Missing Students Go Missing at CCSF

I’ve been doing an inventory this spring of the “Missing Student” statues and “Student Success Story” statues for City College of San Francisco’s Works of Art Committee (see my November 2012 posting for background on the statues). Leslie Smith, the CCSF administrator who organized the two big batch productions ten and four years ago, retired last fall, and Fred Kling, the main supervising artist for the projects, retired this spring.  Given these departures, and the perilous status of the college, the fate of these statues is uncertain.

2 CCSF Missing Student statues in cafeteria

2 CCSF Missing Student statues in cafeteria

Most of the “Success” statues are unseen, protected in locked bungalow.  The Missing Students are more visible. For years they have stood along the walls of the student cafeteria in unmarked anonymity, unacknowledged by most students, gathering dust.  The soda cans and trash wads thrown on the carts confirmed their degraded status. I called up the chair of the Culinary Program to talk in May but the conversation did not happen, and I still plan to contact her.  The number of Missing Students statues seemed to be dwindling too, cause unknown. I counted and photographed the ones that remained, and looked into a few of the Missing Students on display in the library.  One staff member sent me some photos of some Statues that had been put on a loading dock of the main library, a worrisome location.

When I reported on the statues at the Works of Art Committee, and mentioned the loading dock, retired librarian Julia Bergman, who knows the building inside out, took me to the loading dock. We found nothing.  Later she e-mailed me and said she noticed some by a fence in the Recycling Yard, on the outer edges of the campus.

Statues by CCSF Recycling Yard fence

Statues by CCSF Recycling Yard fence

In June, I finally wandered over to the Recycling Yard while visiting campus to prepare for a summer class.  Three were lined up behind a fence next to the gate, figures in a garden.  A few feet away was a grey abstract sculpture, which was an MS statue that had been sliced into sections, and  held together by some kind of metal backbone structure.  Though these four statues seemed to have found a comfortable resting space, what I found across the Yard was more unsettling.

Recycling Yard, CCSF

Recycling Yard, CCSF

Bordered by a fence and pine trees sheltering the campus from the 280 Freeway, and surrounded by discarded desks, a dumpster, and scores of blue recycling bins, stood about twenty Missing Students statues. Many were on the same wooden carts they had stood on in the cafeteria. A few were lying down.  Others were lined up against the fence, awaiting fate. I’m sure the workers who placed them in large planter pot were both saving space and securing them, but it certainly looks like they are on their way out.

Statues by edge of Recycling Yard

Statues by edge of Recycling Yard

Further to the left was a caged statue, and furthest off, framed by weeds and blue recycling bins, was the “wheel of fortune” statue, having lost its carnival-esque luster, and looking like a more pathetic victim than ever.

"Wheel of Fortune" statue

“Wheel of Fortune” statue

Their artistic qualities vary, but they are imperiled representations of real students whose fate remains very uncertain. Are they headed for the dump?


Below is photographic account of my tour of the CCSF Recycling Yard on June 2013.IMG_0093 IMG_0095 IMG_0096 IMG_0085 IMG_0071 IMG_0066 IMG_0067 IMG_0070 IMG_0063 IMG_0062 IMG_0049 IMG_0038 IMG_0040 IMG_0036 IMG_0026 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0053 IMG_0058 IMG_0006 IMG_0030 IMG_0011 IMG_0032 IMG_0012 IMG_0024 IMG_0022

This entry was posted in CCSF Student Statues, Local Politics, Uncategorized, Visual Art On Campus. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Missing Students Go Missing at CCSF

  1. Louise Nayer says:

    Great piece-wonderfully descriptive and shows the sad state of things at the moment at the college–as more students will be missing this fall because of the accreditation committee!

  2. Maxine says:

    Such a poignant piece. Isn’t there someone at CCSF who could take up this case of vandalism?


  3. jgoldtho says:

    Thank you for comments, Louise and Maxine. The statues do have many friends at CCSF (the Works of Art committee especially), but the loss of accreditation means greater outside control. We need to build a community of support.

  4. Norma says:

    Really wonderful piece, Jeff. I want a photo of you, with a caption: the author

  5. Chris says:

    nice!… lots of irony here, should get the word out further… and larger photos please!

  6. jessedrew says:

    Great piece. How come I can’t see who wrote this though?

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