Exhibit Opening: The Gardens of Alcatraz

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295; Katherine.Jardine@sfpl.org


Exhibit Opening: The Gardens of Alcatraz
Main Library’s Skylight Gallery


More than 60 beautiful and nuanced framed prints of the flowers of Alcatraz are on display in the San Francisco Public Library’s Skylight Gallery beginning this Saturday, January 14 — March 19, 2017.  The detailed works are created by various artists using mediums such as watercolors and colored pencils.

Alcatraz Island has a long and colorful history in California since its naming by the Spanish in 1775. Situated in the San Francisco Bay, it was the ideal location for the U.S. military to establish a fortress to protect shipping during the 1848 Gold Rush, a fort and military prison in 1850 and through the Civil War, and finally, a federal prison in 1930.

During decades of change an unexpected constant has been the gardens of Alcatraz. The many military and prison families softened the harsh environment of The Rock with imported soil, plants and structures. Staff and inmates became the caretakers of this ongoing endeavor. When the federal prison was closed in 1962, the gardens fell into a state of benign neglect.

In 2003, the Garden Conservancy initiated a 10-year restoration project and found many of the long neglected plants had survived. This remarkable discovery became the focus for members of the Northern California Chapter Society of Botanical Artists in 2012. With the support of the National Park Service and Shelag Fritz, the Garden Conservancy Manager, Shelagh Fritz, 77 artists painted “portraits” of the flowers.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Northern California Chapter Society of Botanical Artists, National Park Service, Golden Gate Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Alcatraz Florilegium Botanical Art Exhibit – Jan. 14 – March 19, Main Library, Skylight Gallery, 6th Floor

Related programs:

Exhibit Opening Event: Alcatraz Gardens – A Testament to the Human Spirit with Shelagh Fritz
Jan. 22, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

The Story Behind the Alcatraz Florilegium with Sally Petru
Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Community Room

Starring the Rock: Alcatraz in Hollywood Movies – Lecture with Jim Van Buskirk
March 2, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium