The New City Lights


The New City Lights

Joanne Furio | Photo: Andrea Fawcett of Studio Grawunder | February 12, 2013

A series of public sculptures takes on the gentrification of mid-Market.


Mexican-born, San Francisco-based artist Ana Teresa Fernandez likes to ask uncomfortable questions: How do we measure a woman's worth? Why do we build walls between nations? She recently turned her interrogative eye on the fast-developing mid-Market neighborhood.

The notion was sparked last year as she walked by homeless men amid flocks of startup hopefuls and saw Square's offices around the corner from a 20-year-old pub. Struck by the juxtapositions, she wondered, "Who should go and who should stay? What now?"

These musings formed the basis of Fernandez's most recent project, "5W," funded by the nonprofit Intersection for the Arts. Created in collaboration with lighting and furniture designer Johanna Grawunder, the exhibit comprises five illuminated sculptures that will be installed throughout mid-Market over the next year. Each piece asks one of the "five Ws" of journalism—who, what, when, where, why—in a commentary on the neighborhood's rapid gentrification.

The first sculpture, Who, goes up this month in Mint Plaza (Mint St., Near 5th St.). Nearby, on the Mary Street side of the Chronicle building, "5W" chalkboards have already been installed to serve as an interactive sounding board for the public.