June 2013 Coit Tower News

 

  COIT TOWER NEWS – June 2013

 
ONE YEAR AFTER SF VOTERS APPROVED COIT TOWER PRESERVATION BALLOT INITIATIVE, ICONIC TOWER UNDERGOING MAJOR RESTORATION WORK BUT HISTORIC NEW DEAL MURALS STILL AT RISK
 
One June 5, 2013, one year after San Francisco voters approved the historic ballot measure aimed at protecting Coit Tower and its damaged New Deal-era murals from years of neglect and decay, Coit Tower supporters praised the attention being given to repairing the damaged building and preserving the art inside.  At the same time, families of the Coit Tower mural artists and other backers of the measure approved by San Francisco voters urged the City to move forward “full-speed ahead” with dozens of repairs and other measures identified in an independent report as urgent and necessary to preserve the 80-year old building and historic art, but which have so far been delayed or ignored.
 
“I thank San Francisco voters for the fact that, for the first time in its 80-year history, Coit Tower has finally begun to get the attention and resources it so badly needs and deserves,” said Ruth Gottstein, the daughter of Coit Tower artist Bernard Zakheim, in a Sunday San Francisco Chronicle story about the one-year anniversary of the passage of Prop. B and the Coit Tower renovations.  “I urge the City to move forward full speed ahead with the Coit Tower mural preservation work and building renovations without any more delays.”
 
On June 5, 2012, San Francisco voters approved Proposition B, establishing a new official “Coit Tower Preservation Policy” that directs city officials to strictly limit commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower and to prioritize the over $800,000 in city revenue generated by Coit Tower every year for preserving the murals, fixing the Tower, and beautifying Pioneer Park around Coit Tower.   In the year since the passage of the Coit Tower measure, Coit Tower has undergone an extensive emergency roof repair project that entirely replaced the leaky second-floor roof which was responsible for water damage to many of the murals for decades.  Last fall, the San Francisco Arts Commission released a detailed series of “Guidelines for Coit Tower Usage” designed to protect the murals inside from unnecessary damage by enacting rules aimed at treating the interior of Coit Tower more like a museum, with a ban on private candlelight parties or food and drinks in the mural areas, a requirement that visitors carry backpacks in front of their bodies, and a prohibition on using the mural rooms as storage for repair and maintenance equipment, as has been done in the past.  And the Recreation & Park Department has not proceeded with a proposed plan to begin closing down Coit Tower once a month for private parties, which would violate the voter-approved ballot measure.   
 
“San Francisco voters spoke loudly and clearly last year when they embraced Coit Tower as a symbol of our city’s creative spirit, artistic talent, and sheer beauty,” said Jon Golinger, Chair of Protect Coit Tower.  “Over the next year we will keep working to see that all of the protections are put in place to ensure that Coit Tower and its murals can continue to inspire people for decades to come.”
 
Read the June 9, 2013 San Francisco Chronicle story, “Coit Tower making headway on renovations,” by clicking here.
 
 
ARTS COMMISSION URGES COIT TOWER FANS TO BUY MURAL PRINTS
 
The San Francisco Arts Commission is encouraging fans of the Coit Tower murals to purchase a limited edition print of one of the murals, with some of the proceeds going towards maintaining the Coit Tower murals and other works in the city’s public art collection.  In a June 5th press release, “Help Save the Civic Art Collection, Buy a Coit Tower print,” the Arts Commission urged art lovers to consider buying a print from Electric Works in San Francisco, which currently has four Coit Tower mural prints on sale:  2 different views of Maxine Albro’s large “California Agriculture” mural, a triptych print of Jane Berlandina’s “Home Life,” and a print of Bernard Zakheim’s powerful “Library.”
 
You can view the Coit Tower mural prints on the Electric Works website by clicking here. 
 
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