Heron's Head Park Stone Sculptures To Become Travelling Exhibit

Categories: Local News
When we last visited impromptu sculptor Porfirio Vazquez, the Andy Goldsworthy of Heron's Head Park was sulking because his three-month old artistic career seemed to be nearly over.

Last week, however, Vazquez complained because it seemed as if his artwork construction would never end.

"Do you think you could put the word out for someone to maybe help me out financially? Because, you know, I don't have a job now," said Vazquez. "And rebuilding these things is going to be a lot of work."

We're beginning to think that Vazquez is pessimistic by disposition, because the story of his Heron's Head sculpture garden actually appears to be ending happily for the sculptor, and for lovers of his guerrilla art.

As he spoke Monday, Vasquez stood between a half-destroyed stone lizard and an intact stone dragon at the end of the park, a Hunters Point landfill pier that's been converted into a nature preserve.

Last month, we wrote about how the menagerie of stone sculptures he'd created was at risk of disappearing -- despite widespread appreciation of his work -- because he built it atop a protected natural area.

Now, however, Vazquez' works are poised to reach a wider audience than ever.
Plans are afoot to relocate and reconstruct his sculptures on the grounds of the Bayview Opera House, thanks to the efforts the facility's art-loving director Barbara Ockel.

And, after a temporary exhibit of a few months,  the sculptures are scheduled to again be re-built,at a new Eco-Center nearing completion at the park's east end. While before, Vazquez had cause to fret his work might disappear, now he fears becoming exhausted at making it re-appear multiple times.

This past fall, out-of-work stonemason Vazquez began treating his unemployment blues by carefully stacking rocks from riprap on the edge of the landfill pier under Heron's Head Park until they formed depictions of animals native to Mexico, his native land. At that time, at least one park visitor had complained, someone had knocked down a couple of the sculptures, and the nonprofit Literacy for Environmental Justice, which manages the park under contract from the Port of San Francisco, were left with a quandary. Nonprofit staffers loved the sculptures. But they didn't want to set a precedent where whomever wanted could erect artwork on what was supposed to be an environmental remediation project.

There's precedent for just such a clash.

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