco waterfront park created from a series of bridge trusses and other elements. Their project will celebrate the historic bridge “by re-purposing salvaged steel from the original 1936 Eastern span of the Bay Bridge into new landscape features including an overlook and observation platform that will directly connect users to views of the Bay Bridge; the landscape itself will be a vehicle for displaying the cultural and industrial narratives of the construction of the bridge. Park users will be able to engage with the re-purposed steel and learn about the history of the Bridge through a series of interactive exhibits, employing an integrative approach to interpretation, the landscape itself will become a tool for understanding and marking change.” (Round A)

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history, and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. There is a $4 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum.


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