What a long haul and transformation from a neglected, graffiti-tagged shell of a Conservatory to an award-winning jewel. We couldn’t have been more pleased when the Conservatory won Project of the Year Award 2009 for Historic Restorations (under $5 million). The award was granted to the SF Department of Public Works by the Northern California chapter of the American Public Works Association covering 11 counties. And that’s not all: the Conservatory and Friends group were subsequently awarded one of … Read More
We’re thrilled with our Menagerie in the Conservatory garden. When the Friends asked for “inventive delights” and “wonder, whimsy, and the stubbornly quirky and daring,” Wowhaus understood us. It was a joy to work with Scott + Ene during the process. Visitors always comment on the “fabulous,” “wonderfully odd,” “weird and groovy” sculptures, and the “elegant” design choices.
Sunnyside Menagerie is a collection of 23 fantastical bronze creatures designed by the artist team of Wowhaus. Commissioned by the SFAC’s Public… Read More
The Grand Re-Opening Day (December 5, 2009) was more wonderful that the Friends dared dream. Over 400 people showed up. We made that morning’s San Francisco Chronicle with a photo on the front page, the sun shone, bagpipes played, the mayor and dignitaries came, family and friends were there, the ribbon was cut, tours were given, the high-tea spread was bountiful, kids made souvenir buttons, and the community came together.
The Friends of Sunnyside Conservatory began with a few neighborhood residents, each discovering the Conservatory and having that Alice-in-Wonderland feeling of entering another world.
In 1999, with a notice in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association newsletter, Arnold Levine officially organized the group as the Friends. He and Stacy Garfinkel have served as Friends’ Co-Chairs since the group’s founding. Our advocacy + stewardship success could never have happened without a dedicated steering committee: Chester Harstough, Andrea O’Leary, Sally Ross, pro-bono landscape architect … Read More
The story of the restoration interweaves the Friends’ decade of advocacy, pilot programming, and inventive, can-do spirit with the Merralls’s original vision.
Friends had to build a coalition of many constituencies (including immediate neighbors, area residents, city employees, elected officials, the design team) and navigate the inevitable trying moments, delays, and bureaucracy that come along with a large public works project.
We had to educate ourselves about the design process–from the drafting of the conceptual design (drawn by Vera Gates), … Read More