New Mural Exhibit at Presidio Tunnel Tops

Story and Photos by Lee Daley

Welcome to the view of the bay with a lounge in one of the Adirondack chairs.

Welcome to a view of the bay with a lounge in one of the Adirondack chairs.

New adventures await at the San Francisco Presidio Tunnel Tops Park with a recent large-scale mural installation of creatures like coyotes, monarch butterflies and colorful exotic birds.The exhibit is now on show at the Outpost Courtyard overlooking Chrissy Field. Strolling the Cliff Walk to reach the exhibit is my favorite route. Along the walk, San Francisco immodestly showcases some of her most prized glories with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, breathtaking bay views and farther along, the glistening visage of the city skyline punctuated by the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts. You will soon arrive at The Outpost, a two acre children’s play area. Just beyond it, look for the Field Station building. Here,  you’ll come upon an entry area transformed by large scale botanical and wild-life themed murals. It’s a must see, a wonderful addition for children and adults. as it adds to the spectacular views.

Child artist at work as she engages in a mural at Tunnel Tops."Iconic Visions" Exhibit.

Child in red hat at play with ground mural at Tunnel Tops, “Iconic Visions” Exhibit. Mural by Artist Felicia Gabaldon.

Called “Iconic Visions,” the mural display is the creation of Fine Art Painter Felicia Gabaldon, resident artist at Oakland’s Faultine Artspace. As an American Indian of the Choctaw Tribe with Spanish Heritage, Gabaldon’s paintings can be seen both locally and internationally. The Gabaldon exhibit is the second of three in a series of temporary exhibits that offer visitors new ways to enjoy the park.

Bird mural on display at Presidio Tunnel Tops, San Francisco. "Iconic Visions" Exhibit. Artist Felicia Gabaldon

“Iconic Visions” ground mural exhibit, Presidio Tunnel Tops, San Francisco, California. Artist Felicia Gabaldon

Presidio Tunnel Tops opened a little more than a year ago within the Presidio National Park site. Free to all, Tunnel Tops connects the Presidio’s Main Post with Crissy Field through a series of bluffs, paths and gathering places. With nearly 200,000 native and drought-tolerant plants, the park is user and environmentally friendly.The Outpost, is a 2-acre children’s play space features climbing areas, slides and lots of play features made from fallen tree trunks, boulders, and other natural elements.

Children enjoy tree climbing without fear of falling. at The Outpost, part of Presidio Tunnel Tops, San Francisco.

Children enjoy tree climbing without fear of falling at the 2-acre Children’s Outpost.

The Tunnel Tops site is really the heart of the Presidio, offering peace and calm, priceless views, play areas for children, picnic areas, wild flower and natural plants views. Multiple viewing points and rest areas along with an educational space at The Field Station add even more.The features are amazing in their value to all. Onsite food trucks offer a variety of food and drink options as well.

The Outpost features slides, fallen trees to climb and other fun structures for family fun.

The Outpost features slides, fallen trees to climb and other fun structures for family fun.

In its announcement of the exhibit, the Presidio Trust says: “Fine Art painter Felicia Gabaldon has been selected to be the second of three artists to install artwork at Presidio Tunnel Tops as part of the Ancestral Futurism Public Art Mentorship.The project engages emerging BIPOC artists to develop temporary installations at the Presidio that reflect their cultural and artistic identities and offer visitors new ways to experience and enjoy the park.Felicia is working with mentor, artist, and environmental justice activist and Presidio Activator Favianna Rodriquez who created the first installation for the opening of the new site in July of 2022, called Ancestral Futurism: Looking Back to Repair the Future.”

Sail on San Francisco Bay. with a View of Alcatraz Island as seen from Tunnel Tops.

Sailboats on San Francisco Bay. with a View of Alcatraz Island as seen from Tunnel Tops.

More Upcoming Events Free and Open to the Public:  On September 10, World Arts West proudly presents the highly anticipated 2023 World Arts West Dance Festival at the picturesque Presidio Tunnel Tops’ East Meadow on Sunday, September 10. As a key event in the Presidio Sunday Afternoons series hosted by the Partnership for the Presidio, the festival promises exhilarating and diverse dance performances that honor the deep and rich artistry of cultural dance traditions from around the globe.

This year’s remarkable lineup of artists will present dances from Mexico, India, Nicaragua, Brazil, West African, Spain, and Tahiti, to name a few. Dance groups include Calpulli Tonalehqueh, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, Melissa Cruz Flamenco, Mona Khan Company, Nicaragua Dance Ensemble, Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts world dance group, Te Pura O Te Rahura’a, and more. The free event also includes lively interactive demonstrations with festival artists, and an assortment of multicultural food trucks nearby at Presidio Pop Up. World Arts West Dance Festival. Date: Sunday, September 10
Time: 1 PM – 4 PM, Location: Presidio Tunnel Tops, East Meadow – 210 Lincoln Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94129. Admission: Free

You’ll find parking in several nearby spots. One option is the parking lot at the far end of the Sports Basement Store where the beginning of the Cliff Walk and a set of stairs to the Tunnel Tops site are just steps away. Bring a picnic lunch or choose a hot meal from one of several food trucks available nearby.

For another iconic destination along the California Coast, consider a day trip  or overnight stay in Mendocino.