Saturday, September 11, 2010


COCA's 2nd large-scale project...

WET: Summer Arts Festival debuts in New York! McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Pics to come. Here's the NY POST + WET was a PICK for many art websites, see

Thursday, May 22, 2008


In April 2008, COCA offered a gentle afternoon tea social of rare imperfect beauty during

wabi sabi
a COCA tea social

A gorgeous sunny day spent at Mountain Lake Park in San Francisco with beautiful views of the lake, fresh sunshine, and delightful social experiences -- that were natural as a warm breeze. Yummy homemade cakes and curious teas were served and a wabi sabi tableaux kept growing with imperfect/rustic/aged objects.

The pics above reflect the ambience and fellowship. No art per se, but vital social communication was our goal -- a vivid appreciation for life and all its imperfections within a natural environment. Joyous!

With very cherry in 2007 and wabi sabi in 2008, one wonders what next year's COCA social will bring?

We hope you will discover that with us next year!
Photos by Elliot Lessing

Friday, September 7, 2007


COCA Center for Outdoor Contemporary Art proudly presents

Open Skies
Celebrating the Frontier Spirit of Today’s Artists

3 Days - 10 San Francisco Parklands - 20 Contemporary Artists
Friday thru Sunday, October 19-21, 2007, noon-5 PM every day

Rain or Shine! And Free for ALL!

Freya Bardell with Brian Howe (Los Angeles), Ellen Babcock with Hannah Barnard-Henke, Amy Dotts, Shawn Hibmacronan, Marnika Shelton, Gian Giglio (SF), Jason Robert Bell (NY), Scott Cartwright (MA), Flower Frankenstein (SF), Rebecca Herman and Mark Shoffner (NY), Mikhail Iliatov with Erica Ehrenberg (NY), Mike Lai (SF), Ellen Lake (Oakland), Moses (MO), Diana Sanchez (Oakland), The Studio for Urban Projects (SF)

Alamo Square, Brooks Park, Esprit Park, Fillmore/Turk Mini Park, Gilman Playground, Golden Gate Park (Conservatory of Flowers, Peacock Meadow, Stow Lake), John McLaren Park, Lafayette Park, Mission Dolores Park, Panhandle, Washington Square

Conceived, Developed, and Curated by Elliot Lessing

Open Skies Celebrating the Frontier Spirit of Today’s Artists

is a citywide Contemporary Arts Exhibition that celebrates the spirit of wonder, renewal and creative social action through artist-driven public projects that activate public space and community resources.

Open Skies unites 20 Contemporary Artists with 10 San Francisco neighborhood parks to deliver extraordinary site-specific art projects of all media for families, new residents, and city visitors. Participating artists are encouraged to work closely with neighborhood groups to present temporary art projects that are environmentally safe and holistically sound.

Open Skies Artists will be on hand to host their original creation and offer personal insight into their chosen sites or project genesis. Many artists will offer Open Skies Workshops to provide families and individuals with hands-on experience into the art-making process. Original artist-designed educational materials relating to project sites and local history will be offered throughout. Create your own Open Skies Park Discovery Tour to share natural, historical, and folkloric information to adventure-seekers of all ages – vividly linking oral tradition to local communities and public space.

Open Skies Celebrating the Frontier Spirit of Today’s Artists

is at once a brilliant opportunity for families, community members, and city visitors to enjoy a rich synthesis of inspiring artistic visions, dynamic educational programming, and constructive civic engagement.

ALL exhibitions, presentations, workshops, special events, and educational materials are completely free to the public.

Please join COCA and the City of San Francisco as we launch Open Skies!

Open Skies is made possible through a community partnership with Neighborhood Parks Council and through generous support from Potrero Nuevo Fund, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund

Note: MORE Open Skies info below and in the Blog Archive. All sky photos courtesy of Kevin Olish

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Washington Square Open Skies

Park Washington Square
Artist Mike Lai
Project Bruce Lee vs The Superheroes
Hours Saturday, Oct 20, 1-3 PM

Bruce Lee vs The Superheroes combined dimensions of recreation, play, theater, performance, sport, costume and history. In an orchestrated game of Capture the Flag, multiple Bruce Lees (outfitted in costuming from the film, Game of Death) competed with comic-book superheroes who represent the diverse western cultures surrounding the area.

A fanciful choreographed movement of living colors were generated to capture Washington Square as a place where the diverse cultural surroundings meet.

Mike Lai & Co. offered a vivid portrait of Washington Square as a cultural melting pot, while celebrating the historical birthplace of the cultural icon Bruce Lee!

Design your own Open Skies Tour
Learn about Washington Square
Explore COCA

Panhandle Open Skies

Park Panhandle
Artist COCA Center for Outdoor Contemporary Art with Charlie Shelton
Project COCA Welcome Center
Hours Friday thru Sunday, Oct 19-21, noon-5 PM
Activities Open Skies Hospitality Event, Friday Oct 19, 5-7 PM. Meet the Artists! Connect with Friends! Make new Families! Enjoy COCA!

The COCA Welcome Center invited San Francisco to visit with Team COCA, learn about COCA, Open Skies and upcoming projects, and immerse themselves in our nomadic living outdoor Welcome Center!

Through our Vision, imagination lit the way to new horizons of public life, community engagement, and fresh connectivity to open space. Free informational materials and guidance were offered throughout our launch weekend (Friday-Sunday, Oct 19-21, noon-5 PM), as the Panhandle became ground central for Open Skies.

People could refuel with scrumptious refreshments and reflect on the scope of Open Skies. Visitors also connected with friends and family, as we invited one and all to share their dreams and ideas with Team COCA.

We embarked on a lively artistic adventure of Discovery and Wonder -- illuminating a bright path to Open Skies -- and beyond!

Design your own Open Skies Tour
Learn about the Panhandle
Explore COCA

Mission Dolores Park

Park Mission Dolores Park
Artist Scott Cartwright
Project Rebuild the City of San Francisco in the Form of a Cone

Hours Friday thru Sunday, Oct 19-21, noon-5 PM

Rebuild the City of San Francisco in the Form of a Cone offered residents of San Francisco an opportunity to re-imagine their city through a thought experiment that traced historical lineages and criticisms through the modern project of art and architecture, and their relationships between contemporary practices of architecture/urban planning, contemporary art, and political/economic realities.
Scott Cartwright imagined a city with walls that determined how its inhabitants relate with the other.

Design your own Open Skies Tour
Learn about Mission Dolores Park
Explore COCA

Lafayette Park Open Skies

Park Lafayette Park
Artist Mikhail Iliatov with Erica Ehrenberg

Project Linking the Park to a Story of First Love
Hours Friday thru Sunday, Oct 19-21, noon-5 PM

Linking the Park to a Story of First Love introduced poetry and dimensions of language, type, and text-based art to a public space.

Visitors experienced words at an unusual scale to discover new ways of reading poetry and relating to poetic metaphors.

Erica offered a poetry workshop through the duration of the project.

And Mikhail discussed printing methods (screen printing, stenciling), in addition to various new and historical philosophies and goals of typographic design.

Mikhail Iliatov and Erica Ehrenberg continued a vibrant discussion of poetry and literature in public spaces.

Design your own Open Skies Tour
Learn about Lafayette Park
Explore COCA