Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Heart art includes gay artist, LGBT themes


"SF Sunflowers" heart sculpture by Marconi Calindas
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A gay artist and gay themes are part of this year's Hearts in San Francisco series and the 2016 sculptures will debut next week at the annual Heroes and Hearts luncheon and Hearts After Dark at AT&T Park.

The heart art and events are a benefit for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, which raises funds for the hospital, now known formally as the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

Over the past decade, the Hearts in San Francisco series has raised more than $13 million, which provides funding for innovative initiatives and programs at the hospital that might otherwise go unfunded.

In 2015, 28 Hearts grants were funded, totaling over $1 million in support. For those close to the cause, they're continuing the momentum this year.

"Our 'heartworks' have become iconic to the San Francisco landscape and the unveiling of each year's heart sculpture series is a much anticipated and celebrated event," said Amanda Heier, executive director of the SFGH foundation. "Hearts in San Francisco serves as a stunning visual reminder that Zuckerberg San Francisco General offers the very best care to everyone in our increasingly diverse community."

For the 2016 series, 19 artists were selected to represent the unique artistic landscape of San Francisco, in addition to highlighting the wide range of residents that the hospital serves.

Marconi Calindas, an artist who married his husband after Proposition 8 was overturned in 2013, was inspired by the LGBT community. His large heart, "SF Sunflowers," portrays how "San Franciscans are vibrant and have always been full of color."

The Philippines-born artist noted that a majority of his art evokes a theme that surrounds the struggles of the global LGBT community.

"I have always believed in creating art not just for art's sake but to convey a message that can move and change the society," he said.

"Love Wins" heart sculpture by Laura Lineback

For artist Laura Lineback, it's her second time being featured in the Hearts series. She finds that educating the public is both a rewarding and necessary duty. Lineback, an ally who describes herself as "heteroflexible," was also inspired by her father, who died three years ago from a heart attack.

Her table-top heart is titled "Love Wins," and features the colors of the rainbow flag.

"Knowing my work will aid in the cost of a foundation that helps people in need of important health care is powerful and special. It goes beyond art for art's sake and gives real purpose to the work," said Lineback. "I'm mostly interested in getting people to understand what the hearts are about. So many people love the hearts and take their picture with them daily, but they don't know what they represent."

For her, knowledge and awareness is key.

In addition to the gay artist and LGBT-themed heart sculptures, one of this year's heroes who will be recognized next week is a gay man.

James Larson has been dedicated to eye and vision care at Zuckerberg San Francisco General since the 1980s. Larson began as a technician in the clinic and has played a key role in preserving and restoring the sight of thousands of patients over the years. He is now a supervisor of the clinic in the Department of Ophthalmology. During the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Larson was a stabilizing force of compassionate care at the epicenter of the Cytomegalovirus retinitis outbreak that caused blindness for many patients.

Later, Larson was the leader and driving force behind the hospital's eye care outreach program, the Eye Van, bringing vision services to patients throughout the city who are unable to travel to Zuckerberg San Francisco General for care.

Area residents can see the 2016 hearts as they will join other privately-owned sculptures on display throughout the city.

The annual Hearts Signature Events – Heroes and Hearts luncheon and Hearts After Dark – take place Thursday, February 18, on the field at AT&T Park. Tickets to the luncheon are $300; general admission to the nighttime event is $100. For more information, visit


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