Monthly Archives: March 2017

A New Exhibition Exploring the Best Examples of Worldwide and Local Playground Design Premiers in San Francisco on April 6


Media Contacts:

Amanda Hawkins, Design Museum Foundation • 917-747-4422

Sarah Madland, San Francisco Recreation & Park. • 415-831-2740

Missy Benson, Playworld • 804-337-6763

Michelle Jeffers, San Francisco Public Library • 415-557-4282


The Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibition Will Run Through July 8, 2017


San Francisco (March 29, 2017)— Design Museum San Francisco, Playworld, San Francisco Recreation & Parks, and the San Francisco Public Library are pleased to announce the opening of Extraordinary Playscapes, an exhibition featuring over 40 pioneering play spaces from around the world, at the Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center on April 6. Curated by Design Museum Foundation, the exhibition explores the latest thinking in playground design while presenting how vital free play is to childhood development, thriving communities, and social equity. From towering treetop playgrounds to hand-knit crochet installations, visitors will discover how architects and designers worldwide are engaging diverse communities to translate play objectives into state-of-the-art and meaningful play environments.

“Our goal is to connect San Francisco to the free play movement through an exceptional public exhibition about the design of playscapes,” says Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation and co-curator of the exhibition. “There are so many examples of extraordinary playscapes in the world, and we’re hoping to inspire people of all ages to get outside and play.”

Among the many sites on display, the exhibition will feature: a project that reimagined a scrapped ambulance as a children’s hospital playground in Malawi, Africa; examples of how Danish design integrates nature and play; and innovative play-centered design happening right here in San Francisco. As an interactive experience, Extraordinary Playscapes includes playable installations, videos, scale models, and hands-on elements for viewers as they explore the art, history, and science behind the world of play.

“San Francisco Public Library is excited to host this exhibition that celebrates play spaces around the world and recognizes the importance of play in children’s lives,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “With actual play equipment being brought in, this is an exciting installation for the Main Library and truly reimagines 21st century child-friendly library spaces. We encourage families from throughout the neighborhood and across the city to come and interact with this exhibit and the new PlayCubes in Civic Center Plaza.”

The program also includes a “Playground Passport” that can be picked up at the exhibition and at select local playgrounds highlighted in the exhibition. The passport will highlight amazing spaces for play around San Francisco, including a new installation of PlayCubes — a modular playground by Richard Dattner, Architect and Playworld — as part of the exhibition at Civic Center Plaza. Through support from San Francisco Recreation & Parks and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, PlayCubes will be open for play while the plaza’s permanent playgrounds are under construction.

“The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department works hard everyday to ensure that kids have clean, safe, fun places to play and grow,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manger, Phil Ginsburg. “We are thrilled to partner with the Design Museum Foundation to celebrate the joy and importance of play,” said Ginsburg.

Playworld has partnered with the Design Museum Foundation on the Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit since 2015, bringing new play areas to both Boston, MA and Portland, OR. “The importance of outdoor play in the formation of a healthy childhood is well documented. Playworld is committed to providing beautiful and relevant play spaces. PlayCubes by Playworld inspires play for a wide age range, and can help you easily design for play in public spaces and in the route of travel for families. The popularity of PlayCubes and the Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibit in Boston, MA and Portland, OR shows us the beginning of a new playground revolution” said Missy Benson, a Play and Design Specialist for Playworld. “The installation of PlayCubes on Civic Center Plaza provides an exceptional opportunity to encourage millions of visitors to venture outdoors and experience a play space integrated with exceptional design,” said Benson.

Extraordinary Playscapes, free and open to the public, is on view from April 6 – July 8, 2017 at the San Francisco Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center. The exhibit opening will be held at the Main Library on April 6th, 6:00pm. The exhibition will then travel to Chicago, IL through 2017.

Additional Program Events:

A public ribbon cutting celebration for PlayCubes will be announced next week!

June 22, 6:30pm
UNITE: Why Play? A panel discussion on the importance of play, featuring: Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play; Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation & Park; Gwen Gordon, Gwen Gordon Play; and Missy Benson, Playworld.

June 24
Kid’s Workshop — A child-driven community event where kids can get creative, collaborate, and design their own playgrounds.

For more information about programming and events related to Extraordinary Playscapes, visit

About Design Museum San Francisco

At Design Museum San Francisco we believe design can change the world. Done well, it can elevate our quality of life, make businesses more competitive, and protect our environment. Design awareness, education, and expertise are more important now than ever before as design continues to impact communities, organizations, and markets around the world. Design Museum San Francisco is redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century — we’re online, nomadic, and accessible to all through a network of exhibitions, events, and content. Our mission: Bring the transformative power of design everywhere, to inspire a world full of creative problem solvers. For more information visit

About Playworld

Playworld is a division of PlayPower®, Inc. Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld’s equipment and surfacing are designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For nearly 50 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. For more information visit

About the San Francisco Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center

The Fisher Children’s Center provides a variety of services, exhibits, and programs to promote children’s enjoyment of literature, media, information and recreational reading. The Center is for children, parents, childcare providers, educators, individuals and researchers. For more information visit

About San Francisco Recreation & Parks

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community. Today the department, overseen by the Recreation and Park Commission, administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. For more information visit

Exhibit Openings & Author Mary Roach in Conversation

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Exhibit Openings & Author Mary Roach in Conversation

Annual Wit & Humor Exhibit: Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War
Works by Women Eco Artists: Reclaiming Earth

Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War, an exhibition that draws from materials in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, is a selection of the spirit, wit and humor of those at war, and the people they left behind on the home front.  The exhibit opens April 1, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

How did average readers and soldiers in the trenches deal with the stress of war in the 20th century? One way to preserve one’s sanity was keeping a sense of humor. From every imaginable corner of a war-torn world, humor was used to oppose tyranny and satirize the enemy. War is hell, but troops found that humor stayed the beast, at least temporarily; they laughed while belly-aching daily about the latest SNAFU, they laughed about jawbreakers in the mess and ribbon-happy officers. Folks at home rationed fuel and stockings, collected pots and pans for the war effort and listened to the radio for the latest news from the front. The world was full of newspaper cartoons and strips, editorial cartoons, propaganda art, Armed Services Editions sent to the troops, and humor created by the troops themselves in such newspapers as Stars and Stripes and Wipers Times.

“Without humor we are doomed,” noted Nat Schmulowitz, local attorney and former library trustee, who donated his collection of 93 jest books to the San Francisco Public Library on April 1, 1947. The collection has grown to more than 22,000 volumes and includes periodicals and audio-visual materials; it is considered the most significant collection of its kind in a public library. Every year, the Book Arts & Special Collections Center presents an exhibition based on materials in the Schmulowitz Collection, in tribute to Mr. Nat Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.

Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War – April 1–May 31, Main Library, Skylight Gallery, 6th Floor

Reclaiming Earth, an exhibition of Women Eco Artists Dialog (WEAD), showcases the work of more than 50 female artists in altered books, textiles, photographs and paintings and opens on April 8 in the Jewett Gallery.

The exhibit developed from a depression-era adage: Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without: Lessons from our Grandmothers. Works focus on the cultural values of conservation, preservation, and frugality practiced by ancestors and cultures that live in harmony with nature. The exhibit honors the 20-year local history of WEAD, which was founded by San Francisco environmental artist, Jo Hanson, who would have been 100 in 2018. WEAD is an international artist organization that focuses on ecological and social justice issues. Notable Gallerist Donna Seager served as juror.

Reclaiming Earth: Works by Women Eco Artists – April 8–June 24, Main Library, Jewett Gallery

Both exhibits are supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Related programs:

Mary Roach in Conversation with Steven Short

Beloved Bay Area author and New York Times bestseller, Mary Roach, is in conversation with KALW Producer Steven Short to discuss Roach’s latest work, Grunt; a book that tackles the science behind some of the most challenging adversaries for soldiers—panic, exhaustion, heat, flies and noise. Roach answers questions not found in any other book on the military: How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again. The author talk is part of the Annual Wit & humor Exhibition, Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War

Mary Roach in Conversation with Steven Short – April 13, 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Reclaiming Earth Opening Event: A discussion with the juror and WEAD artists – April 9, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Innovative Teen Center Now Open Seven Days a Week

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295

Innovative Teen Center Now Open Seven Days a Week

SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2017 — The Mix at SFPL, an innovative, youth-designed, 21st century teen learning space located in the Main Library, greets spring breakers this week with new, expanded hours. Previously closed on Sundays and Mondays, The Mix is now open seven days a week. Teens can drop by The Mix for coding classes, cooking demonstrations, open mics, songwriting sessions, poetry slams, drum lessons, 3-D printing workshops, book clubs and more. All activities and services at The Mix are free.

The Mix at SFPL is a hub of out-of-school learning for youth from the City and the Bay Area. The space provides connected learning experiences to not only engage youth and promote learning that aligns with youth-led interests, but to also support youth as they develop necessary 21st century skills.

The Mix provides provides 4,770-square feet of space and equipment for youth ages 13-18 to explore, create and develop digital media and computer skills as well as discover and engage with the Library’s traditional books and materials. Outfitted with state-of-the-art digital media, video/sound recording, computer and creative maker equipment, teens are able to expand their imaginations as well as their technology and literacy skills and engage in individual and team projects that promote critical thinking, inventiveness and skill building.


Spend Spring Break in The Mix

Girls Who Code – Tuesday, March 28, 4:30 p.m.

Biblio Bistro at The Mix – Tuesday, March 28, 4 p.m.

Tuesday Night Open Mic at The Mix – Tuesday, March 28, 6p.m

Song Writing at The Mix – Wednesday, March 29, 5 p.m

Youth Speaks Turn Up (The Volume!) – Wednesday, March 29, 4:30 p.m.

The Mix Book Club – Thursday, March 30, 4 p.m.

Video Studio: Open House – Thursday, March 30, 4p.m.

Drum Lessons – Friday, March 31, 4 p.m.

3-D Printing Work$hop – Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m.

For a complete list of programs and activities, visit

Talking With Kids About Race

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Talking With Kids About Race

San Francisco Public Library hosts progressive program for families and educators

WHAT:  San Francisco Public Library is holding the first of a series of progressive programs that aim to help parents, educators, and caregivers talk to kids about race.  The powerful changes we can make are often on a micro level, and this introductory workshop will help families and educators outline developmentally supportive language to use with kids to strengthen efforts in raising safe and empowered young people.

The nearly 250 free registrations filled up in about two weeks, demonstrating that families, teachers, and caregivers in San Francisco are eager to engage in dialogue about race with each other and with the young people in their care.

“As the President of the BOE and as a resident of San Francisco, I have always thought it to be important to have honest conversations about race relations with our children early,” says program partner Shamann Walton, President of the SFUSD Board of Education. “Embracing differences and learning about them is what helps us work better together. The reality remains that we cannot solve problems if we ignore them.”

“As a queer immigrant mama leading the largest LGBT family org in CA, I am thrilled to be partnering with so many folks who are also dedicated to creating radically inclusive schools and communities in SF and beyond,” says program partner Renata Moreira, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition.  “All of us need to know how to best engage in developmentally appropriate conversations which name race and other identities in order to raise a generation that’s culturally aware.”

WHEN:    Saturday, March 18, 3-5:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street

WHO: Micia Mosely, Educator and Workshop Facilitator

Luis Herrera, City Librarian

Renata Moreira, Our Family Coalition, Executive Director


Talking With Kids About Race is presented by SFPL with community partners: San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco Families Union, Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Our Family Coalition, Main Street Mamas, and First 5 San Francisco.

Talking With Kids About Race in 2017 — March 18, 3-5:30 p.m.