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2012 Exhibition: INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined

By May 23, 2012News

Under the guidance of curator and Master Teacher Richard Olsen, students from kindergarten to high school joined forces to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. The final exhibition at the Mills Building explored every aspect of what a bridge can be, both literally and metaphorically.



A curated visual arts exhibition created by students from San Francisco public schools to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Part of the “75 Tributes” program involving civic, cultural and educational organizations celebrating the legendary span across the Golden Gate Strait, INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined allows San Francisco children, working with professional artists-in-residence in their public school classrooms, to creatively explore and re-imagine the national landmark in their own backyard.

Students from participating elementary, middle and high schools around the city will display paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, collages, multimedia creations and more honoring the bridge as architecture, as art, as icon, as history, as metaphor, as gateway to imagination.



In collaboration with Artsource Consulting, the exhibit features as many visions of the Golden Gate Bridge as there are artists thinking about it in new and wildly creative ways. You think you’ve seen this famous span, but you should think again.

The exhibition is curated by Richard Olsen, an SFArtsED Master Artist for nearly 20 years.


Bridge Galleries

The historic Mills Building serves as headquarters for the INTERNATIONAL ORANGE exhibit, but there are also 75 related pop-up “Bridge Galleries” in every neighborhood in San Francisco. Here are just a few of our collaborating bridge gallery partners: The Walt Disney Family Museum, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco Film Centre, MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing), SFMOMA Galleries in Fort Mason, the Rena Bransten Gallery, Catherine Clark Gallery, the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery and the schools where students are making art for the show. Each Bridge Gallery will lead viewers to another, with all routes leading back to the Mills Building. Guides to the Bridge Galleries will be available online and at each site and at the Mills Building. [For a complete list, look to the right, and click here to visit a gallery of the Bridge Galleries. You can also download a comprehensive guide to the Bridge Galleries here – perfect for going on a Bridge Gallery tour!]

Bridge Support

Support for INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined has been provided by Art4Moore, Fund for Tides Foundation, Austin Memorial Foundation, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund and Macy’s. Additionally, Karen Fullerton has provided a matching grant challenge in the amount of $10,000 to support the SFArtsED programs in public schools. If the SFArtsED community is able to raise $10,000, Ms. Fullerton will match it dollar for dollar, making it an extraordinary $20,000 gift. [to make a donation, see below]

Our thanks to all of the participating schools:

  • Caesar Chavez School
  • Claire Lilienthal 3-8 School
  • Commodore Sloat School
  • Gateway Charter High School
  • Grattan School
  • Guadalupe School
  • Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy
  • Hillcrest School
  • James Lick Middle School
  • McKinley School
  • Redding School
  • Visitacion Valley Elementary School
  • Yick Wo School

And thanks to our participating Artists-in-Residence:

  • Alexis Arnold
  • Aileen Barr
  • Ray Beldner
  • Jessalyn Haggenjos Barr
  • Nicole Rose Gelormino
  • Prajakti Jayavant
  • Richard Olsen
  • Erik Parra
  • Wendy Robushi
  • Anna Marie Rockwell

Curator: Richard Olsen

“A bridge is a physical structure,” says celebrated San Francisco artist Richard Olsen, curator of INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined. “But even more it’s a conceptual and creative one. The bridge is there, but there is no end to what can cross it.”



Olsen is an artist, writer and art educator. He served as head of the art department at Gateway High School, where he continues to teach, has been an artist-in-residence for SFArtsED since 1993 and has taught art education at the San Francisco Art Institute. Mr. Olsen has curated many shows with SFArtsED including at Rena Bransten Gallery, Southern Exposure Gallery, the SF Arts Commission Gallery and the SF Museum of Modern Art. At SFArtsED, his students’ work has won a number of awards including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s “Best of Design” award with a subsequent exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC. He has lectured on art and education at UC Berkeley, SF State, the College of Notre Dame, the SF Museum of Modern Art and other institutions.

A very generous donor has pledged a $10,000 matching grant in support of the INTERNATIONAL ORANGE artists if we can raise $10,000 from our community. It’s easy to make a gift online. Click here to support the vision and imaginations of our young painters, sculptors, dreamers and bridge re-imaginers.

For more information about the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary, visit the official website.