The Sculpture Garden at Recology San Francisco is, to our knowledge, the only existing park of its kind at a garbage company. This private, three-acre facility contains more than thirty-five sculptures made by former artists-in-residence, with new pieces added each year. All tours of the company include a visit to the garden. Please see the tour information below for details.
In 1992 under the direction and design of Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Recology San Francisco built the sculpture garden on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. The land functions as a buffer between the transfer station and the adjacent residential neighborhood known as Little Hollywood, and was previously a field of ivy and ice plant. In 1994, the garden was dedicated to the memory of Joseph Johnson, former director of the Solid Waste Management Program of the City & County of San Francisco. Joe was also an artist and an important advocate for the formation of the Artist in Residence Program.
The garden path is made from ground concrete salvaged from the Embarcadero Freeway when it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Bricks that line the path came from a building on Mission Street, and many of the plants in the garden were rescued from the garbage and brought back to life using Recology compost.
Art in the Garden
The garden contains more than thirty-five sculptures, some of which are represented below.
Wild Apples for Jo
An experiment in biodiversity, Wild Apples for Jo is a bed of apple trees grown from seed. The garden installation is dedicated to the memory of Artist in Residence Program founder Jo Hanson and created by Susan Leibovitz Steinman. The installation includes five trees growing in a star shape, mimicking seeds inside an apple. The trees were planted in large oval troughs filled with rose quartz and native grasses, surrounded by five antique French doors rescued from a South San Francisco hotel. Wild Apples for Jo was inspired by Sweet Survival-Urban Apple Orchard II at the Sonoma County Museum in 2006-2008. The original Urban Apple Orchard I was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission in 1994-1995 and sited on Market Street. It was located just a few blocks from Jo's house, and was a favorite destination for her. This is our memorial to Jo Hanson--to her life, her work, and her spirit.
Program tours occur on the third Saturday and fourth Wednesday of each month. Both tours include an overview of the company and recycling operations in San Francisco and a visit to the art studio and sculpture garden.
The third Saturday tour is geared toward adults interested in the Artist in Residence Program, especially those who intend on applying for an artist residency. This tour does not include a visit to Recycle Central at Pier 96.
The focus of the fourth Wednesday tour is on recycling and includes a visit to Recycle Central at Pier 96.
These tours are held at industrial recycling sites and present challenging conditions.
- Tours are physically strenuous and include up to three long flights of stairs and walking on uneven surfaces and hills.
- Certain areas of the facility may be extremely slippery.
- Tours involve loud noises, strong smells and dust. People sensitive to loud noises, smells and dust may want to refrain from attending.
- Attendees must wear closed-toe, comfortable walking shoes (no sandals).
- For safety reasons, tours are not appropriate for children under nine years of age.
- Tours are not held if it is raining.
- Tours take approximately two hours to complete; visitors must be able to complete the entire tour.
To make a reservation, please call (415) 330-9943.
Field trips for the San Francisco Unified School District are scheduled through the San Francisco Department of the Environment at (415) 355-3700.