In 1985 the City and Navy announced plans to rebuild the base and home port the USS Missouri and other naval ships at Hunters Point, which almost certainly would have displaced the hundreds of artists and other small business tenants. When the Navy did not renew the leases in 1985 in anticipation of the USS Missouri home porting, the artists and other civilian tenants formed an effective alliance to protect their shops and studios. Faced with eviction, shipyard tenants banded together to preserve the unique mixture of arts and small business flourishing there. On numerous occasions, busloads of Point tenants and artists, garbed in bright orange t-shirts with the slogan “What’s the Point”, flooded city hall to show their opposition to the home porting. This group was joined by a broad coalition of community leaders and environmentalists. The coalition stalled evictions from the shipyard for numerous years. Success in delaying evictions was rewarded by cancellation of the home porting in 1988. Artists’ donations of artwork for auction raised thousands of dollars for this effort. Finally in late 1989, the Missouri home porting was canceled and existing tenants were allowed to stay, followed by the closing of the base in 1991.
In recent years, the artists in Building 103 and The Point’s metal sculptors were evicted by the Navy due to extensive and necessary remediation work. The Point landlords found a suitable home for the metal artists located two miles from the Shipyard: Islais Creek Studios. In the future, all the artists will again be reunited at the HPS site, but for now we are two sites connected: Hunters Point Shipyard & Islais Creek Studios, all “Hunters Point Shipyard Artists.”
Today, with a plan for civilian conversion of the former naval base, and the transfer of the Shipyard to the city of San Francisco, there is still work being done to insure Hunters Point Shipyard will become an even more vital part of the City’s fine arts community. Groups such as Hunters Point Citizens Advisory Committee (C.A.C.), Shipyard Trust for the Arts (S.T.A.R.) and Shipyard Artist Alliance (S.Y.A.A.), have worked hard to assure the survival of this fine colony of arts professionals.
MAKING THE POINT by documentary filmmaker, Beth Shannon,
tells the story of how Jacques Terzian, the Point's founder, kept going in the face of political, environmental and financial obstacles.
Purchase the DVD - all proceeds benefit the Shipyard Trust for the Arts (STAR)