Car-Free JFK Drive Is Getting Large-scale Public Art Pieces, FYI

The sidewalks, curbs, and other slabs of concrete will soon glow up on one of SF’s beloved permanent post-pandemic Slow Streets Corridor.

Since becoming a permanent car-free street in April, the 1.5-mile section of JFK Drive — or now better known by pedestrians, cyclists, and runners as the “JFK Promenade” — has grown in popularity. On any given weekday after 5 p.m., people throng the road in an orchestra of bicycle honks, clanks from scooters and rollerskates, and rubbery thuds from runners trudging up and down the street. Weekends see the same concert of niceties throughout the day… just with more leashed canines in tow.

And from now until the end of October, there will be even more reason to fawn over the JFK Promenade: the inclusion of large-scale pieces of painted public art, courtesy of Illuminate — the Bay Area-based nonprofit behind various public light art installations like The Bay Lights and, most recently, WELCOME, the rainbow beam that shot down Market Street during this year’s Pride month — and a gaggle of local muralists.

“During September and October, [Illuminate] is working with 12+ muralists and community groups to transform JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park into a whimsical, inspirational oasis,” reads a post on the aforementioned nonprofit’s Instagram page.

But neither Illuminate nor the collection of yet-announced muralists can do this alone. In the same social media announcement, the nonprofit called for helping hands “We’ll need volunteers to work with our artists to help paint large-scale installations, beautify curbs and otherwise bring joy and allure to this 1.5-mile space in Golden Gate Park. “

The requirements for volunteers? That they are at least 16 years old, have “a sense of adventure,” a collaborative spirit, and can let their egos go; volunteers must understand that the artist is in charge and “will direct where/how to paint.” They also need to be down to getting covered with a little paint and are OK with walking to and from water fountains and restrooms that are about a 20-minute walk away.

Whatever Illuminate — and by proxy, the artists they bring on to collaborate with — put on, we know it’s going to be great. Their track record for putting on jaw-dropping public art installations is virtually unmatched.

If you’re keen on getting your hands dirty in the name of creative expression, fill out this Google Form; volunteer slots could become open and available as early as this week; for more information on Illuminate, as well as other pieces of public art they’ve created around the Bay Area, visit

1 Comment

  • Felicia

    We have an election on reopening JFK Drive to cars in November. Why is the city spending the money to do this now? The citizens of this city have the right to decide the future of this drive or promenade. Let’s wait until the final decision is made.

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