Playful Interactions on the Hidden Garden Steps

The Hidden Garden Steps site (16th Avenue, between Kirkham and Lawton streets in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District) has increasingly become a playful venue for unplanned community interactions over the past several months.

Toy salamander left in spiral at top of Steps

Toy salamander left in spiral at top of Steps

While work was underway to install project artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher’s 148-step ceramic-tile mosaic in fall 2013, visitors to the site began leaving small objects. A couple of plastic figures appeared (and just as quickly disappeared) at the foot of the Steps, followed by the addition of a small plastic salamander in the soil at the top of the site—an apparent homage to the ceramic-tile salamander that extends across two flights of stairs on the top third of the site.

Visitors have, at times, brought all sorts of objects (including large stuffed animals) to include in their onsite photographs, and other plastic figures (including a tiny frog) have replaced the salamander in the spiral at the top of the Steps.

Magnets left on hand-rail

Magnets left on hand-rail

Our latest gift from an anonymous donor is a series of words on refrigerator magnets attached to the recently-installed handrails. Comments formed from those words are already beginning to express a variety of sentiments to augment the expressions of delight, gratitude, and wonder that we hear on a daily basis from those drawn to the beauty of what community collaboration has produced.

For more views of our onsite community in action, please visit our Google+ photo album—or, better yet, join us on the Steps.

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