Tuesday, August 11, 2009

KQED: Bowling for San Francisco

The biggest cultural smackdown in San Francisco for years has ended, but with no clear winner. In one corner, Gap founder Donald Fisher has been forced to abandon his plan to build a monumental new gallery in the Presidio, but he hasn't had to give up on his vanity art project completely. Let's face it, anyone looking to spend $100 million on a showcase for a billion-dollar art collection is unlikely to have too much trouble finding an alternate location. Meanwhile, the venerable Presidio Bowling Center, which was facing destruction to make way for Don's mega art shack, has escaped the wrecking ball for now, but its long-term future is still far from secure.

You may think I'm overstating the cultural signifigance of this battle royal, and you're probably right. The Fisherarium was never going to make much of an impact on the arts scene of an area already well served with internationally renowned exhibition spaces. But the Presidio Bowling Center is a different matter. It's pretty much the only place to roll in San Francisco, and losing it would leave a deep gap (no pun intended) in the city's leisure landscape.

Of course, my perspective on the importance of bowling may be a little skewed...

By Keith Laidlaw. Read the full article here.