San Francisco to Unveil Public Art Celebrating Relationship with Israeli City

One of the "Point Of View" towers  (Courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commission)

San Francisco officials will unveil a new public art installation Thursday morning that celebrates the city’s sister relationship with Haifa, the third largest city in Israel.

The ceremony is scheduled for 11am on Pier 27, where the artwork will be revealed. The work celebrates a sister-city relationship that began in 1973, and expected attendees include San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell and several officials from Haifa.

The work, titled "Point of View," consists of two lighthouse-like structures, one installed along the waterfront in each city. The statues have periscopes that connect to cameras in the other structures, allowing users to see the other city thousands of miles away.

"In addition to the values of compassion and inclusion that we share, San Francisco and Haifa are now connected by this remarkable work of art that allows visitors to travel through space and experience the views for which each city is known," Farrell said.

One half of "Point Of View" being installed in San Francisco.
One half of "Point Of View" being installed in San Francisco. (Courtesy of the San Francisco Arts Commission)

The installation is dedicated to the memory of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who died unexpectedly late last year. He championed the sister city relationship, believing it "would foster greater knowledge of and understanding between our two communities," according to Kate Patterson, director of communications for the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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The unveiling ceremony comes at a time of renewed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. An estimated 121 Palestinians have been killed since March 30, according to Al Jazeera. On Wednesday, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups announced they would agree to a ceasefire with Israel.

City officials say the project is trying to bring communities together.

"We hope the public will understand that this is a project between two great cities that share many things in common in terms of shared progressive values, topography and embrace of cultural and racial diversity," Patterson said.

Israeli "experience designer" Saron Paz conceived "Point Of View," and Bay Area artist Matthew Passmore designed it. Passmore has installed several works in San Francisco, including a gigantic, interactive play structure in Hunters Point and a pocket park on Burrows St. in the Portola Neighborhood.

"Point Of View" is a temporary structure, with a teardown date of May 31, 2019.

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