Artist: Wang, Po Shu
Designer: Vallier Design Associates
Dedicated October 30, 2003
Commissioned by the City of Richmond Redevelopment Agency
Lucretia W. Edwards Shoreline Park, named in honor of local community activist Lucretia W. Edwards, honors the wartime contributions made by the Bay Area Shipyards during World War II.
During World War II, the Richmond Marina area was the location of the Kaiser Shipyard. The Shipyard attracted people from all over the country and, as a result, Richmond's population grew dramatically during the war years, from 23,642 to over 100,000. This diverse workforce helped build, in record time, 747 Liberty and Victory ships for use by the United States Navy, playing a critical role in increasing America's productivity. Over 98,000 African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans and women were employed for the first time to work side by side with whites in specialized, high-paying jobs. The mobilization of industry and workers spurred by Government procurement and industry innovation erased the unemployment of the Depression era, doubled wages, and resulted in breakthroughs, sometimes painfully gained, for women and workers of color.
The project artist believes that the significance and meaning of historical events are dependent on the perspective, or lenses, with which they are viewed. The perspective with which history is viewed can act as a lens, focusing meaning inward or outward: magnifying or contracting significance. This lens metaphor is represented in three areas throughout the park. A large quarter-circle plaza at the water's edge represents a convex lens, pushing out towards the future. Nestled at the center point of the outward-focused lens is a much smaller sunken plaza, scored at 15 degrees 15 minutes off true north to represent Richmond's magnetic declination. This concave lens focuses both inward and towards the past. Surrounding the granite map of the Bay Area at the center of the plaza are three shadow figures, two adults and one child. The two adult figures represent liberty and victory and are inscribed with historical definitions of these concepts. The infant figure, left blank, is a representation of the possibilities of the future. Set away from this small plaza is a matching, though convex, lens created by a small grassy hill. The hill offers the visitor a vantage point for contemplation and synthesis.
To highlight the area's shipbuilding efforts, bootprints located throughout the park align visitors toward Bay Area shipyards, and low seating walls are also located on axis with other significant shipyards. The axis' starting point is at the park's highest elevation, in the center of the cul-de-sac that terminates Marina Way at the park. In the sunken plaza, a circular wall surrounding the plaza highlights Kaiser Shipyard, now the site of the Richmond Marina.