Descriptive Title: Locations of public art installations and murals

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Point

Public art works and murals relative to population density per square mile (2011)
NeighborhoodNumber of Public Art WorksNumber of Places with Public Art WorksNumber of MuralsResidents Per Sq Mile
Bayview/Hunter's Point 14 8 13 6,945
Bernal Heights 11 6 7 22,066
Castro/Upper Market 4 3 6 23,023
Chinatown 20 7 9 70,416
Excelsior 3 1 11 23,768
Financial District/South Beach 27 15 5 9,941
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park 14 11 2 101
Haight Ashbury 2 2 17 27,823
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 7 3 1 26,842
Inner Sunset 1 1 2 19,012
Lakeshore 7 5 2 5,350
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 12 6 0 21,748
McLaren Park
Mission 40 14 210 31,818
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 7 5 2 60,140
Noe Valley 3 3 4 21,666
North Beach 34 6 4 20,250
Outer Mission 15 5 8 20,054
Outer Richmond 7 3 0 26,444
Pacific Heights 2 2 0 28,321
Potrero Hill 5 5 8 9,041
Presidio 2 2 0 1,255
Presidio Heights 0 0 1 17,975
Russian Hill 17 16 1 36,565
San Francisco 460 205 419 17,082
Seacliff 5 2 0 3,554
South of Market 17 10 28 22,658
Treasure Island 0 0 0 3,242
Twin Peaks 103 2 0 10,345
Visitacion Valley 5 5 2 16,164
West of Twin Peaks 9 6 1 10,848
Western Addition 10 8 30 34,121

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

Research finds that the influence/effects of the arts on health are to: induce positive physiological and psychological changes in clinical outcomes; reduce drug consumption, shorten length of stay in hospital, improve recovery time, increase job satisfaction, promote better doctor-patient relationship, improve mental healthcare, and, reduce depression and blood pressure.a-d Public art provides residents with the opportunity to experience and enjoy arts in their daily life without needing to visit a museum or gallery. Outdoor public art can also enhance the visual appeal of pedestrian environments and encourage walking.

According to the San Francisco Arts Commission:

"San Francisco's Public Art Program, one of the first in the country, was established by City ordinance in 1969. The public art ordinance provides for two percent of the construction cost of civic buildings, transportation improvement projects, new parks, and other above-ground structures such as bridges, to be allocated for public art. It also provides an allowance for artwork conservation funds and allows for the pooling of art enrichment funds for interdepartmental projects. Circumstances that would allow construction projects to be exempt from public art allocations are also defined.

The Public Art Program provides curatorial expertise and project management for the implementation of the City ordinance. It is administered by the San Francisco Arts Commission, and is overseen by the Visual Arts Committee of the Commission.

The Public Art Program seeks to promote a diverse and stimulating cultural environment to enrich the lives of the city's residents, visitors and employees. The Program encourages the creative interaction of artists, designers, city staff, officials and community members during the design of City projects, in order to develop public art that is specific and meaningful to the site and to the community. Public art is developed and implemented in conjunction with the overall design and construction of each project. Each project's life span from the design phase through completion of construction is approximately three to seven years." 

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

There are almost 450 different pieces of public art in San Francisco, located at 194 different locations. The neighborhoods with the greatest number of locations that have public art on display are Downtown/Civic Center, the Financial District, the Mission, Russian Hill, and South of Market. Twin Peaks has a particularly high number of public art works that are housed in just two locations due to the public art program at Laguna Honda Hospital which is located in the neighborhood. Over 50% of the murals in are located in the Mission neighborhood. Neighborhoods that are lacking in public art and mural installations include: Mission Bay, Inner Sunset, Excelsior, Presidio, Pacific Heights, Diamond Heights, Haight Ashbury,  and Outer Sunset which all have less than five public art works; however, both Haight Ashbury and Excelsior do have a number of murals.

As illustrated on the map above, the majority of public art works in San Francisco tend to be located in densely populated neighborhoods with a few notable exceptions. The Civic Center, the Financial District, and South of Market, which have some of the largest numbers of public art, also have a larger proportion of civic buildings which receive funding for public art through the mechanisms described above. These neighborhoods also include the C-3 Downtown Commercial District, which according to SF Planning Code, Section 149 requires hotel and office spaces larger than 50,000 square feet to contribute 1% of total construction costs to the installation and maintenance of public art.


Public art and mural locations were collected by contacting the organizations listed below. Data were cleaned to exclude duplicates and locations not located in San Francisco. In order to illustrate that there are often a number of art pieces at the same address, public art location points were sized to indicate the number of pieces at the location. Data from the 2010 US Census was used to display population density.  The number of pieces and locations were summarized by neighborhood for the table. 


This data only includes public art and murals catalogued by the San Francisco Arts Commission Public Art Program or SF Mural Arts. There are likely more public art works or murals that may not be accounted for here. It is important to note that while all artworks listed here should be accessible to any member of the public, they may not be in areas where most people would enjoy them. The public art collection at Laguna Honda Hospital is a good example. While there are over 100 pieces, most residents will not visit this skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility. 

Data Source

List of Public Art Works from San Francisco Art Commission, October 2011.

List of murals from SF Mural Arts, October 2011:

Population density: 2010 US Census

Detailed information regarding census data, geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found at the following links:

Interactive boundaries map

  1. Staricoff RL. Arts in health: a review of the medical literature. Arts Council of England. Research Report 36. September 2004. Accessed on December 4, 2006:

  2. Jermyn H. The Arts and Social Exclusion: a review prepared for the Arts Council of England. September 2001. Accessed on December 4, 2006:

  3. Arts in Medicine and Arts Therapy Citations. The Society for Arts in Healthcare. Accessed on December 4, 2006: