$100,000 Raised to Construct Hidden Garden Steps on 16th Ave.

With $100,000 cash in the bank, supporters of a plan to install a tiled mural up the entire 148-step length of a stairway running on 16th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton streets held a kick-off party at the Crepevine on Irving Street Sept. 4.

The Hidden Garden Steps mural will be created by artists Eileen Barr and Colette Crutcher. They signed an agreement at the Crepevine event to start work. The mural should be finished in about a year, after the Department of Public Works prepares and repairs the stairs.

The mural will feature a passionflower, which runs the length of 14 steps; fern, 16 steps; and salamander, 26 steps. There will also be gardens and murals as part of the project.

"Aileen and I look forward to getting … our hands in the clay," Crutcher said. "We are really looking forward to getting started."

Barr and Crutcher created another mural in the neighborhood, the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, on Moraga Street between 15th and 16th avenues several years ago.

The Hidden Garden Steps mural is a joint project sponsored by the SF Parks Alliance and the SF Department of Public Works.

According to project co-chair Paul Signorelli, the project has attracted funding from seven states, as well as the United Kingdom, and has garnered some $20,000 worth of in-kind services from local businesses and organizations.

"This is a day we've been anticipating for more than two years," Signorelli said.

The artists are seeking volunteers and sponsors for the mural. Tiles can be bought for $150, for a small tile, to $1,000 for larger tiles. For more information, call (415) 681-5224 or go to the website at www.hiddengardensteps.org.

- Paul Kozakiewicz