February 2020

Below are all of the pictures of public art that I happened to take on my last solo trip to San Francisco, in February 2020.


Dozens of ambulances, all perfectly lined up, headed down the freeway towards the hospital.

My cousin and I had just finished cleaning up our Thanksgiving dinner, over which our relatives had lamented over all of the “propaganda.”

“That virus is not real,” they said. “It’s not even as bad as the flu.”

Now we were watching the reality unfold on the news.

Just a few days earlier, I had purchased my Christmas present to myself: four round solo bus trips to San Francisco.

Early February, as I sat on the bus, listening to a cough that I did not quite recognize from nursing school, I knew that I was hearing COVID-19 for the first time.

When I got sick, my family said, “The virus isn’t even in this country!” But then, a few months later, officials discovered that the virus had, in fact, been in San Francisco by January 2020, or perhaps even earlier.

I ended up having to cancel the other three bus trips, and didn’t return to visit the city again until late last year. Below are some of the pics from that last solo trip, in February 2020.

Circle of Friends, National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco

The National AIDS Memorial Grove is one of my favorite places to walk around in the Golden Gate Park area. The names in the circle are of people who were affected by AIDS, as well as donors to the Memorial Grove.

Circle of Friends, National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco
several multi-colored origami birds hanging from a tree

If I remember correctly, this tree was just behind the Circle of Friends. The cranes were made from several different patterns of rainbow origami paper, dipped in beeswax (to protect from rain), and then hung by paperclips.

The cranes are probably no longer there, since they were just a temporary art installation. They are not an “official” feature of the grove.

a tree full of origami cranes
fountain and memorial stone, National AIDS Memorial Grove
fern furl, National AIDS Memorial

The next two pictures were taken at Japan Center Malls.

Zen Garden under stair bridge
life size figure wearing a kimono

I wish I had more information on the figure in the kimono. As you can see from my picture, there was no informational sign.

I loved the Zen Garden under the stairs, and thought it was pretty cool how the stairs were designed to look like a bridge over the garden.

The next picture is of some graffiti on a rainbow lip mural near Calle 24 Latino Cultural District:

And, finally, the Conservatory of Flowers, one of my favorite places in the whole entire world:

It was actually free museum that day, so, technically, the pictures that I took inside of the Conservatory (and De Young) were also free– but, to adhere to the rules of this challenge (free public art only), I will save them for a later time.

Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco

Written for PPAC (Photographing Public Art Challenge) #59: A Quick Trip to San Francisco #ppac

7 Comments Add yours

  1. brittabenson says:

    I love the pictures of the rainbow origami birds in the tree. Magical! I also remember ‘hearing’ Covid for the first time, and all the nonsense about the disease not being real, while people around us were dying. Those early months of 2020 were eerie. People didn’t want to see what was going on. It almost felt like some were so determined to ignore the virus, thinking, if they ignore it, it would go away. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how viruses work…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That entire memorial grove is kind of magical. πŸ™‚ You’re so right about 2020. A lot of people, including some of my own family members, refused to acknowledge the scientific reality of the virus. It was so disheartening knowing that we had the information to combat the virus and stop the spread– but a large percentage of people put politics/egos over science, and refused to wear masks, get vaccinated, social distance, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marsha says:

    I felt just as you expressed when it first started. Friends of ours thought they might have come down with it because he visited SF, and they were asked to quarantine even though there was no test yet. We had a Kiwanis event that night and I was so enraged that the government would tell them they had to stay home. Then about two weeks later, it was a huge thing on the news. Thank you for braving the coughs and taking these pictures and sharing them with us. I’m glad you survived your bout with it. I love the cranes, don’t you? I wonder if they decorate the trees with other public art from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be neat if they do decorate the trees from time to time, or if they move the cranes around πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen them anywhere else, but it seems like every time I go to SF, I find at least one ephemeral piece of artwork. That same year, there was a temporary light curtain in Ghirardelli Square, made up of maybe 100 strands of Christmas lights hanging straight down and bound into a curtain. When I went back to SF last year, I rushed back to Ghirardelli Square to see the curtain after sundown.. but it was gone! I hope they bring it back for the holidays or something. Either way, there’s never a shortage of amazing things to see in SF =D

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marsha says:

        I agree. I never went often when I lived in California. I don’t like driving there, and I always did coming from the Central Valley. But now that we live in AZ, it’s a stretch. I would love to go back just to spend a few days photographing. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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