San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Just Got Brand-New Bronze and Steel Statues

Published Nov 2023

The newest installation is in honor of the Golden Mile Project’s one-year anniversary beautifying the pedestrian-friendly corridor.

Golden Gate Park is one of the 100 largest city parks in the United States; it’s even more than 300 acres larger than NYC’s Central Park. However, for such a large swath of public greenery, the area is latticed with roads that bisect and distract from the park’s outright wilderness so many of us seek out. But during the COVID-19 pandemic — a time when our collective isolation, quite literally, forced us to reacquaint ourselves with Mother Nature — San Francisco’s network of car-free corridors existed as a balm for our mental health.

Though the erected 24 car-free roads included in the city’s Slow Streets Program have since dwindled, many remain… with a few of them now permanent fixtures in SF. Car Free JFK Drive, also known in some circles as the “JFK Promenade,” is one such evergreen, pedestrian-friendly touchstone.

And over the past year, the Golden Mile Project — a public art venture physically supported by the non-profit Illuminate; it’s the organization behind this past summer’s litany of LED installations around SF, which included the miles-long Rainbow Lasers piece that ran down Market Street — has continued breathing creative air onto the otherwise drab, mundane asphalt. (Remember the huge whale sculpture?) Well now, they’ve partnered with internationally renowned artists Gillie and Marc to bring the pair’s beloved bronze and steel statues to Golden Gate Park.

“In honor of the [one-year] anniversary of the [Golden Mile Project], we are thrilled to announce the newest installation, all the way from Australia!” reads a post on X from the aforenoted nonprofit. “Come out to the Golden Mile this weekend to give Rabbitwoman and Dogma a warm welcome!”

The four statues, which are currently positioned on the promenade near Nancy Pelosi Drive, contain a multitude of meanings. Referred to as Rabbitwoman and Dogman, the two mingling characters symbolize a “fusion” of realities and states of being, highlighting the beauty of diversity and the power of connection. (This is especially evident with two of the four statues riding reflective objects — a shockingly realistic, albeit mirrorball-like whale and an equally glass-like inflatable pool toy.)

It’s unclear if these are either permanent fixtures or more temporary installations, but the sheer fact that they can exist on JFK Drive for passersby to enjoy is reason enough why we should embrace car-free corridors in an increasingly urban world.