Wild Apples 4 Jo

San Francisco CA | 2009

This raised bed orchard is a memorial to Jo Hanson (1918-2007)– to her life, work, and generous spirit.  A pioneering force in San Francisco Bay Area’s environmental and feminist art movements, Jo was known for many roles–the performance artist sweeping sidewalks and raising snails, organizer, mentor, curator, writer, cofounder of WEAD–Women Environmental Artists Directory, and founder of the Artist in Residence program at Recology–San Francisco’s “dump”.

Commissioned by Recology, the installation marks the entrance of its 3-acre reclamation sculpture garden, designed by Leibovitz Steinman as artist in residence there in 1991-92.

This wild orchard is an apt living tribute to Jo.  A former member of the SF Art Commission, Jo was an avid supporter and frequent visitor to Apple Orchard I, sited on Market Street just a few blocks from her home.  Wild Apples 4 Jo is a redesign of  Sweet Survival–Apple Orchard II, a temporary work sited in Sonoma County where Jo also lived, active in local groups working to save its endangered soil, waters and redwoods.

 Jo’s saplings are planted in oval farm troughs, with pink quartz for mulch, surrounded by “a field” of California native plants and stones. Continuing Sweet Survival‘s experiment in biodiversity, these saplings are five from the many propagated from seeds collected and grown there. The pentagon shape (with 11’ long salvaged doors) refers to star-shaped seed chambers within every apple.