Coit Tower News - October 2013

 

  COIT TOWER NEWS – October 2013

CITY TO CONSIDER NEW COIT TOWER MANAGEMENT PLAN

Two years after issuing a request for proposals to replace the concession company that has run the gift shop and elevator concession at Coit Tower, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has announced that it has a new plan and intends to move it forward soon. 

At a community meeting in North Beach on October 30, representatives from the Recreation and Park Department discussed the details of the draft 5 year lease they have negotiated with Terry Grimm, the owner of Coit Tower, LLC, for the management of the Coit Tower gift shop, elevator, a new Coit Tower mural education and tour program, and a new outside food and drink cart in the area behind Coit Tower.  In recognition of the strong public opposition to the original proposal by the city to begin closing off Coit Tower for private parties and events, the proposed lease drops that plan and prohibits any such events from being held within Coit Tower that would exclude the public. This is great news.

Read the draft lease at http://www.protectcoittower.org/proposed_new_coit_tower_lease

Members of the public are invited and encourage to provide feedback on and suggested revisions to the proposed lease agreement at two upcoming public meetings of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission:  Thursday, November 7 at 10:00 am in SF City Hall, Room 416 and Thursday, November 21 at 2:00 pm in SF City Hall, Room 416.

 

NEW DAY FOR COIT TOWER – RENOVATIONS & REPAIRS TO BEGIN

Beginning on Monday, November 18, the city is scheduled to begin a series of major repairs and renovations of the Coit Tower exterior, interior, and a restoration of the damaged historic murals.  The anticipated schedule of the project is mid-November through mid-April, 2014.  The city plans to close Coit Tower to the public for most of that time to expedite the repairs.

Read more in the Oct. 17 front page story in the SF Chronicle, “Coit Tower To Shut For Repairs – High Time, Critics Say,” by clicking here.

 

TERRIFIC COIT TOWER 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION & ART SHOW

On October 8, 2013, dozens of San Franciscans gathered together atop Telegraph Hill with relatives of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and families of some of the original Coit Tower muralists together to celebrate the 80th. birthday of the one and only Coit Tower.  They spoke, laughed, sang “Happy Birthday Coit Tower,” and unveiled a huge Coit Tower birthday cake custom-made for the event by Victoria Pastry in North Beach.

That afternoon and evening, several hundred people enjoyed a one-day-only Coit Tower art show at Live Worms Gallery in North Beach that featured fabulous art by Coit Tower muralists Otis Oldfield, Ralph Chesse, Victor Arnautoff, and Bernard Zakheim along with Coit Tower inspired art by talented San Francisco artists working today, including Paul Madonna, Dennis Hearne, Daniel Macchiarini, John Mattos, Richard Zimmerman, and Mel Solomon.  The show was co-sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, the National New Deal Preservation Association, Living New Deal, and the North Beach Business Association.

A huge Coit Tower thank you goes to artists Julie Jaycox and Jennifer Morningstar for co-curating the art show event and for Richard Zimmerman for providing invaluable support.  A big thank you also goes to Angelo Figone for his contribution to help rent the gallery space and to Paul Madonna for his donation of art for the Coit Tower Party & Art Show poster and to John Mattos for his incredible poster design.

For a taste of the events, watch the NBC News story “Happy 80th Birthday to Coit Tower” by clicking here.

Here's to many more Happy Birthdays for Coit Tower in the years to come!

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Coit Tower Community Meeting - Oct. 30th 6-8pm

 

YOU ARE INVITED AND ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN

 

A COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF COIT TOWER

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

 

Joe DiMaggio Playground Clubhouse

651 Lombard Street in North Beach

San Francisco

Two years after issuing a request for proposals to replace the concession company that has run the gift shop and elevator concession at Coit Tower, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has announced that it has a new plan and is finally ready to move forward.  That’s great news.  However, they have so far refused all public requests to share any details of that plan with the community, including whether they intend to begin renting out Coit Tower for private parties and corporate events despite San Francisco voters passing a ballot measure last year rejecting that plan.

Please attend the community meeting this Wednesday, October 30 about the future of Coit Tower.  We will hear from the Recreation and Park Department about their plans and provide public input.

Coit Tower is a special place that for too long has not been treated that way.  Please come this Wednesday and help protect and celebrate the unique part of San Francisco that is Coit Tower.

For more information email protectcoittower@gmail.com

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SF Chronicle: Major Coit Tower Repairs To Begin

Coit Tower Closing Doors For Makeover

October 17, 2013

For the next five months, the outdoor lights will be on at Coit Tower, but there won't be anyone home.

The San Francisco landmark, a fixture of the city's skyline for 80 years, is expected to close its doors in the middle of next month for a $1.1 million rehabilitation project designed to deal with a lengthy list of problems a 2012 study found with the aging Telegraph Hill structure.

On Thursday, the city's Recreation and Park Commission is expected to approve a contract with Anvil Builders to do the work on the tower. The building is expected to reopen in mid-April.

"We've been moving toward this for the past year and a half," said Sarah Ballard, a spokeswoman for the Recreation and Park Department, which is responsible for Coit Tower. "People have been aware it's coming."

There really isn't an alternative to the closure, said Jon Golinger, chair of Protect Coit Tower, a group that has often been at odds with the parks department over what critics say has been its neglect of the landmark.

"It's a shame that the building will be off limits to thousands of people who want to visit," he said. "But serious problems need serious fixes and time to do the job right."

Golinger and his group were behind Proposition B, a successful June 2012 non-binding measure that called on the city to limit commercial use and private events at Coit Tower and dedicate the more than $600,000 in payments it receives each year from the gift shop and elevator rides for upkeep and renovation of the tower and the historic Depression-era murals that cover the walls.

Unquestionably needed

While parks department officials opposed the ballot measure, arguing that the profits from Coit Tower were needed to help pay for parks and recreational activities elsewhere in the city, there was no disagreement that the murals and the tower in Pioneer Park needed plenty of work. Last year's city budget put aside $1.5 million for the rehabilitation work, Ballard said.

A 2012 assessment of the building by an outside consultant found water damage in and around the murals, lead-based paint flaking from the ceilings, severe insect problems, asbestos insulation that needed to be dealt with, cracks in the building and a variety of other problems, many of them the products of age and long-delayed maintenance.

Fred Lo, the longtime concessionaire at Coit Tower, said Wednesday that while there aren't many serious problems visible, there are things that have to be done.

Jammed with visitors

"There are some cracks and flaking paint," he said as he handled a steady stream of visitors to the jam-packed gift store, most of them looking to buy $7 tickets to visit the observation deck at the top of the 210-foot-tall tower. "The bathrooms have to be fixed; they're just old."

The winter is probably the best time to close Coit Tower, said Lo, who has worked there for 21 years.

"The past couple of weeks it's been getting slower," he said. "It's slowest in January and February, when the weather's not so good."

Lo still isn't sure what's coming for himself and his handful of employees, who operate the elevator, sell drinks and candy, and run the gift shop. While the city is looking for a new concessionaire, no one has been selected.

While the parks department contract doesn't include work on the murals, the city Arts Commission, which is responsible for the artwork, will use the closure to do its own work.

"We're going to start restoration in the spring," said Allison Cummings, the city's senior registrar for its artwork.

The work, which will be paid for with $250,000 from the parks department, will include repairing water damage along the top of the murals, fixing the various scratches and abrasions that have accumulated, and restoring the stucco around the historic art.

"If you have a beautiful painting in a really damaged frame, you're not going to notice how spectacular the artwork is," Cummings said.

Since the art restoration will have to be coordinated with the work on the inside of the tower, it could cause some delays, said Ballard.

"There's a possibility the restoration work will continue even after the tower is reopened," she said.

Risk of delays

The timing of the work continues to be a concern. A recent roofing project on the second floor of the tower, for example, was expected to take two months but actually took six months to complete, as more problems were discovered.

"Anytime you open up a building that's as old as this, that's always a risk," Ballard said. "We hope everything goes smoothly, but we have money put aside in case something unforeseen comes up."

A shutdown was the last thing visitors were thinking about Wednesday in the bright morning sunshine on Telegraph Hill. The observation deck provided a stunning, 360-degree view of the city and the bay, from North Beach and the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Berkeley hills.

"I've been to San Francisco before, but this is my first time at Coit Tower," said Jane London, who was visiting with her family from Portland, Ore. "There's just nothing like it."

The parks department will schedule a neighborhood meeting about the proposed closure, most likely near the end of the month, Ballard said. The closure will affect only Coit Tower and not the surrounding park.

John Wildermuth is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jwildermuth@sfchronicle.com

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Coit-Tower-shuts-for-repairs-high-time-critics-4902018.php

 

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September 2013 Coit Tower News

 
  COIT TOWER NEWS – September 2013
 
PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE COIT TOWER 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION & ART SHOW ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8TH 

This October 8, San Franciscans will gather together to celebrate the Coit Tower spirit and Lillie’s generosity.  There will be a “Happy 80th Birthday Coit Tower” gathering in the morning at Coit Tower with relatives of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, sons and daughters of some of the original Coit Tower artists, representatives from the San Francisco Arts Commission, and a giant Coit Tower 80th birthday cake.  In the evening there will be a Coit Tower Birthday Party & Art Show at the Live Worms Gallery in North Beach. 

 

The art show will feature rarely-seen artwork from some of the original Coit Tower muralists including Otis Oldfield, Ralph Chesse, and Bernard Zakheim and Coit Tower inspired-art by talented working San Francisco artists such as “All Over Coffee” creator Paul Madonna, North Beach sculptor Daniel Macchiarini, photographers Dennis Hearne, Julie Jaycox, Richard Zimmerman, graphic artist John Mattos, and more.

 

On O

WHEN & WHERE:              Tuesday, October 8, 2013
 
 
10 AM:  “Happy 80th Birthday Coit Tower” News Conference
 
in front of Coit Tower
 
 
                        6PM – 9PM:  Coit Tower Birthday Party & Art Show
 
at Live Worms Gallery, 1345 Grant Avenue, San Francisco
 
                      * free and open to the public *
 
 
 
COIT TOWER 80th Birthday Event & Art Show Co-Sponsored By:
 
Protect Coit Tower * San Francisco Arts Commission * North Beach Business Association
 
National New Deal Preservation Association * Telegraph Hill Dwellers * Living New Deal

 

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Coit Tower 80th Birthday Party & Art Show

 
COIT TOWER 80th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION & ART SHOW TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8
 
 
WHAT:          On October 8, 1933, San Franciscans gathered together atop Telegraph Hill to celebrate the creation of a beautiful new addition to the city landscape that would transform it forever.  It was on that day that the Coit Tower, designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., was officially completed and dedicated, a simple fluted tower rising high into the sky.  Thanks to the fabulous generosity of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who so generously left a third of her estate “to beautify the city I have always loved,” Coit Tower became and has remained a symbol of San Francisco’s creative spirit and artistic independence from that day in 1933 until today.

 
This October 8, San Franciscans will once again gather together to celebrate the Coit Tower spirit and Lillie’s generosity.  There will be a “Happy 80th Birthday Coit Tower” gathering in the morning at Coit Tower with relatives of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and some of the original Coit Tower artists blowing out the candles on a giant Coit Tower birthday cake.  In the evening there will be an 80th Birthday Party & Art Show at the Live Worms Gallery in North Beach.  The art show will feature rarely-seen artwork from some of the original Coit Tower muralists and new Coit Tower inspired-art by talented working San Francisco artists such as “All Over Coffee” creator Paul Madonna, sculptor Daniel Macchiarini, photographer Dennis Hearne, and graphic artist John Mattos.
 
 
WHO:             Descendants of Lillie Hitchcock Coit
 
                        Sons and daughters of the original Coit Tower muralists
 
                        J.D. Beltran, President, San Francisco Arts Commission
 
                        Tom DeCaigny, Executive Director, San Francisco Arts Commission
 
 
 
WHEN & WHERE:              Tuesday, October 8, 2013
 
 
10 AM:  “Happy 80th Birthday Coit Tower” News Conference
 
in front of Coit Tower
 
 
 
                        6PM – 9PM:  Coit Tower Birthday Party & Art Show
 
at Live Worms Gallery, 1345 Grant Avenue, San Francisco

 

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August 2013 Coit Tower News

 
COIT TOWER NEWS – August 2013
 
 
SF FIREFIGHTERS HONOR FIREBELLE LIL’ ON HER BIRTHDAY
 
On August 22nd, fans of Lillie Hitchcock Coit gathered together at the headquarters of the SF Fire Department in front of the original Knickerbocker No. 5 fire engine to commemorate the 170th birthday of this special San Francisco woman the following day. 
 
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White cut the “Happy Birthday Lillie” cake and spoke about the deep connection between San Francisco firefighters and the woman known as ‘Firebelle Lil’ who, at the age of eight, was rescued from a burning building by a volunteer member of fire company Knickerbocker No. 5.  Forever after, Lillie cheered on and supported her favorite firefighters at every opportunity.  At the age of 15 she famously dropped her schoolbooks and began pulling a fire engine up Telegraph Hill when she saw firefighters struggling to make it.  She became an honorary member of the Knickerbocker No. 5 company, wearing the company’s helmet with a front piece that included her initials and a gold badge featuring the Number 5.
 
On behalf of the Coit family, a “Happy Birthday Lillie” message from Susie Coit Williams was read at the party.  Thanks to the Guardians of the City for showcasing and safeguarding some of the special Lillie items and to Ken Maley for organizing a very nice event worthy of a very special San Franciscan.  See party photographs by clicking here:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.485092764914580.1073741826.185407144883145&type=1
 
COIT TOWER 80TH BIRTHDAY PARTY & ART SHOW – TUESDAY, OCT. 8TH
Speaking of birthday parties . . . the planning for the Coit Tower 80th Birthday Party & Art Show on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 is well underway!  Co-sponsors of the party and one-day art show at Live Worms Gallery at 1345 Grant Avenue now include the San Francisco Arts Commission, the North Beach Business Association, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, The National New Deal Preservation Association, the Living New Deal, and Protect Coit Tower.  We are looking for volunteers to help staff the art gallery during the day on October 8th and to help with the party in the evening.  We are also looking for donations of drinks, snacks, and party supplies.  If you would like to make a donation or volunteer some time to help make this a great event, please email ProtectCoitTower@gmail.com
 
 
 
 
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July 2013 Coit Tower News

 

PCTLogo.jpg 

 

  COIT TOWER NEWS – July 2013

 

SAVE THE DATE:  COIT TOWER 80TH BIRTHDAY PARTY & ART SHOW – TUESDAY, OCT. 8TH

On October 8, 1933, San Franciscans gathered together atop Telegraph Hill to celebrate the creation of a beautiful new addition to the city landscape that would transform it forever.  It was on that day that the Coit Tower, designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., was officially completed and dedicated, its 210 feet rising high into the sky.  Thanks to the generosity of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who so generously left a third of her estate “to beautify the city I have always loved,” Coit Tower has remained a symbol of San Francisco’s creative spirit and artistic independence from that day until this one.

This October 8th, San Franciscans will once again gather to celebrate the Coit Tower spirit with an 80th Birthday Party & Art Show at the Live Worms Gallery on Grant Avenue in North Beach.  The event will feature rarely-seen artwork from some of the original Coit Tower muralists and Coit Tower inspired-art by today’s working San Francisco artists.

October 8 – Save the Date!  And if you’d like to volunteer to help make this a great event or contribute funds or other support, please contact us at ProtectCoitTower@gmail.com

 

KQED NEW DEAL MURALS OF SAN FRANCISCO SPECIAL EVENT

Join KQED and local historians for a free special event on Wednesday, July 31st at 12:00 noon at Rincon Center Annex to explore the New Deal Murals of San Francisco and learn all about KQED's new “Let's Get Lost” mobile app.  The KQED “Let’s Get Lost” program celebrates cultural, historical and natural sites in the Bay Area and brings history to life with archival film footage, photographs, interviews with the artists, music and games.

Find out more and RSVP by clicking here: http://blogs.kqed.org/pressroom/2013/07/26/lets-get-lost/

 

 

 

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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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SF Chronicle: Coit Tower Renovations Progressing Slowly

June 9, 2013

by Neal Riley

San Franciscans approved a measure last year intended to protect the Depression-era murals inside Coit Tower that have been showing their age.

So has it helped?

That depends on who you ask.

Even before voters even approved the ballot measure, a $1.7 million renovation project was launched to fix up the tower and restore the murals. That effort is showing some results, despite some delays. The leaky roof was replaced in April — a delay of five months because of weather — and seven months of construction to repair building cracks and renovate the lobby and bathrooms will begin in October.

“We feel really good about the progress we’re making,” said Kate Patterson, spokeswoman for the Arts Commission, which oversees the murals.

The ballot measure, which is non-binding, called for strict limits on private events in the tower and prioritizing money generated inside the building for repairs and the beautification of Pioneer Park around the building.

Just before voters went to the polls, a report that found that the strain of 150,000 annual visitors in the nearly 80-year-old building was leading to water damage, peeling ceilings and cracked concrete and threatening the historic art. Several murals have been chipped, scratched and marked with water spots.

“The frescoed interior is the achievement of some of the most gifted local artists during the era of its construction, 1933-34,” the report from Architectural Resources Group stated, adding that preserving the artworks is a “serious responsibility and a challenge” for the city. “The success or failure of this obligation is highly visible to both native San Franciscans and travelers from all over the world.”

Despite the progress, some of the harshest critics of the Recreation and Park Department and the Arts Commission say the murals need more urgent attention.

Protect Coit Tower Chairman Jon Golinger, leader of the group behind the ballot measure, said that there aren’t enough signs or staff supervision to warn people not to wear backpacks inside the cramped space or touch the artwork. He also noted that in some cases, murals are separated from the public only by a rope and not a metal railing.

“Most people don’t understand the art, they don’t realize it’s like a museum,” he said. “At some level a lot has changed, at some level very little has changed.”

Still, Golinger and others in his group are quick to praise the city for the new preservation work.

“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 statement. “I urge the city to move forward full speed ahead with the Coit Tower mural preservation work and building renovations without any more delays.”

But Patterson says the murals are not at risk thanks to the roof repairs and that restoration can’t begin until construction in the rest of the building is complete. She said the Arts Commission will be looking for a firm to rehabilitate the murals in the coming months, and restoring artwork is a “painstakingly slow process.”

“The safest thing for the murals is to not let anyone see or touch them ever again, but that’s not going to happen,” said Patterson, who added that two large signs should be installed before July to remind visitors not to touch the walls and wear backpacks on the front of their body. “They’re a national treasure and we want people to enjoy them.”

Though there haven’t been any private events in the tower since the ballot measure passed, that could change.

Rec and Park upset the backers of the proposition by exploring a contract last summer with a potential vendor for the tower that would have allowed one private event per month. Rec and Park officials have said that private events generate more than $2 million in desperately needed revenue a year for park programs.

Rec and Park spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said the department hopes to have a new vendor in place later this year, by 2013, and the future of private events at the tower has not been determined.

Read more at:  http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2013/06/09/coit-tower-making-headway-on-renovations/

 

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One-Year After Passage of Coit Tower Measure, Improvements Made But Murals Still at Risk

 
For Immediate Release:   Wednesday, June 5, 2013                                                                                         
 
News Release

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

Daughter of original Coit Tower artist praises progress but says “so much more needs to be done”

One year after San Francisco voters approved an historic ballot measure aimed at protecting Coit Tower and its damaged New Deal-era murals from years of neglect and decay, Coit Tower supporters are praising 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, who painted a 12 year-old Ruth in his Coit Tower fresco in 1934.  “Now, so much more needs to be done.  I urge the City to move forward full speed ahead with the Coit Tower mural preservation work and building renovations without any more delays.  Coit Tower and its historic murals are far too valuable to let them remain unprotected for one more day than necessary.”

On June 5, 2012, San Francisco voters approved Proposition B, which established 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.  Prop. B was sponsored by a citizens coalition in response to concerns about increased commercialization of Coit Tower and the neglect, decay, and lax oversight by the city that led to a long list of problems at the Tower, including lead paint peeling from the ceiling, poor lighting, water leaks seeping in and corroding the murals, and gashes damaging the fragile New Deal-era frescoes. 
 
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, Chairman 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.”
 
# # #
 
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