The giant hummingbird. The Carmen Banana mural. The new 5-foot-tall angel with the electrified torch.
There’s plenty of public art in the Lower Haight, but no fewer than half a dozen pieces can be found at, near, and above the southwest corner of Haight and Fillmore.
The newest additions are the aforementioned angel, installed atop the corner of the building…
…and a hummingbird and flower, which can be seen above Zip Zap Hair at 245 Fillmore:
The pieces come from a South San Francisco decoration supply company called Barrango, which lists the “Hummingbird and Flower” and “Angel With Electrified Torch” on their website for $825 and $1500, respectively.
They were added by the building’s owner Chris George, who has been working to enhance the property for over 30 years. According to a 2009 Chronicle article, George bought the building in 1977. Two years later, he commissioned artist Fredrick James to paint the Carmen Banana mural on the Fillmore side of the then-new Haight Fillmore Whole Foods.
In 2009, the mural was mistakenly painted over without George’s approval by a couple of artists recommended by Upper Playground:
George was able to track James down and convince him to come back and repaint the Carmen Banana mural.
In the years since, George has taken several other steps to further adorn the building. He has renovated the storefronts on the Fillmore side of the property, which extends down to Indian Oven. Artist Ronnie Buders added a Palestinian flag mural at the corner, and Graham O. Gill painted a mural around the ATM on the Haight Street side:
And recently, in an effort to make the corner more festive, George had multicolored ball-shaped lights hung in the tree in front of the market:
Next, he plans to add uplighting to further brighten the building at night.
We often hear about negligent or disinterested landlords here at Haighteration, so it’s refreshing to learn about one that takes so much pride in adding character to his building. Next time you’re at the corner of Haight and Fillmore, be sure to check out the many pieces that adorn this property at the heart of the neighborhood.
With additional reporting by Devon Chulick.