The Peace Keeper
House paint, spray paint, plexiglass, reclaimed wood,
recycled vinyl, succulents, olive tree, lights
20 x 6 x 6 ft.
The Peace Keeper was our first installation (2011), designed and built by Erik Otto. It laid the groundwork for our understanding of the process as well as provided proof of concept for the Parklet Gallery. Having worked with Otto for many years, we knew he would kick off the project with clarity and creativity, establishing the bar for future parklet artists.
The parklet is made from recycled materials found at the San Francisco Dump AKA Recology, where Otto completed the artist-in-residence program in 2010. The piece was constructed in five parts at Otto's Mission art studio, then transported to Fabric8 and affixed on top of a steel frame.
There are a number of safety and functional mandates the San Francisco Pavement to Parks program has set for parklets, so the collaborative process is between the artist, the gallery, and the defined parameters. Also implicit is the collaboration with neighbors and people who will use the park. The Parklet Gallery has been a wonderful opportunity to contribute a vision to the City's encouragement of privately-funded community space.
Following is the evolution of the parklet, illustrated in sketches by Erik Otto. Otto's house is a motif in his body of work, particularly prevalent in large-scale installations he has built in San Francisco, Washington DC, and Beacon NY. For The Peace Keeper, he integrated this motif with his initial inspiration: Dolores Park.
After a number of brainstorming sessions, we settled on the major elements of the design and the idea of beanbags made from recycled materials. We also decided to open up the installation to viewing to and from the street.
We then decided to further lower the "hillside" to maximize viewing and visibility, and added permanant seating to the planter structure. We considered a bird sanctuary concept but realized it would be unlikely on bustling 22nd Street. We settled on a lighthouse.
Installation of the hillside, house, planters, and seating was completed Labor Day Weekend 2011. Once the planters were in, neighbors donated succulents, plants, and an olive tree from their gardens. Additional neighbors and gallery patrons provided monetary donations that assisted in the completion of the project.
The Peace Keeper was installed in Grass Valley, California at the completion of its 12-month exhibition.