Spanish Civil War monument proposed

The latest piece of public art on San Francisco Port land will likely stand 7 feet high and span 30 feet, honoring the Bay Area Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

The San Francisco Port Commission is expected to vote Nov. 14 on whether to allow the artwork’s installation near the east wall of the Vaillancourt Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza. It would be only the third monument to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the United States.

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was part of an international brigade of men and women who volunteered to fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 through1938. They were also the first racially integrated U.S. armed forces at all levels of command.

The art structure will be built of stainless steel boxes stacked on top of one another, forming a freestanding wall. Each box will contain an image and text educating the viewer about the history of San Francisco during the time period of the brigade and the brigade’s efforts.

The wall is to be located in the existing cobble-paved area, which will be improved to comply with accessibility requirements, according to Dan Hodapp, the port’s senior waterfront planner. “It will increase the amount of pedestrian area by doing this,” Hodapp said.

The artwork would draw the attention of those who “drift out of Justin Herman Plaza,” Hodapp said.

Proposed by the Bay Area Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and Associates, the monument is being designed by local visual artist Ann Chamberlain along with landscape architect Walter Hood.

Not everyone is happy about the prospect of the monument.

Nearby resident Eula Walters says that the monument will take away valuable space and block the view of the fountain for those walking or driving by along the Embarcadero roadway.

Hodapp, however, said that the monument would not block the view of the fountain since it is much shorter than the fountain and barely visible from the roadway.

If approved by the Port Commission Nov. 14, the monument will likely be installed early next year, according to Hodapp.

jsasbatini@examiner.com

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