Your Resource for Performing, Visual and Literary Art in San Mateo!                              P.O. Box 6216, San Mateo CA 94403

"So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see-what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it-I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers."

Georgia O'Keeffe

Did you know that there are more than 50 Public Art Pieces in the City of San Mateo?

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About Sculptures and Public Art Pieces in San Mateo

"Sculpture San Mateo 2003" brought three new sculptures to the city for prominent display in public locations and is the second such sculpture-on-loan program for San Mateo. The sculptures, submitted by artists in a nationwide competition, were selected by a panel of jurors on the basis of their innovative design, use of materials and originality. The jurors were Susan Hillhouse, Curator of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara; Janet Bishop, Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA; and Gary Parma of the City of San Mateo Parks and Recreation Commission. "Sculpture San Mateo 2003" was sponsored by the City of San Mateo and City Arts of San Mateo with the generous support of Borel Private Bank & Trust Company and Wells Fargo Bank in San Mateo. The winners of the $1,500 prize awards were:

  • Michele Alcantara for Dancers, placed on the lawn just south of the Alameda de las Pulgas entrance to the Beresford Recreation Center
  • Marilyn Kuksht for Telltales, situated near the Marina Lagoon at the Lakeshore Recreation Center
  • Bryan Tedrick for Magic Portal, installed near the O'Farrell Street entrance of City Hall

Various dance and exercise groups associated with the Beresford Recreation Center responded favorably to Dancers, and City Arts of San Mateo subsequently initiated a fundraising drive to purchase the sculpture for the people of San Mateo. In 2005, due in large part to the tireless efforts of City Arts board member Bob Wilkinson, sufficient funds were raised to complete the purchase of Dancers. The sculpture was dedicated to the memory of Willard "Bill" Shumard, who served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of San Mateo from 1964 to 1981. A very sincere and heartfelt

THANK YOU to all those whose contributions made it possible!

Below are descriptions of sculptural public art that are featured in the City Arts of San Mateo - Art in Public Places Guide.

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Situated on the lawn of the Beresford Recreation Center at 2720 Alameda las Pulgas this approximately 10 foot long steel composite sculpture with a dance theme was created by Michele Alcantara of Salinas and submitted for the Sculpture on Loan 2003 program   conducted by City Arts of San Mateo and the San Mateo City’s Parks and Recreation Department. It was selected as one of three sculptures to be displayed for a year.
After an initial commitment from the San Mateo Dance Association it was purchased for five thousand dollars through a  fund drive conducted by City Arts  eliciting contributions from a large number of community residents. At a public ceremony on October 22, 2005 it was dedicated to Willard Shumard, formerly a Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and on that occasion it was given to the City of San Mateo.
Ms Alcantara has taught at San Jose University and  De Anza College; her works are featured in numerous private collections and at such sites as the City of Los Altos and Sierra College - Nevada County campus.



Known to all visitors to Central Park, the 14 foot high Giraffe located near 5th Avenue and known as Leon was created by the Burlingame sculptor, Albert Guibarra who donated it to the City in 1978 in honor of, and named after his father on the occasion of his 80th birthday. It is fabricated from bronze and copper by the artist who spent many hours at Fleishacker Zoo closely examining giraffes there. He thought that Leon would make people happy. It was  claimed to be the first major piece of art donated to the City, although other smaller works predated it.
Guibarra’s sculptural work graces several other locations in the downtown area.


Located on the cul - de - sac at end of Campus Drive overlooking San Mateo this stainless steel  and aluminum sculpture was created by the artist, Fletcher Benton who, in 2008 was awarded  the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award. It was commissioned by the William Wilson Company in 1978. Placed above a four - level circular terraced concrete base the sculpture reaches more than six feet in height.
The artist has many public sculptures displayed in collections around the world, including Louise Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and the University of California Art Museum in Berkeley. His work is listed in numerous publications.

Peaceful Dreamer


This mural, on the side of the Aaron Bros. art supply store at 3rd Ave. and Ellsworth Ave. was created in late 2000 by Erin Tajime Castelan, an artist in Palo Alto. It covers a space 17 by 8 feet and was commissioned by building owner, JohnBaer, who chose to cover the window area with art rather than fill in with putty.
The mural depicts the figure of a young  dreamy looking woman framed by Greek columns seated before a landscape which the artist says represents the Peninsula. She has also cited Maxfield Parrish as the inspiration for the design, drawn from elements of two of his paintings. The artist admires the way Parrish, who lived from1870 to 1966, depicted light and people.
Castelan had painted more than 50 large scale murals in California as well as several in private collections before painting Peaceful Dreamer. Also, she has produced murals in chalk, which have a short life time, for street festivals and holidays.
Maxfield Parrish’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco and reproduced in numerous books, magazines, calendars and posters.

Library Hall Lane


This mural, at 223 South B Street next to the cinema was first painted in 1989 by muralist, Norine Nicolson of Artistic Expressions through an Art in Public Places commission. At that time she was a Peninsula artist; she now lives in Ashland, Oregon. It is an historical portrayal of City Hall which stood on this spot in the 1890’s.  The mural was repainted and restored in 2003 at a cost of $30,000 and rededicated in July of that year. More than 100 colors were used in painting the mural.
The mural’s size is 36 feet high by 118 feet long. Its style is tromp l’oeil with architecturally replicated elements of arches, windows and faux bas relief with figures representing important men and women of that time. Included are depictions of a stage coach, the Union Stable and the # 40 trolley line that ran from San Mateo to San Francisco. The street sign Library Hall Lane hangs from a street lamp post, and posters from the early 20th century adorn the wall. The hall burned down twice in the 1890’s; after that the townspeople gave a silver horn to the fire marshal, shown here.
Among the figures and buildings depicted are Robert Wisnom, the architect of the three halls, and Antoine Borel who donated the land: Police station with jail, Grand Ballroom, library. Women figures are shown, representing their importance in the establishment of the library at that time. A uniformed bandsman is depicted next to a drum with the inscription, San Mateo Marching Band, 1890’s. A boy flies a kite inscribed with the city logo. When the painting was refurbished current members of the police and fire departments posed as models for the figures representing their departments. A newsboy announcing “Extra” with headlines about President McKinley’s whistle stop here.
Nicolson is quoted as saying  “Murals are all about imagination.” She paints murals for both residential and commercial locations.



Located on the north side of 3rd. Ave. between El Camino and San Mateo Dr. and set in concrete in a planter box, this Giacometti - like sculpture was created by Albert Guibara, a local sculptor. He has created several other sculptures in San Mateo: Leon, the well known giraffe in Central Park; Pods, the water piece on El Camino near Fifth Ave; the Turtle on 2nd. Ave near San Mateo Dr. Only one other sculptor’s work has contributed more to San Mateo’s repertoire of public art, Benny Bufano at the Hillsdale Mall.
The two bronze and copper figures are approximately 11 feet and 13 feet high respectively. They were executed in 1989 on commission as part of Downtown San Mateo’s Art in Public Places Program.
Guibara has had more than 40 years of sculpture experience, creating sculptures throughout California and in foreign countries, including France, Japan, Australia. He maintains a studio in Burlingame.

Main Library - Conversations


ARTIST: Archie Held
This three piece water sculpture outside the Main Library was made of silicon bronze, featuring water dripping down the three horizontally striated columns finished with a brown patina, into a pool. The color is made from the same minerals that form the darker tones of the building. The artist envisioned it as representing small groups of people stopping outside the library to chat and share ideas.
The artist was selected for his ability to create large  works for public buildings in collaboration with designers and architects. He met with and shared ideas with the library art advisory committee to fashion this signature piece which has the potential of becoming an icon for the community.  At that time he had fashioned over 500 pieces of art, including works in Sacramento and a shopping mall in Marin County, many of them incorporating water. He operates a large multi- building studio with 14 artist assistants in North Richmond. The work was installed in July, 2006, a month prior to the opening of the new library. Purchase of the sculpture was financed as part of the library funds raised from local contributors through the Library Foundation, a bond issue, and a state of California library grant.

Bank of America


ARTISTS: Louis Macouillard, designer and Alphonso Pardinas mosaicist.
LOCATION: Bank of America exterior wall facing El Camino at Third Ave.
MEDIUM: Glass tesserae
OWNER: Bank of America
DIMENSION: Five mosaic panels 25 ft. high, approx. 90’ across
DESCRIPTION: In this untitled mural the left mosaic panel describes the produce market of Lorenzo Scatena, the stepfather of the Bank’s founder, A.P. Giannini; the first Bank of Italy building in San Francisco established in 1904; top portion shows a horse drawn wagon transferring the bank’s records and cash to safety in San Mateo away from the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906, making it possible for the bank to open a temporary office in San Francisco after the disaster.
Second panel portrays the types of businesses and enterprises the bank financed: agriculture, petroleum, movies, war industries in WWII.
Third panel: Environments of the two cities where the founder lived, San Mateo and San Francisco.
Fourth Panel: Symbols representing the global reach of the bank, with personal dress and building structures of such countries as Argentina, Kuala Lumpur, Japan, Greece, etc.
Fifth panel:   Words : “School Savings” on bottom of panel, and “Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics” above with figures representing these themes.

Wounded Man


Located in front of the San Mateo Performing Arts Center this seven and a half foot bronze sculpture was created by Peter Schifrin, a sculptor living in Santa Rosa and teaching at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The art was commissioned by Ruth Steiner and her sisters in memory of their mother, Marion Sinton in 1989.
The artist chose a female dancer as his subject because he wanted a true female pose. Then he sculpted her into a strong masculine man in a vulnerable position with the head bowed and one arm behind the head and the other in front.
The artist is quoted as saying about his art: “Art is rejoicing. I am interested in creating work that despite the suffering, celebrates joy within our brief gift of life.”
Also, “Each sculpture .. is dedicated to remembering the affirmative quality that enables us to act in spite of our fears.”

The scuplture will be in storage during reconstruction of the Performing Arts Center.

River From The Door


This slender limbless figurative bronze sculpture, nearly seven feet tall, is located outside the HIP Housing owned building at 1510 Marina Vista. It was created by former San Mateo resident, Christine Federighi who attended local schools including Aragon High School and then moved to Florida, teaching ceramic art at the University of Miami for many years, but  still returning to San Mateo frequently.
In the figure a river courses over the head, through colorful landscapes of the West and her home in Florida, to the bottom of the  sculpture. The artists described it as “a melding of man and nature.”
Federighi said her sculptures are often likened to totems. Some incorporate human and architectural symbols, particularly the house.
The sculpture was acquired in 2000 when chosen with two other works for the Sculpture of the Millenium, a sculpture on loan program sponsored by City Arts of San Mateo and Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Mateo, displayed during that time outside the firehouse on the Alameda de Las Pulgas. Subsequently, the artist donated it to the community, and City Arts facilitated its acquisition by HIP Housing.
The artist has received various grants including an individual NEA grant in 1988,  a Florida Fine Art grant in 1991, and a Virginia Groot Foundation grant.

Cathedral of the Soul


Located in front of the Hillsdale Branch Library, corner of Hillsdale Blvd. and Hacienda this three and a half foot high granite sculpture, attatched to a granite base, was carved by Mark Heisel of Hope, Idaho. it is attached to a granite base. The sculpture was acquired in 2000 as part of the Sculpture for the Millennium sponsored by City Arts of San Mateo and the Parks and Recreation Department of the City. Intended to be on loan for a year, it was donated to the City by the artist in honor of his mother, a San Mateo resident.

The artist’s statement is: “If we think of our bodies as flesh, blood and bone, and we think of the Earth as soil and organic matter, water, and stone, then we realize that the bones of the Earth are stone. ..As an archetypal symbol, bones represent the indestructible force, the indestructible Soul Spirit…The bones will never die”

Indian Maidens


Indian Maidens, (#12) a  five foot long, probably redwood, sculpture of four Indian women above the doors of the ST. MATHEWS BRANCH POST OFFICE was carved by Zygmund Zazevich at time of post office’ construction in 1935. It was acquired through  the Treasury Relief Art Project.

Early Life in California, (#13) in the lobby of the post office; three twelve foot mural panels in Mission Revival style popular at time of construction during the 1930‘s.  The mural was painted by Tom Lamam. According to post office records the style was influenced by Mexican artists, particularly Diego Rivera which were prevalent during the WPA - built government buildings throughout the state during the 1930’s. It reflects California’s heritage of land grants and missions.
It is said that the murals were originally intended for a federal building in the Central Valley but were not accepted there.



Located at 4th and South B. St. this brushed stainless steel sculpture by Taro Seesurat is six and a half feet tall, five feet in width. It has an open structure of rectangular tubes, admitting light which plays from all the inner surfaces. It is mounted on a granite base atop a brick surface.

It was commissioned by the Downtown Business Association. The artist has two other works on display on the Peninsula, in Los Altos - at City Hall, and Convolute of The Square, a red steel sculpture at the corner of Fremont and Grant St. in that city. Other work is at the Nora Eccles Harrison Art Museum at the University of Utah.

Shadow of a Point


Sited on an earthen bank opposite 2929 Campus Drive near Highway 92 this stainless steel sculpture was created in 1987 by Roger Berry for the William Wilson Company. It consists of sixty rods about 4 inches in diameter and varying in length from two feet to fourteen feet arranged in six rows. The metal has a brushed finish. The area covered by the sculpture is ten by thirty by twelve feet.

The artist states that “At any moment during the day one pole casts a shadow on itself. At that time the shadows of the other poles point to the base of the pole, creating a swirling dance of shadows from morning to evening.”

Berry has many public sculptures to his credit including one on the Stanford Campus. He says that “My work stems from an ongoing investigation of the relationship of sculpture to the sun.”

Mr. Ralston Racing the Train


This 30 by 100 foot mural, located on the side of the Pennington Auto Body and Paint shop facing the Transit Station depicts an early San Mateo historical figure, William Ralston racing the new Peninsula steam train in his horse and buggy in the 19th century. Ralston, an avid outdoorsman whose buggy it is said could out race the train, was also a prominent banker. Eric Pennington funded the mural as a way of offering tribute to small businesses which Ralston helped finance, as well as to honor family members and friends of Pennington’s who are now deceased.

The artists, Nicholas Motley and “Little” Bobby Duncan painted the mural in 2000 at a cost of $47,000, an amount funded primarily by Pennington with some help from others. Pennington was recognized by City Arts of San Mateo, which gave him its Community Arts Recognition Award. The artists have painted other murals including one in a sports bar in Belmont.



These two dual sail - like sculptures are located at separate locations on the pathway leading from Anchor Rd. near its intersection with J. Hart Clinton Dr. past the Pump House into Joinville Park. Approximately seven and nine feet in height, respectively, and constructed of brushed stainless steel they symbolize the relationship of the area in which they are sited to the nearby Bay and Marina Lagoon. The artist, Mark Rutherford of Guyamas, Mexico was commissioned to create the sculptures by Bob Bezant, Public Works Director in 1987.



This four piece metal sculpture is located in the courtyard between two office buildings at 1450 fashion Island Blvd. It consists of curved vertically oriented shapes, approximately fifteen feet high, narrowing toward the bottom and attached to metal bases immersed in a pool. Originally painted red and blue they are now in shades of grey and grey - blue. The sculptor was Julia Lord; completion date unknown.



This nine piece sculpture of scorched redwood and copper riveted to the wood is located at 160 Borel Road in a parking lot on a wooden deck beneath a large oak tree. It was created in 1987 by North Coast sculptor, Bruce Johnson. The copper covering gives the appearance of snow on mountain tops.

The sculptor has contributed works in many locations in California, the nation and internationally, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Pier Walk in Chicago, Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, and Taiwan.

He states, “Rather than thinking of art and nature as opposite forces to be balanced, I see them as parallel forces seeking equilibrium. Art and nature, yin and yang, East and West..”



A copper fountain sculpture created by local artist Al Guibara, it is located in front of the office building at 400 El Camino Real. The sculpture consists of approximately 75 pod shapes, each seventeen inches long with a patina surface and serrated edges joined by hollow tubes mounted in a triangular mass and supported on three metal poles. Rivulets of water trickle into a pool below. At night lights illuminate the seven foot high and ten feet long sculpture.

The artist has several other works of art placed in San Mateo.

Mr. Toad's House


This sculpture, fashioned of copper by Albert Guibara is located outside the lobby of Mills Hospital. It consists of three whimsical mushroom - like structures, from one and a half to nearly four feet in height placed outdoors against the glass window. The plaque indicates it was donated by the sculptor in honor of his mother, Ruthann in 1978.



This painted figure of a physician striding along as though in a hurry in a white coat carrying a black bag and looking at his watch is on the wall of the parking structure, first floor, near the elevator facing Mills Hospital. Approximately eight feet in height, it was created by S. Pizzi.

Painted Murals


Located at the top of a stairway flanking the doorway to an office building at 101 South San Mateo Drive opposite Mills Hospital these two fifteen by ten foot murals depict pastoral scenes with grazing animals in pasture with trees. The artist, James Hartman, who lives in Burlingame, adopts the plain air tradition while incorporating an expressionistic colored palette. He states that he searches for essential forms in nature while expressing a personal response. Artists who have influenced him include Bay Area painters such as Bischoff and Diebenkorn, but also the Dutch masters admired during the year he spent in Holland. He has painted on canvas as well as other murals, including the mural at the Clay Oven Restaurant on Third Avenue.

The date of completion of this mural is unknown.

Parallel Balance


Located at the corner of Second Avenue and Railroad Avenue this milo steel sculpture is symbolic of the railroad adjacent to it. It consists of five I beams, two of which point at an upward forty five degree angle to a height of seven and a half feet. Created by Robert Strand in 1989, it is owned by the City Community Development Department.

Untitled Mural


This mural is located on the side of Park Central Apartments at 724 Laurel. It measures seven feet in height and twenty feet in length and is made from mosaic tesserae tile by an unknown artist sometime between 1964 and 1979. The composition depicts griffon - like animals; it shows signs of wear with some missing tiles.



This four and a half foot long copper and bronze sculpture, created by Leon Guibara, is placed near the sidewalk at the intersection of Second Avenue and San Mateo Drive on Mills Hospital property. It dedicated to the children of San Mateo and its purchase was financed by the San Mateo Rotary Club in 1979. The animal is portrayed as in motion with neck and head extended.

Dog in Central Park


Untitled, this two foot high cast iron sculpture of a walking dog is placed in Central Park on the pathway from the Palm Avenue entrance. Originally one of two dogs that stood at the entrance on El Camino Real, it was part of the Kohl Estate. It may date to the 1880’s and therefore be the oldest piece of public art in San Mateo. It is Italian made although the artist is unknown.


This six foot high redwood bust, located on El Camino Real at Aragon Blvd.  was created by Kenyon R. Kaiser in 1969. It portrays Father Serra with tonsured hair wearing a hooded Franciscan habit. It was given to the City of San Mateo by the San Mateo Serra Club, an  International Catholic layman‘s group which commissioned the work. It stands on a seven and a half foot concrete base.
The artist is known for his part in the early development of chain saw carving. Two of his large sculptures, “Pooped Logger” and “Paul Bunyan’s Girlfriend” are at The Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California.

Hear Me


“HEAR ME” is the  title of the sturdy wood and metal bench  adjoining the children’s playground in San Mateo’s Central Park. The sculpture incorporates visual art and text from children in various educational programs serving youngsters with autism, emotional challenges and other special needs in several programs in San Mateo County; their expressions were elicited by San Mateo artist Sinem Banna during her volunteer art instruction.
The bench, five feet in diameter is a circular seat consisting of 29 panels radiating outward on which are imprinted children’s words, phrases, and drawings. A smaller upper metal ring is placed four and a half feet high, hanging from which are silver bells.  
The sculptured bench was installed in 2009.  Along with Sinem Banna, the bench was fabricated by David Copello Woodworks and was underwritten by City Arts of San Mateo, individual contributors, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.


Created by sculptor Jerome Kirk (born 1923) in 1982, this painted kinetic metal sculpture is located in the courtyard of the Atrium Building, 1900 South Norfolk. Twelve feet in height, its design enables it to revolve with air currents. The sculptor, an East Bay artist, has fabricated other works which are primarily kinetic, such as the aluminum sculpture at the US National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland on the occasion of the bicentennial of US medicine in 1976. “Aquarius”, also a kinetic sculpture, was created in 1969 in Los Angeles.


Located at 1611 Borel Pl. in an outdoor courtyard this four foot tall abstract bronze sculpture was created by Richard O’Hanlon in 1963. It stands on a two and a half foot high concrete pedestal over a bed of river stones. O’Hanlon, (1907 - 1985) taught sculpture at UC Berkeley from 1947 - 1974. He was commissioned to create the medal given with the Clark Kerr Award to those selected for making outstanding contributions to the advancement of higher education. He also created monumental granite sculptures with an astronomical theme placed on the UC Campus. 
He traveled throughout the world studying sculpture as well as assisting Richard Stackpole and Diego Rivera in the 1930’s.

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