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[KQED] SF Chinatown Weighs in on Controversial Monuments in Portsmouth Square

Portsmouth Square, a one-block plaza at the heart of San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, is slated to undergo a major facelift.

The project is nearly a decade in the making. But before breaking ground, the city must decide what to do with nearly a dozen controversial public artworks, monuments and plaques currently at the park.

Reconsidering, contextualizing or outright removing public artwork that can represent different things to different people is not a simple process. But it is increasingly necessary, according to community members and the city’s public art curators.

“We’re in a moment of work, doing deep work with the community to understand what they want and what makes sense for the park,” said Allison Cummings, senior registrar for the city’s civic art collection. “Things are moving all over the palace in the park, and nothing will be in the same place that it’s in now. What is the story that’s going to be told?”




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