The Tenderloin National Forest

 Posted by on July 12, 2011
Jul 122011
 
Steel Gate by Kevin Leeper
I stopped short when I saw this beautiful gate. It is the entry to Cohen Alley off Leavenworth, near Eddy.  This is the Tenderloin, an area of town that starts many a conversation.    It has a fascinating history,  if you are interested, head over to wikipedia.  I was amazed at the things I learned about this area.
What most people think about the Tenderloin is high crime, but at the same time the high concentration of apartment buildings in the Tenderloin gives it the densest population (people per square mile) in the city, and also the highest proportion of families and children.
It is also one of the poorest, with a median family income of around $20K, a figure that is less half the overall city average. The area has a large number of immigrants from Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America, and the 2004 demographic summary stated that the Tenderloin is home to the city’s entire Cambodian population.”

Kevin Leeper is a San Francisco Art Institute graduate and part time teacher at Diablo Valley College. He designed and fabricated the gate in 1993 in response to the local residents wish to have a more secure area at night.  What this door opens onto is “The Tenderloin National Forest”.  In 1989 a group of artists formed the nonprofit Luggage Store Gallery. The artists annexed the 25 by 136 foot alley and began slowly transforming it. The idea to build a forest was sparked when the group covered the area with rolls of sod as part of one of its many public events. The forest consists of cherry, cypress and Japanese maple trees plus a pair of redwoods, the tallest of which is four stories high. Edible plants and herbs grow in raised boxes, and aloe, cactus, ginkgo and ferns are scattered throughout.

I was unable to find the artist that did this mural.
The site is now officially sanctioned by the city, which charges the gallery a symbolic annual rent of $1. It is left open for visitors daily between roughly noon and 5 p.m.
 
These “Guardians” are by Johanna Poethig.  We have seen her work in Tutubi Plaza
 
This is the bottom half of Woon Socket.  The top half can be seen over the fence in the first photograph.  This is by Ricardo Richey and Andrew Schoultz.
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These amazing mosaics are entitled cultural geometry by Rigo 23 a Portuguese muralist, painter, and political artist.
I borrowed this from the San Francisco Chronicle, I just really needed you to see the entire mosaic. This was obviously taken during the installation, the greenery is so much more lush and the trees so much bigger, you would not get this shot today.



  7 Responses to “The Tenderloin National Forest”

  1. Thanks for spotlighting this historic area in a positive light. I lived on Turk Street between Hyde and Leavenworth for a year. It’s a tough neighborhood but there are a LOT of good people there.

    🙂
    Traci

  2. […] is not just a muralist, his wonderful mosaic work can be seen here.  His work is all over San Francisco. TweetShare this:Print  Posted by admin at […]

  3. […]  at the corner of Hyde and Golden Gate.  It was done by Johanna Poethig, whose work we saw in The Tenderloin National Forest and Tutubi Plaza.  This mural is titled humming with life.  If you hop over to her blog. where […]

  4. […] is not just a muralist, his wonderful mosaic work can be seen here.  His work is all over San Francisco. TweetShare this:Print  Posted by admin at […]

  5. […] as I was wandering The Tenderloin Forest, I came across this […]

  6. […]  at the corner of Hyde and Golden Gate.  It was done by Johanna Poethig, whose work we saw in The Tenderloin National Forest and Tutubi Plaza.  This mural is titled humming with life.  If you hop over to her blog. where […]