The new Dogpatch Arts Plaza will bridge Dogpatch’s industrial past with its recent artistic revitalization. More than just another park or gallery space, the plaza is designed to be a spot where you can enjoy a cup of coffee, partake in good conversation with your neighbors, and be together with others as a community. The design reclaims what was once a dead-end street and transforms it into an 8,000-square-foot public pedestrian plaza, the anchor point for what will come to be known at the “19th Street Green Corridor.” This greenway will link Esprit Park with the planned Crane Cove Park at Pier 70. The Dogpatch condos of 815 Tennessee are located at the midpoint of the corridor, perfectly positioned to fully enjoy this new jewel of the neighborhood.
Incorporating a flexible design for the hosting of public events and large-scale art installations, the plaza stays true to its inspiration: Ray Oldenburg’s idea of “third spaces.” In his book The Great Good Place, Oldenburg describes how the spaces that are third in our life after home and work are “marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people’s more serious involvement in other spheres.” To this end, movable planters and seating allow for reconfiguration based on event needs, while a designated café area and fixed bleacher seating define the permanency of the plaza and create dependable meeting areas for the community. A temporary stage can accommodate one or both areas, and ample room is provided for load-in and -out of installations and other performance/display equipment.
While functional, the Dogpatch Arts Plaza values aesthetic beauty. The design ingeniously balances the industrial flavor of the neighborhood with the modern desire for green spaces and incorporates a complex selection of material elements to reflect the surrounding streetscape and bay environs. Weathered steel supports and concrete walks complement red cedar planks and crushed black basalt tree beds, all of which frame a variety of plants and flowers, including delicate but bold orange hot pokers, wonderfully contemplative spiral agave, and the always contradictory flowers and leaves of hens and chicks. Raywood ash and coast live oak promise plenty of shade and fall colors near the café and on the bleachers, while Monterey cypress is slated to fill the parapet that backs the plaza.
To kick off the opening of the space, a series of free concerts will be starting at the end of August and running through October. Part of the People In Plazas program, the music promises to be an eclectic mix of acts, including the blues of Blind Lemon Pledge, zydeco by Tri Tip Trio, and the smooth R&B stylings of Omega. All shows start at noon. For more information on performance schedules and featured acts, click here.
And, with community-gathering at the heart of the project, it’s only fitting that the plaza’s stewardship and sustainability model reflects the same ethos. A new nonprofit, the Friends of Dogpatch Arts Plaza (FoDAP), will be composed of neighborhood residents, local businesses, and other interested parties who want to help manage this valuable Dogpatch asset. Partnering with a suitable fiscal sponsor such as SF Parks Alliance, FoDAP will ensure the continued success of the plaza via engaging programming, fresh exhibits, and operational support. If you’d like to help, or learn more about FoDAP, drop them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.