Golden Mile Project
Sep 2022 – Current
The Golden Mile Project, located in the heart of San Francisco’s majestic Golden Gate Park, is a place of whimsy, fun and lingering delight. Previously one of San Francisco’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians and bikers, the 1.5 mile stretch has now been transformed into an urban oasis bursting with art, music and joy.
With San Francisco-based arts nonprofit Illuminate leading the way in partnership with SF Rec Park, the road enjoyed a complete transformation over three months beginning in the fall of 2022. More than a dozen massive murals are painted directly upon the former roadway, large-scale sculpture installations adorn the mile as creative totems to community solidarity, two grand pianos sit ready for open play, live music permeates the air from two different stages, a beautifully restored vintage caravan pours locally roasted coffee, circus performers emerge and vanish again as organically as the naturally occurring elements, a storyboard walk educates minds young and old on the history of the park, children’s games can be found in plain sight. Even a full fledged beer garden appeared on weekends for the adults–all of this in a safe and joyful environment.
This extraordinary transformation, funded through private philanthropy, served to reveal the promise of this former road, turned urban oasis. It is credited with motivating San Francisco voters to overwhelmingly pass Proposition J in November 2022, which permanently closed a section of the road (JFK Drive) to vehicles.
Illuminate’s many partners on the project include Paint the Void (murals), Independent Distribution Collective (music), Flower Piano (pianos), San Francisco Public Library (StoryWalk), Non Plus Ultra (beer garden), Automattic (website), Kid Safe SF, Walk SF and SF Bike.
Dana King (she/her),
Dana King is a classical figurative sculptor who creates public monuments of Black Bodies in Bronze. She studies the strength and resilience of African descendants and creates pieces made of clay with her hands that are then cast in bronze.
King’s work explores a subversive concept in a traditional form. She rescues everyday Black American heroines/heroes from unjust obscurity and then ennobles their tenacity and courage through figurative sculpture, recontextualizing a medium often used to elevate Eurocentric and white supremacist statuary.
Across countless generations African elders and their descendants have communicated culture, history, and wisdom through storytelling. Dana King continues that tradition in bronze, resurrecting love and truth from America’s buried past. Intense research shapes such memories empowering King to create art that invites people to understand themselves and their lives in a connected and compelling way.
Research is fundamental to her work. When digging for threads to weave together stories of the past, there are historically generalized and racist ideologies that demand a wholesale upheaval of the normative misrepresentation of Black peoples’ emotional and physical sacrifices. African descendants deserve public monuments of truth that radiate their powerful and undying resilience created from a Black aesthetic point of view.
King’s public sculptures are in the Bay Area and across the country. In addition to her most recently installed bronze bust of Dr. Huey Newton located in West Oakland, CA., her life size bronze artwork is in South Berkeley, California, New Haven, Connecticut and at the Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. She also just installed and dedicated “Monumental Reckoning” in San Franciscoâs Golden Gate Park, decolonizing the space as the first African American woman to create a sculptural installation in the park representing the history of African descendants.
King prefers sculptures because they inhabit space and space is power. She believes sculpture provides an opportunity to shape culturally significant memories that determine how African descendants are publicly held and remembered.
King’s sculptures link generations by revealing common threads: shared values, experiences, and aspirations. She knows they help those alive today compare and contrast their world with that of social pioneers, both enslaved and free, whose courage and commitment to excellence helped create modern society.
Equity and justice are integral to Dana Kings art practice.
My art has only one requirement: color. I work in two distinct styles, abstract and geometric-and color is what unites them. I believe these two different processes allow me to be the dichotomous person that I am- on one hand someone who is loose, mellow, meditative and spiritual. And on the other someone who is a control freak, meticulous, rigid and anxious. I work through this duality and explore the particular subsets of each trait in my series and murals.
I’m inspired by street artists, neon signs, tile work, pop culture, movies, music, the candy aisle and the bizarre reality show that is life. Behind all my work is my personal struggle with addiction. I paint because I got a second chance at life, because it is the thing that brings me the most joy, and so others know there’s hope.
I have mural art all over San Francisco- a few pieces that are open to the public include The Salesforce Transit Center and on Jane on Larkin off Cedar Alley in the Tenderloin. I have private pieces scattered throughout the Bay Area, Colorado, Minnesota and North Carolina.
Mark Deems (they/them),Artist
Mark Deems is founder and lead artist with the Misfit Toys. An arts collective brought together by the love of creative collaboration and the love of art writ large. Misfit Toys hail from a myriad of locations, settings, and eras. We are a mix of professionals and amateurs, artists and makers, architects and electricians, welders and woodworkers. And they like their art big. REALLY BIG.
Marta Lindsey (she/her), Artist
Marta is a writer and park lover. She lives in San Francisco with her family, just one block from Golden Gate Park. She visits Golden Gate Park almost every day, and still discovers new and surprising things about it. Marta’s books Golden Gate Park, An A to Z Adventure and ABCs of Golden Gate Park include many of her favoritesâ¦ including some that even locals may not know about.
Marta is also a long-time volunteer at Point Reyes National Seashore with her husband as part of the winter wildlife program. The inspiration for her first children’s book, Little Gray’s Great Migration, happened when Marta saw a gray whale calf breach 13 times right below the Point Reyes lighthouse.
Matley Hurd, Artist
Matley Hurd is a San Francisco-based visual artist who mainly works in mixed media painting, digital illustration, and large-scale murals. Incorporating elements from comic books, anime, graffiti, sci-fi and mythology, his work mainly consists of vibrant ethereal beings he calls “Star Goddess. Accompanied with bold abstract flowing shapes giving an immense feeling of levity and elegance. Matley got his first breakthrough in 2020 during the pandemic. With the sudden influx of public art during that time, he knew there was an opportunity to showcase his work and become a full time artist. What started with one small mural has now turned into many scattered all throughout the Bay Area. He hopes his work can provide joy and inspiration for all who come across it.
Max Ehrman (Eon 75) has been painting mural and commissioned studio work for over 25 years now. His first love was in Architecture where he
received a Bachelor of Architecture From FAU in Florida and then went on to study at the Bauhaus in Germany where he attained a Masters in Architecture. After practicing architecture for 5 years, he decided to chase his passion in painting and moved to San Francisco to chase art dreams Eon 75’s work is based on the harmony and structure found in nature. He typically will combine elements of nature with flora and fauna as well as his diverse characters. His style ranges from realistic characters to colorful abstract landscapes, which draws the viewer with tis color theory and flow.
Some highlights that have been pivotal in Maxs career have been
collaborating and painting with artists in Europe and Asia as well as local communities in the United States.
Eon 75 has worked with communities and schools from the bay area to Belgium to bring art to the youth and beautify neighborhoods and schools. He has collaborated with San Francisco Arts Commission, Department of
Public works and local nonprofits like Paint the Void and Together San
Francisco. Having lived in San Francisco for fifteen years now, Max has explored the bay area and Alameda quite extensively. From wine/beer tasting to many a birthday party and adventures on the bay. Alemeda is beautiful in is diversity and unique views of the bay area.
I look forward to this opportunity and hope to work with you in the future.
Rachel Znerold, Artist
Raised in the wilderness of Colorado but living in the Mission District for the past 15 years, Rachel Znerold is a painter, performance artist, activist, creative consultant and set/costume designer a working to create more mindfulness, empowerment and justice through art.
Bella Donna Artiste, Arist Duo
Bella Donna Artiste is a collaborative duo composed of artists Addendum24 and LE BohemianMuse. Based in the Bay Area, the artists met while participating in ArtSpan’s artist studio residency program at the Journal Building in San Francisco, CA. Bella Donna Artiste was established in 2018 after the two creatives collaborated on a painting for the residency program’s group exhibition. Their work explores themes of feminine identity, energy, and existence through a fusion of abstract techniques and classical portraiture. Bella Donna Artiste is currently preparing work for their first solo exhibition Genesis in September 2021.