New Public Art Emphasizes Sense of Community in Downtown San Mateo

Harumo Sato Kiku Crossing San Mateo Bay Area MidPen Housing art parking garage Peninsula Caltrain
Artist Harumo Sato

Large-Scale Murals Installed on City of San Mateo’s and MidPen Housing’s Kiku Crossing Redevelopment

San Mateo, CA — Diversity, community bonding and natural elements are welcoming themes of a new large-scale public art installation that now adorns a City-sponsored redevelopment in downtown.

The City of San Mateo and nonprofit developer MidPen Housing are partnering to create Kiku Crossing, a 100% affordable housing community that includes a new 5-story publicly-accessible parking garage currently under construction at Fifth and Railroad avenues.

Harumo Sato, a Japanese visual artist who lives in the Bay Area, was selected to create the three murals that stand up to 54-feet tall on the Kiku Crossing parking garage. The prominent location means many visitors, residents and Caltrain riders will be able to appreciate the work that marks one of the largest public art installations downtown.

Sato was chosen from over 140 artists through a competitive public process that involved input from local high school students and selection by the City’s Civic Arts Committee. She drew inspiration from the project’s name kiku, which represents the chrysanthemum flower in Japanese.

“The artwork promotes community bonding through visualizations of working together, gathering together, and encouraging harmonious life with local fauna and flora. I would like to treat kiku/Chrysanthemum as a symbol of diversity since there are an abundance of different shapes and colors. Each panel has a different way and variety to visualize kiku and reflects the unique diverse community in San Mateo,” Sato said.

The murals are the 28th public art installation created as part of the City’s Art in Public Places program, which requires new developments to incorporate public art or support its expansion by contributing in lieu fees. Established in 2004, the program has contributed to over $6 million worth of public art in San Mateo.

Kiku Crossing is currently under development and is transforming two city-owned surface parking lots into much-needed affordable housing along the transit corridor. The parking garage is expected to open in Spring 2023, while the new affordable housing building will open in 2024.

Kiku Crossing Redevelopment Details

  • 100% affordable, 7-story apartment building with 225 units at 480 E. Fourth Ave.
  • 5-story parking garage with 688 spaces, including 524 publicly-accessible spaces at 400 E. Fifth Ave.
  • City is contributing land under long-term ground lease and $12.5 million towards construction.
  • Funding for the anticipated $170 million development also includes: a $5.2 million loan from the County of San Mateo, a $3.8 million loan from HEART of San Mateo County, loans from the California Housing Finance Agency, financing from Bank of America, federal tax credits, and tax exempt bonds.

Learn about Kiku Crossing at www.cityofsanmateo.org/kiku and artist Harumo Sato at www.harumosato.com.

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