Points of Departure - CODAworx

Points of Departure

Submitted by Scott Oliver

Client: San Francisco Arts Commission

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $117,000

Project Team

Industry Resource

Mark Sabatino

Gizmo Art Production Inc.

Public Art Agent

Mary Chou

San Francisco Arts Commission


Scott Oliver



Points of Departure gives material form to what is usually only in the minds of individuals: the places they are headed, the places they were born, and the places they would like to one day visit. Situated in a busy transit plaza at the intersection of Masonic Ave. and Geary Blvd. in San Francisco, the project consists of three unique sculptural signposts arrayed in the plaza. Each post corresponds to a question that is engraved in the side of the post and displays multiple answers to that question on the arrows above.


The place names appearing on the arrows were selected from responses to a week-long survey conducted on the site in the spring of 2015. We asked people passing through the plaza or waiting for buses three questions: Where are you going right now?; Where were you born, and when?; and Where do you want to go that you have never been? Working with translations of the survey questions and native speakers I was able to include responses in Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog (languages spoken in the surrounding neighborhoods). The project seeks to highlight the transient nature of the site but also to humanize one’s experience of it as a shared public space. By directly engaging with users of the site and incorporating their responses into the project the final artwork suggests an expanded sense of community and place, having as much to do with the site, as it does with movement, memory, and imagination.


Points of Departure was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission through a competitive proposal process amongst three artists chosen from their Pre-qualified Artist Pool. My proposal was selected by a committee of Arts Commission staff, arts professionals, and community members. The project was further developed in Conceptual Design and Design Development phases, working collaboratively with the Arts Commission, Department of Public Works, and the project fabricator, Gizmo Art Production Inc.

Additional Information

Points of Departure was fabricated out of aluminum using a water jet cutter and CNC router. It was painted with Matthews Satin VOC MAP. Arrows begin at 10 feet from plaza surface. Sign posts range from 13’-3” to 16’-4” in height, and 6’-5” to 7’-5” in diameter. Survey responses were collected by me with help from Veronica Graham, Chloe Kwiatkowski, Ling Meng, Willy Nicolas, Juan Santiago, Julianne Vinh, and Jingtao Zhang. Translations were done by Sergio De La Torre, Larissa Lavryonova, Lauren Huang, Juan Santiago, and Duoduo Xu. Gizmo Art Production Inc. fabricated and installed the project.