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Chinatown San Francisco: Chinatown footbridge gains artistic future

Decades ago, a pedestrian bridge was built across Kearny Street to connect Portsmouth Square with the Chinese Culture Center inside what is now the Hilton San Francisco Financial District.
Via Chinese Cultural Center
Erected as a compromise for the 27-story hotel tower blocking sunlight to the square known by many as Chinatown’s living room, “the plainest bridge” was merely functional in purpose, said Mabel Teng, executive director of the Chinese Culture Foundation, that runs the center.

But the bridge’s utilitarian past will soon be joined by an colorful future, as the foundation and partners on Thursday afternoon unveiled and broke ground on a mini park and art installation fittingly named “Sunrise.”
Designed by competitively-selected artist Mik Gaspay, the layout features a mosaic of a sunrise around the flight of stairs to the center, as well as luminous native plants and benches intended to make the bridge a more inviting open space.
Teng told SFBay:
“We really look forward to bringing in sunshine and a piece of heaven to a very innovative community. It really looks like a shining golden pot and this community is one of the driving forces that makes San Francisco what it is – beautiful, diverse, full of energy.”
The idea for a mini park on the bridge took root a year ago, during the foundation’s management team retreat. As part of preparations for a different, temporary art project called “Sky Bridge” by artist Beili Liu to inform the public that Central Subway is coming to Chinatown, staff members spoke with community members.
Much of the feedback indicated a desire for a permanent transformation of the bridge, and the “Sky Bridge” – on display only for the month of August – showed that public art there could be successful, Teng said.
The pedestrian bridge in Chinatown is the only one in San Francisco to receive an........