Mockups Show Proposed Mosaic for Back of Bernal Library



Neighbor Brandon has an update on the new artwork that’s in development for the southern, playground-facing side of the fashionable Bernal Heights Library:

The second phase of the library mural is moving ahead. We have a design (viewable on our site, Tumblr, etc.) and also in hard copy form at the library and Heartfelt. We welcome comments on cards available at the library. Those comments will be shared with the library and art commission meetings which are coming up soon. Funding is at about 90 percent, and we’re looking for a few headline donors to put us over the top. If all goes well with the commission meetings, Johanna Poethig will begin work in early autumn.

Over on the Library Project Tumblr, there’s more information about the proposal, which mixes mosaic tile with neighborhood photography:


The “Story Cloud” is a cloud form created by the overlapping of wires to evoke connectivity. The cloud hovers at the top of the Bernal Library wall overlooking the playground and can be seen from the ground and from a distance. It is a place to tell the story of the neighborhood, conceptually and visually integrating with the site, architecture, playground and functions of the library. This form also references the digital “Cloud” holding information and linking together old and new ways of storing and accessing information. The cloud, fabricated out of glass mosaic, digitally designed and produced to have a pixelated look. Ceramic tile inlaid into this composition holds the pictures collected by the community. Binoculars will enable viewers to explore the cloud in a fun interactive element. This evokes the position of Bernal Heights, the views of the hill and then out over the landscape that surrounds it.

“Story Cloud” meets the criteria of the participating Bernal community to combine compelling and dynamic visuals, preserve the aesthetics of the building, express the values of the community, enhance the experience of the programs and resources offered by the library, identify with Bernal history, present and future. The “Story Cloud” integrates with the other artwork on the Library by adding a third natural element. The wave form unfolds on the front of the building, the tree is rooted and branches out on the side and the cloud hovers over the playground bringing our attention up to the sky. Children in the playground can enjoy the cloud form, elements of discovery and story telling.

PHOTOS: Bernal Library Art Project

16 thoughts on “Mockups Show Proposed Mosaic for Back of Bernal Library

    • I totally agree. I didn’t really get my head around this until this morning, and now that I look at it, I think it’s great. Very contemporary and classical, all at the same time. I also think it will age gracefully there.

  1. The photos are way too tiny. There’s no way we will be able to see the “stories”! I wish they could be enlarged.

  2. Why does this beautifully restored 1940s building need to be “decorated” with anything at all?
    And if there has to be something I’m not sure this is a good idea.This artwork is trying to illustrate a complex conceptual idea which ends up looking very dated and literal. Trying to visualize The Cloud, ugh. And who is going to have binoculars sitting around, are they going to be permanently installed in the playground?

    • +1!
      Leave the gorgeous old building alone.
      This piece seems so concerned with concept that it overlooks aesthetic appeal, and doesn’t flow with the architecture. Bummer.

  3. Yeah, could be a kind of neat concept, I guess, say on a 1980s San Jose civics building but wow- please not on a gorgeous, classic SF library…yuckers. Also, funding is at 90%? Who is funding this? Glen Park and Noe Valley real estate agents? There are so many needed ways to improve the aesthetics of Cortland, (better streetlights, planters, more trees, clean-up of derelict buildings) or across all of Bernal for that matter. Why is this totally unnecessary project the one receiving funding?

  4. I think it’s a great idea! Isn’t the library going to have a set of binoculars to check out, so that kids and others in the playground can observe the stories directly.

  5. I totally agree with B. There are far too many quality of life issues still along Cortland Ave as well as the surrounding area. Do something about that first.
    No need to put up a mural on this beautiful building. It is finally looking the way it should.

  6. Wow- I take my daughter to this park almost every day and I know she (and our whole family) all will love this new improvement to the outside of the library. How amazing-a cloud design is very fitting for a children’s area as we just love to look at real clouds to imagine what shapes we can see in them. We eagerly look at public artwork everywhere we can find it, and see it on all kinds of buildings both new and old, in our city and around the world. My daughter and all of the other children that use this park will have a more beautiful site to play in and art work to excite their imaginations.

  7. Leave the library alone, the building is aesthetically pristine and beautiful. How about using the $$ raised for increasing educational or reading programs for disadvantaged youth. Or here’s an idea, how about a music program since I hear most have been pulled from public schools. I’m not anti-mural where appropriate, if you want to do a mural, how about repainting the Andover Street wall that was “illegally” painted over a few years ago?

  8. I think it looks lovely and a large part of the beauty of the Mission and other neighborhoods are the amazing murals we are lucky to have everywhere. This will add so much to the main drag on Bernal that we regularly frequent.

  9. UPDATE: The SF Public Library Commission endorsed the proposal at their meeting last night. Onward!

  10. Pingback: Sexy Bernal Sweatshirt Hoodies For Sale to Support Final Phase of Library Art Project | Bernalwood

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