Headlands Center for the Arts announces New Artist Commissions and Public Plaza to open Spring 2017

  • Aerial view of Headlands Center for the Arts, within the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco.  Photo by David Elliott.

    Aerial view of Headlands Center for the Arts, within the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco. Photo by David Elliott.

  • Current site

    Current site

  • Rendering of The Commons (after)

    Rendering of The Commons (after)


The Commons, a new outdoor space for programs and public engagement designed by Bay Area-based Conger, Moss & Guillard, will feature commissions by Ball-Nogues Studio, Chris Kabel, and Nathan Lynch

Spring ribbon-cutting will be followed by public celebrations in September 2017

Sausalito, CA…Headlands Center for the Arts announced today that, in 2017, it will officially open The Commons, a redesigned outdoor space for the public and for Headlands’ resident and visiting artists on its historic campus just north of San Francisco.

Sited between the two main buildings on the Headlands campus, The Commons will enable more public programming and provide a welcoming space to relax, connect with art and artists, and enjoy the natural environment. The Commons is the latest project in Headlands’ Commissions Program in which esteemed artists are invited to develop site-specific projects that integrate seamlessly into the ongoing rehabilitation of the historic campus, a former military base-turned art center that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Since 1986, Headlands’ Commissions Program has supported six campus rehabilitation projects: Rodeo Room and Eastwing (David Ireland and Mark Thompson, 1986); The Mess Hall (Ann Hamilton, 1989); The Latrine (Bruce Tomb and John Randolph, 1988); Building 960 (Leonard Hunter and Mark Cavagnero, 1999); Reserve Ark Victory Garden (Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine, 2008); and The Key Room (Carrie Hott, 2016).

Kevin Conger and his firm Conger, Moss & Guillard Landscape Architecture (CMG) of San Francisco are the lead designers for The Commons, a $1.8 million project generously funded by a group of individual supporters and foundations. Alongside the organization’s staff and Board, CMG has envisioned a dynamic, site-appropriate space that takes inspiration from the campus’ military history and unique landscape, is both poetic and pragmatic, and builds on Headlands’ history of innovative rehabilitation and space re-use. The project incorporates newly commissioned, permanent artworks by local, national, and international artists; a casual outdoor amphitheater for both day-to-day enjoyment and special event presentations; and a promenade that connects the two main buildings. Importantly, the project addresses ADA visitor parking and access and fire and emergency vehicle access. Each aspect of The Commons is intentionally designed to embody and expand Headlands’ ethos as a place where artistic practice, dialogue, community, and nature coexist and enliven one another.

The artists selected to create specific elements of The Commons are: Ball-Nogues Studio, a practice working within the intersection of architecture, art, and industrial design in Los Angeles; Chris Kabel, a Dutch designer based in Rotterdam; and Nathan Lynch, a Bay-Area sculptor and performance artist. More information about these projects and additional commissions will be announced closer to the opening date.

Headlands’ Executive Director sharon maidenberg said, “We’re so pleased to realize this next level of improvements to our beautiful campus and are eager to see the new space come to life through artist projects, community events, and greater everyday enjoyment of the magnificent Marin Headlands. Artists in our programs and visitors to the Center and the park will surely delight in The Commons’ thoughtful design and its site-specific artists’ commissions. We look forward to celebrating the opening of The Commons next year.”

Following completion of construction and a ribbon-cutting next May, Headlands will officially commemorate The Commons in September 2017, with a community-wide event open to all. Headlands will be closed to the public during construction starting in December, and will re-open following the ribbon-cutting.

About Kevin Conger

Kevin Conger is a landscape architect and founding partner of CMG Landscape Architecture, dedicated to creating vibrant democratic public space in cities and designing thriving natural systems within the greater landscape. He is a leader of complex projects including the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Treasure Island and Hunters Point naval bases, the redesign of Market Street, the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan, the ongoing expansion of Moscone Center, and a 15-year partnership with Crissy Field, as well as highly crafted designs such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden. Conger also contributes considerable volunteer efforts for public space issues. Recently, he led a Southern Marin Sea Level Rise community planning effort with Supervisor Kate Sears and other community volunteers. As an alumni council member of the Cal Poly landscape architecture department, he helps connect students with professional resources. Conger lectures broadly; is a recipient of a Seed Fund Fellowship for his commitment to more vibrant, democratic space in San Francisco; and is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

About Ball-Nogues Studio

Led by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, Ball-Nogues Studio is an integrated design and fabrication practice operating in a territory between architecture, art, and industrial design. The Studio has exhibited at major institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA); Guggenheim Museum; PS1; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Venice Biennale; Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale; and the Beijing Biennale. They have received numerous honors including three American Institute of Architects Design Awards, United States Artists Target Fellowships, and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In 2007, the Studio was the winner of MoMA’s PS1 Young Architects Program Competition and their work is part of the permanent collections of both MoMA and LACMA.  In 2011, they were one of the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices and, in 2014, were finalists for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize. Their work has appeared in a variety of publications including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Architectural Record, Artforum, Icon, Log, Architectural Digest, Mark, and Sculpture.

About Chris Kabel

Chris Kabel combines an interest in science with an intuitive, artistic approach to designing everyday objects. Kabel is not interested in a signature style, but instead remains close to the inspiration he draws from the intrinsic qualities of materials and techniques. Equally important to Kabel is the context of his works and how they address particular applications. Kabel works with product design labels (Breed, Droog, and Moooi) as well as with galleries (Galerie kreo in Paris and Nilufar in Milan) and cultural institutions (Portikus in Frankfurt am Main and Witte de With in Rotterdam). His work is in the collection of MoMA, New York; The Fonds Nationale des Arts Contemporaines in France; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in 2001, and teaches at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland.

About Nathan Lynch

Nathan Lynch, an American sculptor and performance artist, has made collaboration and experimentation major components of his practice. Recent projects include Dead Reckoning for BAN7 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; a residency with the Exploratorium, San Francisco; and habitat design for Cassin’s Auklets on Año Nuevo Island. Lynch, a 2011 Artist-in-Residence at Headlands, studied with Ken Price at the University of Southern California, and earned an MFA at Mills College, in Oakland, with Ron Nagle. Lynch is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Ceramics Program at California College of the Arts. He is represented by Rena Bransten Gallery. 

About Headlands Center for the Arts

Headlands Center for the Arts is a multidisciplinary, international arts center located in the Marin Headlands, and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Headlands’ Artists Programs provide opportunities for research, experimentation, professional development, and peer-to-peer exchange for artists working across disciplines at critical times in their careers. Unique among programs for artists, Headlands’ dynamic residency program provides meaningful resources—time, space, community, and financial support—to artists who are engaged in catalyzing new modes of thought, work, and discourse. By bringing together artists from a wide range of disciplines—visual and interdisciplinary arts, architecture, performance and dance, music and sound, writing, criticism, and curating—the programs emphasize a balance in developing an individual practice, a valuable exchange with other artists and visitors, and a meaningful engagement with place. www.headlands.org


*         *         *

Headlands Center for the Arts
944 Simmonds Road
Sausalito, California
Press Contact:
Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer
Bow Bridge Communications, LLC
P: +1 347-460-5566

ArtfixDaily Artwire