Headlands Center for the Arts

A Note from the Director: Announcing The Commons

Headlands Friends,

You may by now have come to expect a biannual note from me, bringing you up to speed on all things Headlands. Today’s note is particularly thrilling as we announce that, thanks to the contributions of a close circle of generous donors, the hard work of many talented and highly committed collaborators, and with the full support of the National Park Service, Headlands is officially launching a critical capital improvement initiative that will enliven and expand our campus and programming. Scheduled for completion in summer 2017, The Commons comprises the redesign of Headlands’ current entryway, transforming an underutilized lot into a thoughtfully considered public space that welcomes visitors to our campus while also addressing critical life safety and access issues. The Commons will provide a new space for public programs, as well as a place for artists and visitors to gather with friends and enjoy an unparalleled view of the Marin Headlands—lush and verdant in winter, subtle and mysterious in summer.

In keeping with our 35 year legacy of working with visionary artists to rehabilitate Headlands’ unique spaces, The Commons also includes three newly commissioned art installations by Ball-Nogues Studio, a design and fabrication collaborative in Los Angeles; Chris Kabel, a Dutch artist based in Rotterdam; and Nathan Lynch, a Bay Area sculptor and performance artist. We are fortunate to be working with Conger Moss Guillard (CMG)—whose projects include the SFMOMA rooftop sculpture garden and the Moscone Center expansion—as the project’s lead landscape architecture firm, and contractor Oliver & Company, led by former Headlands board member Steven Oliver. Additional commissions and programming for The Commons will be announced next spring.

We hope you’ll follow along with updates on The Commons in the coming months as we break ground on construction, and plan our celebration to unveil the completed project next summer. Headlands will be closed to the public as we do this work, but fear not—we will be hosting a series of off-site programs featuring our artists and alumni with partners including the UNTITLED Art Fair, the San Francisco Film Society, and The Progress. Stay tuned for event details, and for the announcement of our 2017 Artists in Residence, which we will share in January.

Closing our doors for six months and undergoing this big construction gives us a big chance to party! On Thursday, November 17 we’ll be hosting Lights Out, an end of the year art party with food & drink; music, film, and performances among installations by our Artists in Residence; and a ceremonious dimming of the lights by artist Carrie Hott at the night’s end. We hope you will join us for this festive occasion, and get a last peek at the campus before it is transformed.

Lastly, I want to personally urge each of you living in San Francisco to vote Yes on Proposition S when you go to the polls next week. Proposition S is a critical (and currently unopposed) measure that reinstates the San Francisco Hotel Tax to its original intent: to allocate funds to support the arts across the city, and to secure housing for low-income families and people experiencing homelessness. Although Headlands is outside of city limits, we feel the success of this measure is paramount to the health of communities across the Bay Area. Please join us in supporting Proposition S.


sharon maidenberg
Executive Director

Above: photo by David Elliott
Below: Renderings of The Commons by CMG Landscape Architecture