Allison Stone talks Art in the Presidio
Allison Stone 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. Today she directs the newly formed Park Programs team, which focuses on sharing the Presidio with the public through activities including art programs. One of those is the new Home Land Security exhibition at the Presidio’s Fort Winfield Scott.
Why 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 welcome and encourage people to explore their park — geographically, intellectually, and emotionally. The Presidio is a complex place with many layers and stories. Artists are innovative and talented storytellers. Together the combination has proven time and again that site-based art is a powerful way to enhance a visitor’s experience of the place. 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 and foster deeper connections to place.
How does the Presidio make these exhibitions happen?
We are very fortunate to have the support of many wonderful partner organizations, artists, and philanthropic supporters. The FOR-SITE Foundation has been a key partner in this endeavor — for the Trust as well as the National Park Service (NPS) and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC). In the Presidio, FOR-SITE organized Goldsworthy in the Presidio (ongoing), Presidio Habitats (2010-11), and Art About Place (2014-15) in partnership with the Trust. We also were pleased to partner with SFMOMA as part of its On the Go program in 2013, showcasing work by SECA Award-winner David Wilson. And we were honored to partner with UBS and have WOMEN: New Portraits by Annie Liebovitz presented in the Presidio last spring. Our very first exhibition was brought to the Presidio in partnership with the GGNPC, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and noted artist Jeannene M. Przyblyski as part of the 2008 Bay Area Now exhibition.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about art in the Presidio?
Yes: we really couldn’t have all the wonderful art in the Presidio without our amazing volunteer art docents, trail ambassadors, and interns. If you’d like to learn more and see the art for yourself, check out our Presidio events page and join a monthly guided Goldsworthy in the Presidio walk, drop in for a tour of Goldsworthy’s Tree Fall any weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or hear a short talk about Goldsworthy’s Earth Wall at noon every Saturday — these are all great ways to experience the knowledge and passion of our volunteers firsthand. We’re also recruiting our next class of docents; if you love art and are interested in supporting our efforts, contact us at [email protected] or 415.561.5332. Additionally, you can find out how to become an Art Guide for Home Land Security on FOR-SITE’s volunteer page.