"My Park Moment" Brings the Great Outdoors to Our Doorstep
By SF/Arts Editors
If we can’t make it to the mountain, the mountain can always come to us. “My Park Moment” is a new exhibit of stunning images of the great outdoors opened September 1st in various locations in San Francisco's Presidio.
The aim of "Partnership for the Presidio" (comprising the Presidio Trust the National Park Service with support from the nonprofit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy) is to bring national park experiences — and the many benefits they offer — to folks in urban areas. In collaboration with New York-based Photoville, whose mission is to amplify visual storytellers and connect them to diverse audiences through free photo festivals in public spaces, the Partnership's “My Park Moment” celebrates people from all backgrounds loving their parks.
The outdoor show will be up for one year as part of the spring 2022 opening of the new Presidio Tunnel Tops, a project realized as the Doyle Drive highway was reconstructed into tunnels, with a view to reconnecting the park by creating new land over those tunnel tops. James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind New York’s “High Line,” was selected as the partner to design 14 acres of new parkland with trails, scenic overlook, picnic sites, and an interactive playspace. The nice thing about the timing of the "My Park Moment" photo show is that it activates the park now as we previewing the experiences that Tunnel Tops will offer next year.
The timing couldn’t be better to celebrate the open spaces that have nourished and sustained us through times of pandemic-induced lockdown, and to enjoy a selection of diverse and creative photographic narratives.
“Photography is a universal language that allows everyone to tell their own story. The opportunity for these stories to be displayed publicly is priceless,” says Laura Roumanos, executive director and co-founder of Photoville. “We’re thrilled that this show represents such diversity of gender, class, and race in one of the country’s most beautiful national park settings.”
Yuxing Liu’s black-and-white images capture everyday life in Alamo Square Park.
In the category of “Visual Story Award," participants submitted a collection of 8-10 images, and winners were awarded a cash honorarium. The winners are from the San Francisco Bay Area and their stories portray the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and political events of the past year. Yuxing Liu’s black-and-white images “capture fragments of American life and the magical power of the park” for everyday people in San Francisco’s Alamo Square Park. Sheilby Macena’s black-and-white photos depict “resilience, joy, movement, and the divinity of Oakland” at Lake Merritt Park. Francess Santos’s images show her two young boys enjoying nature outdoors in the Presidio. Marissa Leshnov photographed the Oakland OMies, a community of Black women who promote wellness, mindfulness, and healing through yoga. She says, “The parks continue to be a place of refuge, where one’s sense of community and sense of wonder may find renewal.”
Sheilby Macena’s black-and-white photos depict “resilience, joy, movement, and the divinity of Oakland” at Lake Merritt Park. Macena says her work is inspired by the 1940s documentary photojournalist, Gordon Parks.
A distinguished committee of photographers, artists, and community leaders chose the over 400 featured shots from 7,000 photo submissions from amateur and professional photographers from around the country.
The photos are displayed at four sites on the Main Post and Crissy Field, surrounding the future Presidio Tunnel Tops site: The Main Parade Ground at Anza Street; Sports Basement; 1180 Old Mason Street, and the Presidio YMCA.
An Exhibition Guide, Route Map, and the Virtual Exhibition listing all photographers is available at presidiotunneltops.org