Behind the Scenes: HeART This City San Francisco


by Jean Bartholomew

Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, SCA and American Eagle Outfitters are bringing love to urban greenspaces across the country with a series of major service events called “HeART this City.” Native plants will be planted, massive murals will be painted, and hundreds of volunteers will roll up their sleeves to #servetheplanet. Jean’s blog will give you a behind the scenes look at what it takes to organize and lead such an undertaking. Learn more about the project and how you can pitch in here.
Happy Spring from Golden Gate Park in the bustling metropolis San Francisco!
It is so exciting to be in this wonderful and happening city to kick-off the first project of the #HeARTthisCity Alternative Spring Break service event series with American Eagle Outfitters and SCA. We, the fearless leader team, are in full swing navigating hectic logistics and project preparation. And let me tell you, you can already see the transformation of the project space!
Our tasks this week have been the beautification of old shipping containers and the preparation of projects for our big event on Saturday here at Golden Gate Park. We’ve split up into teams to retrieve tools and supplies from our SCA office in Oakland and start to build the paneling for Chor Boogie, graffiti artist extraordinaire. With her vision and art installation know-how, Meghan Coleman, our official Art Collaboration Coordinator, has provided us with direction and insight into construction of the panels so that the SF Recreation and Parks Staff can still access the containers and the mural is solidly stable for years to come.
Preparing side 2 of the “canvas.”
Once we have a side of paneling up, we heed the way for Chor Boogie and Mike Bam Tyau to have at it with their cans of spray paint. I have been super impressed with their speedy and beautiful spray painting skills. They make it look so easy! When I commented on their efficiency, timewise, Meghan piped up “Well, they have to be! They’re graffiti artists, they’ll get caught!”
Speaking of, this project is definitely catching the attention of the community. Passerbys have noticed the swift transformation of the space and are very curious about our efforts. Just walking down the street in my official “Heart This City” t-shirt,  I was stopped by an elderly woman who asked me what it said. When I read her the text of my, if I may say so, seriously cool tee, she responded with “I love this city. I love the Haight!”
Giant flower pots! Soon to be filled with native plants (Kara & Stacy for scale.)
Upon return from my adventure procuring lumber with David Burnett from SF Recreation and Parks, it was great to see the rest of the team completing the installation with local SCA leaders, Aaron and Jordan.  Our ASB team is made up of SCA leaders from all over the country, and with variety of SCA leadership experiences. I’ve been impressed throughout the week with the cooperation and collaboration of everyone involved.
With the mural soon to be complete and the projects lined up for our volunteers, I cannot wait to see the energy and enthusiasm they bring to our big event on Saturday. If everyone is as inspired as I am by the art and the great work we’re doing for the park, I’m sure the day will be a great success!