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Artist Ned Kahn collaborated with the staff of the Tenants and Owners Development Corporation (TODCO) and the residents of one of their housing projects to create a public artwork for the exterior wall of their apartment building at Fourth and Clementina Streets. The apartment is in San Francisco’s South of Market District, a part of the city that had changed rapidly and was continuing to change, with the apartment building surrounded by more high rise structures. A Clementina Commons advisory group worked with the artist over the course of six months–discussing ideas and reviewing the project design.

Ned Kahn’s many public artworks encourage people to observe and interact with natural processes. Upon talking with the advisory group, he wanted to create a piece that captured the feeling of watching a field of tall grass blowing in the wind or water on the bay (a view the residents once had that was now blocked by tall buildings). The finished piece, “Hidden Sea,” consists of 6,000 small aluminum “leaves” mounted in an aluminum framework and hinged to move freely in the wind. The mirror-like surfaces of the aluminum leaves reflect light from different parts of the sky and the surrounding buildings.

Collaborating with Ned Kahn and the apartment residents, TODCO is a South of Market non-profit community-based housing developer that seeks to build community both among the residents of its service-enriched housing as well as in the surrounding neighborhood.