Cultural Arts - News & Events

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 Introducing the 2020 Youth Art Scholarship Recipient

rollwithit art by H. WilbornThe Cultural Arts Commission was pleased to award the 2020 Jack Drago Cultural Arts Commission Youth Art Scholarship to Helen Wilborn of South San Francisco High School. Her achievement was acknowledged at the June 10th City Council meeting and June 18th Cultural Arts Commission meeting. 

Helen’s studies incorporated various artistic mediums including video art, drama, dance, and digital photography. Her preferred art forms are sketch-work and Photoshop. She is also currently exploring oil painting and digital art. She won the Student of the Month-Dance Award and Honorable Mention in a South San Francisco art show. She has several art internship opportunities and hopes to apply for a job in the art field while attending college. Her future goals are to work closely with professional artists in order to expand her horizons and gain experience in the field.

The Jack Drago Cultural Arts Commission Youth Art Scholarship was established in 1999 for the purpose of providing eligible graduating seniors from the South San Francisco Unified School District continued education in the visual arts. The scholarship is financed exclusively by community donations.


Public Art featured on You Tube

Enjoy the Children's Tile Project"Joy, Fun, Laugh Share" 

Children's Tile Art Activity FlyerThe Cultural Arts Commission sponsors a series of annual art gallery exhibits designed to showcase the creativity of local and Bay Area artists. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the originally scheduled 2020 programs are cancelled or postponed.

As the Commission explores avenues for art programming that allows for safe health practices, the first of many planned video presentations featuring SSF Public Art installations has been launched on the Parks and Recreation Department's YouTube channel. The Children’s Tile art installation is the latest #YouTube video  This public art installation is located in the Alta Loma Park Playground at 450 Camaritas Drive. It was created in 2014 under the guidance of art teacher, Lolly DeEleanora, and installed in 2018. It features 64 colorful ceramic tiles with whimsical images painted by children from the SSF Childcare Afterschool care program. The tile installation was dedicated to the memory of past Cultural Arts Commissioner Jackie Pettinari.

Visit this page for updated information on the 2020 art gallery events, upcoming cultural art opportunities and activities. Inquiries regarding cultural arts programs should be directed to Ercie Santos, Cultural Arts Specialist, at the SSF Parks and Recreation Department office.


Utility Box Mural Project

UBMP19 artists by Finny Balboa

Celebrate the newest utility boxes transformed from drab metal cases into stunning artistic murals at four locations: South Spruce and Centennial Way, Hillside Blvd. and Linden Avenue, Chestnut Avenue and Hillside Blvd., and Westborough Blvd. and Gellert Blvd. These colorful murals highlight Sign Hill’s native plants and endangered species, SSF’s landscapes and diversity and South San Francisco's five Sister Cities.

The Utility Box Mural Project allows artists and creative community members the opportunity to highlight and share their artistry, while creating pleasant public spaces and deterring graffiti. Donations, for this project, are courtesy of Kelly-Moore Paints in South San Francisco.


Enjoy Photo Presentations of Past Art Gallery Exhibits

Select the links below to view photo slideshows of select South San Francisco 2018 and 2019 art gallery exhibits. Photography and slideshow is courtesy of artist and Cultural Arts Commissioner PaulaClaudine Hobson-Coard.

  • Floral Mania - A Quilting Exhibit - May 2019 
  • Photography Exhibit & Karaoke Night - January 2019
  • Dia De Los Muertos / Day of the Dead Art Event - October 2018

    Enjoy these Sculpture Installations

    These works were obtained via a nationwide call and recommended by the Cultural Arts Commission. The Commission encourages the community to take time to enjoy the whimsy and charm of the new sculptures.
    Slices of Heaven 2018 (47) sml


    Oranges for Orange Park
    Visitors, to the Orange Memorial Park sculpture garden, will come across a delectable-looking column of orange slices. Oranges for Orange Park! The sculpture is located at the Tennis Drive entrance near the tennis courts. Titled “Slices of Heaven,” it is the creation of Florida sculptor, CR Gray. This is one of two permanent works by the artist, whose work is inspired by Americana and engaging pieces that come from the heart.



    Popsicles 1


    Delectable Popsicles Recall Youthful Delight
    It was a warm and somewhat humid July day in Orange Memorial Park, yet these particularly inviting popsicles did not melt. Rather the nine foot trio of stacked treats recalled images of youthful delight indulging in the refreshing snack. What could the flavors be, perhaps strawberry? grape? orange? watermelon? boysenberry? mango? Appropriately titled “Popsicles,” the second sculpture acquisition, created by sculptor CR Gray, is located on the roundabout median, at the end of the picnic area parking lot, off of Memorial Drive.



    Windswept 2018 (32)-sml


    Delicate "Windswept" Tendrils Adorn Westborough Blvd near 280
    Commuters in transit on Westborough Boulevard have a lovely new sculpture to enjoy as they cruise towards their destinations. On journeys past the median, west of Highway 280, they will encounter the delicate tendrils of a ten foot aluminum sculpture. It seemingly appears to be moving as a result of the prevailing winds. Created by internationally-recognized, Tennessee sculptor, Brian F. Russell, the inspiration for this “Windswept” sculpture was the fluid movement of water. The shape of the individual segments were dictated by the suppleness of the heated metal.



    Curious Cranes and Mythical Dragon Fly into South City

    Document 1To the delight of residents and commuters, curious avian creatures, a dragon and two cranes, have found homes in South San Francisco. These temporary, decorative pieces were installed with the collaboration of the Parks and Public Works department. Dragons and cranes can be found in the mythology of many different cultures. They can possess magical powers, and among other traits, are associated with wisdom or good fortune and longevity.

     On the Hickey and Junipero Serra Boulevard Island are the two elegant cranes, relishing the ambiance of the faux pond and shady willow tree. Standing four feet in height, these gregarious birds preen and stretch as they enjoy their respite, inviting the commuting public to do likewise. 

    Our Dragon has a Name! - Introducing “YOMU”

    Yomu the Dragon and XaviSouth San Francisco’s new, majestic dragon, located on the corner of Westborough Boulevard and West Orange Avenue, has a name! The winning title was selected from sixty-six imaginative entries that were submitted in May’s Parks and Recreation Department survey. The fanciful creature is majestically perched on massive stone boulders that resemble reptilian eggs, keeping a vigilant eye on the surroundings.

    The name, “Yomu,” which translates to the Japanese verb meaning “To Read,” was the suggestion of young Xavier. Selected by the Cultural Arts Commission, it was deemed a creatively appropriate designation given the dragon’s proximity to the Main Library which is located at 840 West Orange Avenue. The vision is that Yomu the Dragon inspires the community to discover the powerful ideas and enduring pleasures found in reading.



    Document 2

    Five Extraordinary Utility Box Murals Embellish the SSF Cityscape

    Be sure to visit the five wonderful utility box murals completed as part of the 2016 Utility Box Mural project. “Straight out of SSF,” by artist Grace Furci and students from the SSF Adult Transition Program is a tribute to different aspects of the South San Francisco community. It is located near the BART station at Mission and Evergreen, where commuters and community are welcomed with colorful images of city iconography mixed with textual aspirations.

    The mural, in shades of gray and purple and located at Grand and Magnolia, alludes to life’s constant movement. Titled, “Through the Wind,” it is the creation of South San Francisco native, Nicholas Serrano.

    The lovely floral images that envelop the untitled, petite box on the corner of Maple and Baden Avenue are the creation of San Bruno artist, Manuel Catania.

    East Bay artist, Kalief Porter-Brown’s untitled mural, located near 701 Gateway Blvd., features “Dali-esque” illustrations of Northern California wildlife including blackneck stilts, leopard shark and shiner perch.

    “Loving Life,” is the creation of artist and arts commissioner, PaulaClaudine Hobson-Coard, with the collaboration of her mother, Mary Allicson Hobson Coard. The mural, imbued vibrant hearts and citrine and ruby flowers leaping out of the emerald background, can be found on South Spruce Avenue and Huntington.

    Commissioner Hobson-Coard’s project was featured on the November 14, 2016 issue of the San Mateo Daily Journal. She subsequently received a letter of congratulations from Representative Jackie Speier’s office. Enjoy the photo slideshow she composed highlighting her experience as she painted her utility box.

    The Utility Box Mural Project allows artists and creative community members the opportunity to highlight and share their artistry, while creating pleasant public spaces and deterring graffiti. Paint donations are courtesy of Kelly-Moore Paints in South San Francisco.

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