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Public Art

The variety of dazzling public art in Yerba Buena Gardens by noted artists from around the globe will surprise, delight, and intrigue. A glass ships rises from the earth, a bronze statue greets visitors, a robotic sculpture comes to life with your help. Tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Ohlone Indians inspire and celebrate human diversity. Take an art walk around YBG and create some new San Francisco memories.

Glass Ship by John Roloff | Yerba Buena Gardens

Glass Ship—Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain

John Roloff‘s, 18-foot-high sculpture “Green Glass Ship—Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain,” rises above the East Garden terrace accompanied by portholes that allow a hint of activity to be seen in the Moscone Center, located below the gardens. Roloff said, “At the site, land is an illusion with the gardens above and convention space below — a metaphor for the ocean, a different world, and the surface of the sea.”

Urge by Chico MacMurtrie | Yerba Buena Gardens


This one-of-a-kind interactive robotic bronze sculpture, is located under the walkway to the Children’s Garden near Howard Street. Urge was created by Chico MacMurtrie. Sit on a bench facing Urge and the kinetic element of the half-man half-woman skeletal figure standing on a steel globe is activated and Urge sits down. Stand up and it rises with you, hands turning. As a result, you’re always in sync with Urge, sitting—or standing—on top of the world.

Shaking Man by Terry Allen | Yerba Buena Gardens

Shaking Man

The popular life-size bronze statue created by artist Terry Allen presents a multi-dimensional business executive who greets visitors to Yerba Buena Gardens near the western edge of the terrace level of the Esplanade. Toting a brief case, and split into three interconnected figures, the statue conveys a sense of motion with many feet and hands appearing to reach out to those who pass by.

MLK Silver Walls by Lin Utzon | Yerba Buena Gardens

MLK Memorial Silver Walls

Dutch artist Lin Utzon designed the walls which flank the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Waterfall as sculpted and silvered forms to reflect the surrounding nuances of water, sky, and landscape. These fluted granite walls, emblazoned with immense silvered fissures, adjust to changes in sunlight and weather. YBG’s granite paving pattern also designed by Utzon, creates a sense of movement and guides visitors walking through the gardens.

Oche Wat Te Ou by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & James Lunain | Yerba Buena Gardens

Oche Wat Te Ou | Reflections

This tribute to the native Ohlone Indians, created by artists Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and James Lunain, takes form in a semicircular wood wall patterned with Ohlone basket designs. Standing behind a crescent-shaped pool and a circle of moss covered rocks, it’s a contemplative environment, set beside a redwood grove with a single live oak tree nearby. The artists intended the piece to serve as a performance area for poetry, storytelling, and other events in the oral tradition. The Memorial is significant since at one time this area held an Ohlone Indian burial ground.

Yerba Buena Gardens | At the Cultural Heart of San Francisco