Falsework project at the Presidio Pet Cemetery

This is a past event

34 people went

Presidio Park Archives & Records Center

Cowles St and McDowell · San Francisco, CA

How to find us

Meet in the parking lot on the corner of Cowles and McDowell. Phone/text Laurie at 415.533.9983 if you don't see us.

Location image of event venue


Behind a white picket fence, home-made headstones mark the final resting place for the more than 420 dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, and goldfish owned by the army families who were once stationed at the Presidio. A massive concrete "falsework" has been constructed above the cemetery to protect it from the the freeway construction going on overhead.

Artists Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse became fascinated by the contrast between the small, fragile graves and the huge structure that protects them. They're weaving this story into a larger project, Temporary Structure, that examines "loss, remembrance, landscape, the built environment, and the material culture of grief."

Our sketches from today will become part of an exhibition and installation of their larger project, including video, photographs and text. We'll have blueprint pages of the engineering drawings of the falsework for anyone who wants to sketch on them, and we're planning to assemble the finished drawings on a gallery wall at the end of the project.

If the pet cemetery doesn't inspire you, there's a lot of other great stuff to sketch around here, from the heavy construction equipment to the graceful new freeways soaring above. It's an interesting place to think about how San Francisco can preserve its historic identity as powerful new forces shape the city in unknown ways.

1:00 PM We'll gather at the picnic table in the parking lot at the corner of Cowles and McDowell Streets in the Presidio. (See photos below.) Phone/text Laurie at[masked] if you don't see us.

3:30 PM We'll meet up in Crissy Field under the big dark brown steel sculpture at the bottom of McDowell Drive. (Just keep walking down the hill from the Pet Cemetery.) I'll bring coffee and we'll spread out our sketches under the sculpture and admire the cumulative effect.


- Your usual sketching medium (the blueprint paper works especially well with charcoal, pencil and watercolor).

- Your regular sketchbook, in case you find you don't want to work on the blueprints or you need a smooth hard surface to put under the blueprint paper.

- A portable stool or foam pad to sit on.


Read more about the Presidio Pet Cemetery (http://www.nps.gov/prsf/historyculture/pet-cemetery.htm) here: http://www.nps.gov/prsf/historyculture/pet-cemetery.htm

Read more about the Falsework (http://www.finleymuse.com/projects/falsework) project here: http://www.finleymuse.com/projects/falsework


There is free parking at the place where we'll meet at the beginning. (But be aware that parking is no longer free along the road through Crissy field and you'll have to run off to feed the meters if you park down there.)

The free PresidiGO Shuttle (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Pages/shuttle.aspx#.UvhAZUJdXWk) bus Crissy Field Route (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Pages/PresidiGo-ATP-Schedule.aspx#.UvlS6EJdXWk) stop is right where the meetup starts, and the PresidiGO Downtown Route (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Documents/PresidiGoSchedule_Downtown.pdf) stop is a 5-minute walk away.

Coming on BART, get off at Embarcadero station and walk south to the PresidiGO shuttle stop at the Transbay Terminal (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Pages/PresidiGo-Downtown-Schedule.aspx), or north to Drumm and Washington Streets (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Pages/PresidiGo-Downtown-Schedule.aspx).

Coming on MUNI, it's about a 10 minute walk from the 28, 41, 43, 45 and 76 buses at the eastern edge of Presidio, around Richardson and Francisco Streets. If you don't want to walk, pick up the PresidiGo Crissy Field shuttle (http://www.presidio.gov/transportation/Pages/PresidiGo-ATP-Schedule.aspx#.UvlS6EJdXWk) near there at Lyon and Lombard).

Bicycles are a good way to get around in this area: there are lots of bicycle lanes throughout the Presidio and Crissy Field.

Click here (http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/5/9/e/e/highres_333263022.jpeg) to see a larger version of the photo below.

Start at 1:00 at the picnic table in the parking lot below

Meet up after sketching at 3:30 under the brown Di Suvero sculpture below.