PlaceMakers: Allison Stone Talks Art

Tuesday, Mar 08, 2016 Category Art; Entertainment and Culture

Allison has worked for the Presidio Trust for 15 years. A planner by training, she has supported many post-to-park transformations, from creating a world class trails system to restoring the park's largest watershed, known as Tennessee Hollow. Today, she's part of the newly formed Park Programs team, which focuses on sharing the Presidio with the public through a rich variety of activities, including art programs. One of those is Annie Liebovitz's free new exhibition, WOMEN: New Portraits, which will appear in the Presidio from March 25 to April 17.

Why do we have art in the Presidio?

Parks are inherently public and democratic places – a natural platform for artistic expression. There's a long tradition of art in parks. In the Presidio, we've experimented with art as a way to enhance a visitor's experience of the place and to help them foster deep connections. So far, most of our exhibitions have been temporary and located outdoors along trails and – in some cases – in lesser known areas of the park. We've found art is a great way to ignite curiosity. It can be a catalyst for geographical, intellectual, and spiritual exploration.

​​How does the Presidio make it happen?

To date, all of the art installations in the Presidio have been developed through partnership. The FOR-SITE Foundation was a key partner, bringing incredible vision and philanthropic backing to make both Goldsworthy in the Presidio (ongoing) and Presidio Habitats (2010-11) possible. We were fortunate to partner with SFMOMA as part of their "on the go" program, showcasing one of their award winning artists, David Wilson. We've also worked with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and noted artists Jeannene M. Przyblyski, photographer Lyle Gomes, and watercolorist Lynn Sondag.

Where can we find art in the Presidio?

We host a permanent collection of sculptures by world-renown site-specific artist Andy Goldsworthy; in fact, the Presidio is home to the largest collection of his works on public view in North America. They can be found all around the park – nestled within the historic forest (Spire); next to Lovers Lane (Wood Line); inside a Civil War-era powder magazine (Tree Fall); or inside the Presidio Officers' Club (Earth Wall). You can see all four on just a three-mile hike . . . a "must do" for any art lover. We also often have temporary shows on view, so what you'll see depends on when you visit.

How did the Annie Leibovitz exhibition come to the Presidio?

WOMEN: New Portraits is part of a world-wide tour commissioned by UBS (United Bank Suisse). The artist and her team were seeking a San Francisco venue, and we thought the exhibit was a great fit for the park and they liked the location at Crissy Field. We're thrilled this important exhibit is coming to the Presidio and we hope visitors will examine a poignant and important topic in the world today and then get out and explore the park. Companion programming will include school field trips and portrait workshops for families.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

Yes – I want to thank our amazing volunteer art docents, trail ambassadors, and interns. Without them, we couldn't welcome the public. Join them for a monthly guided Goldsworthy in the Presidio walk, drop in for a Tree Fall tour any weekend from 10 am to 4 pm, or hear a short talk about Earth Wall at noon every Saturday – these are great ways you can experience their knowledge and passion first hand. We're recruiting our next class of docents this spring. If you're interested, contact us: volunteer@presidiotrust.gov or (415) 561-5332.