San Franciscoís Newest Two-Acre Park and Public Open Space on the Waterfront

City Welcomes New Sculpture "Cupidís Span"

Published: March, 2003

After years of community planning and ongoing collaboration amongst public agencies, the City of San Francisco celebrates the opening of Rincon Park, a two-acre park and public open space on the waterfront. Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., the San Francisco Port Commission, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, and Gap Inc. participated in a dedication ceremony last month to officially open Rincon Park, located on the Embarcadero at the foot of Folsom Street. The park stretches 1,000 feet between the Embarcadero and the Herb Caen Way pedestrian promenade along the water’s edge.

Rincon Park offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands, and the Berkeley hills beyond. The park includes open lawns, landscaped areas, architectural seating walls, a bay front promenade, approved space for future restaurants, and a new sculpture by internationally renowned artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, titled Cupid’s Span.

"Adding a new park and wonderful sculpture to San Francisco’s waterfront is more evidence of our dedication to making this the world’s most beautiful city," said Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Situated on the crest of Rincon Park’s northern knoll, Cupid’s Span is a depiction of a bow and arrow. Composed of fiberglass and steel, the sculpture stands approximately 60 feet tall and is 130-140 feet wide. The sculpture has an open design to provide a frame for the surrounding landscape.

Cupid’s Span adds to Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s long list of famous large-scale civic sculptures, which include "Spoonbridge and Cherry" in Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, "Saw, Sawing" in Tokyo, Japan, and "Needlethread" in Milan.

The sculpture was commissioned by Donald and Doris Fisher, founders of Gap Inc., who donated it to the City of San Francisco.

"Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen are two of the most prominent public sculptors of our time," says Don Fisher, Gap Inc. chairman and founder. "Doris and I are so pleased to be a part of bringing this world-class work of art to our city, to be enjoyed by everyone who visits Rincon Park."

Rincon Park is a collaborative effort by the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and Gap Inc. The land is owned by the Port and leased to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency; both share jurisdiction over the land. Rincon Park was developed by Gap Inc. with Wilson Equity Office as part of Gap Inc.’s headquarters project at Two Folsom Street. The park was designed by Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, an internationally known landscape architecture firm, in association with the Office of Cheryl Barton, a leading San Francisco design firm.

In 1995, when the agreement was struck to develop Rincon Park, the Redevelopment Agency and the Port Commissions set out a process for design approval. In addition to the Port and Redevelopment Agency, the review and approval process included the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the Port’s Waterfront Design Advisory Committee and outside design advisors, as well as extensive public involvement. More than twelve public hearings were scheduled related to the park and sculpture design. The Rincon Point-South Beach Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) also played an integral role in the development and refinement of the park’s design. Rincon Park received final design approval in February 2000.

Rincon Park is part of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Rincon Point-South Beach Redevelopment Project Area, which includes over 2,500 housing units, of which 25 percent are restricted as affordable units, over 1 million square feet of commercial space, and Pacific Bell Park.