Arts and Culture

SF Sells Heart for record $3 Million, To Fund Public Health Programs

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The heart sculptures you’ve seen around town, at Union Square, South of Market, or along Market St, are not just public art pieces, each heart represents thousands, if not millions of dollars raised to support health programs in San Francisco.

Every year, SF hearts are sold to raise money for health programs, and placed around the city.  (Photo – Drew Altizer)

Everyday on the streets of SF we are reminded that America has no socialized medicine, and no real safety net for its most vulnerable citizens.  We have people numbering in the hundreds of thousands living on our streets in California, a quarter of the country’s homeless population is here, in our state, sleeping under overpasses, in tents on the sidewalks, and struggling to find the care they need.  Even in San Francisco, in the richest city, in the richest country in the world, the streets are full of people who need help.

People love to take pictures in front of the hearts, but how many of them actually know what they represent? This heart was painted by Ari Takata Vasquez, it’s called “Wild”

Until our country sobers up, and adopts a national socialized healthcare system, we will have to rely on the kindness of millionaires, corporations, and ordinary citzens to help fund necessary heath programs.  And that is what the Hearts in SF sculptures represent in our city.  The artists, the donors, the healthcare workers, coming together to raise funding, to help those who cannot do it on their own.  Like a heart, this program is vitally important to our city’s health, and especially to those living on its streets.

The Hearts in San Francisco project debuted in 2004, the auction to raise funds happens every February.   Kaiser Permanente was the largest sponsor this year, with $3M for the Addiction Care Team. It’s a new program, funded through proceeds from Hearts in San Francisco, it tackles substance abuse and helping those most vulnerable in the community. Last year, they gave $1M for the new Transform Mental and Behavioral Health Fund the Foundation created.  All together the hearts raised $4.5 Million for the SFGH Foundation this year.

Kaiser chose artist Marguerite Bradley’s “Recycled California Poppies” heart raised $3 Million.  She used recycled sheet metal to make the flowers on the heart.

There are still heart sculptures out there looking for homes.  And some hearts are table size, so they fit on your desk or mantel, you can donate and get a heart today, checkout the hearts for sale on the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation website.  You don’t have to be a millionaire to get a heart.  The mini hearts sell for $2,500, and make a great addition to your entry way or waiting room…

Heartfelt Wisdom by artist Jeremy Fish.  @mrjeremyfish

Thanks to the hundreds of artists who donated their time and their talents to beautify these sculptures, and thanks to the foundations, the companies and the individuals who gave their money to support vital health programs and healthcare workers in San Francisco.  We are reminded of these efforts every time we pass a heart on the street.  And if you’re too broke to buy a heart, you can always sign up to paint a heart for 2021, or, next time you see someone taking a picture in front of a heart, tell them what they really represent to our city.

Mini Heart by artsist Max Ehrman “Eons of Love”. @Eon75

Other SFGHF sponsors include Giants Enterprises, Bon Appétit, Genentech, The Stanley S. Langendorf Foundation, LSP Family Foundation, UCSF, Pam and Larry Baer and Family, Bank of America, Valli Benesch and Bob Tandler, Dignity Health, Intel, Salesforce, Twitter, Wells Fargo, and more. The Heart sculptures can be directly purchased, or gifted as a thank you for sponsorship. There are select Hearts available in all three sizes: mini, table-top, and large. 

And thanks to Schuyler Hudak of Cor Media and Rachael Davison of Charles Zukow Associates for speaking with and providing us with images and information on this story.

Hearts of SF Google Map shows the locations of all the hearts.  Here
Checkout all the 2020 SF Hearts artists and their work Here.
SF General Hospital Foundation Heart Store: Here
SF HEarts are also sold on EBay: Here

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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