You can't buy love, but you can buy a heart. That's what the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation found out when they launched their program "Hearts in San Francisco," which displays uniquely painted statues of hearts across the City, auctioning them off at the end of the year to benefit the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.
For the 10th anniversary of "Hearts in San Francisco," PIER 39 selected the original piece, "Open Heart" by local artist Patrick Dintino, which will be a permanent fixture on the end of PIER 39.
Just over 10 years ago, before "Hearts in San Francisco" became a reality, Dintino's mother's life was saved by open heart surgery. His contribution to "Hearts in San Francisco" is a dark candy apple-colored heart with the hazy rainbow strip that is characteristic of Dintino's work.
He says that his piece is meant to be evocative of greater themes: "the larger idea of love and understanding self-concept -- of opening our hears and seeing what's inside, what makes us tick. It symbolizes the openness of our city's heart, as well as the idea of falling in love and leaving your heart in San Francisco."
"Open Heart" sits on the far end of PIER 39, the giant symbol of openness seeming to echo San Francisco's history as a city that has been open to immigrants, minority, change, and equality. The work also suggests the fragility of our city, the idea that an open heart is a vulnerable one whether on the table or in intimate conversation. The trauma center, which will receive all of the funds from the statue, is the only center of its kind in the city, and thus also open and fragile.
Sue Currin CEO of The General Hospital welcomed PIER 39 as a corporate sponsor and said, "PIER 39 is iconic to San Francisco, as are the hearts that we see throughout the city," adding that the support from PIER 39 will help fund "vital programs and initiatives" at the hospital and trauma center.
Applications are still being accepted for San Francisco General Hospital Foundation's 2015 "Hearts in San Francisco." Applicants would do well to keep their hearts open, and their art vulnerable.