Global Public Art Initiative

Portals Connecting San Francisco to the World Comes to Crissy Field

July 11, 2017


Ranger Michele Gee experiences the Portal

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2017

Emma Saperstein, Shared_Studios; 312.848.7537.

Veda Banerjee, Parks Conservancy
Director of Communications & Digital Marketing or 415 561 3082

Gold Shipping Containers Allow Visitors To Interact Face To Face With Someone in an Identical Portal Elsewhere in the World

SAN FRANCISCO: The National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are partnering with Shared_Studios and Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions to present the San Francisco Portal at Crissy Field. Portals—gold shipping containers equipped with immersive audiovisual technology located in public sites around the world—help connect people across the globe in the spirit of understanding each other’s cultures and experiences. Portals is an ongoing global initiative created by Shared_Studios and presented in partnership with nonprofits, community groups, and businesses around the world.  

“When you enter a Portal, you come face to face, live, full body, with someone in an identical gold shipping container somewhere else in the world,” said Michelle Moghtader, Co-Founder of Shared_Studios. “Participants use Portals to have a personal connection with someone from another part of the world. They explore the culture and history of other places, talk with one another about their lives, exchange ideas, and collaboratively celebrate, create, perform, and play together. We’re especially excited for the relaunch of the Portal in San Francisco, as it will be our first solar-powered Portal thanks to Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions. Many of our conversations will focus on topics such as climate, the environment, sustainability, and public space.”

The San Francisco Portal at Crissy Field will connect to the entire Portals network, including sites in Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Germany, Rwanda, and Mexico. The Portal at Crissy Field is presented in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy as part of its Art in the Parks initiative. Participants at the San Francisco Portal at Crissy Field are invited to enter the Portal to converse live with an individual abroad as if in the same room.

“One of the many great things national parks do is connect people to nature.  Through our Art in the Parks program, this Portal takes it a step further by connecting people in our park to people in other nations,” said Acting General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area Cicely Muldoon.  “Innovative art such as the Portal uses technology to stimulate human interaction by connecting individuals from around the globe on a personal level.”

“Our Art in the Parks initiative seeks to bring art to park settings to provide new ways of experiencing and learning about place and to foster wider civic engagement and dialogue around today’s most important social issues,” said Greg Moore, President & CEO of the Parks Conservancy. “Programs like the Portal encourage an exploration and discussion on the interrelationships between art, culture, nature, and our changing world. Our goal is to create meaningful connections for strangers around the world using innovative communications technology.”

The San Francisco Portal will be placed in the heart of the Golden Gate National Parks—at the Crissy East Beach, near the Crissy Field Center, from July 20 through September. It will be open to the public Thursday through Sunday (check for hours). Solar powered by Luminalt, the Portal will be staffed by a Portal Curator, and live language interpretation will be provided. Participation is free, but preregistration is advised. For details, visit

Attn: Calendar Editors 
When: July 20 through September 24, 2017
Where: Crissy Field, at the southeastern corner of the East Beach parking lot. Hours: check for schedule and reservation information. Walk-ins are also encouraged.
Why: Since launch in December 2014, Portals have connected more than 30,000 people across 20 countries in one on one dialogues. We have incredible technology at our fingertips, making it as easy to call someone down the street as across the globe. We harness that technology to connect communities to one another. We envision a world where no matter what the activity—work, exploration, play—people from all walks of life can enjoy the benefits of doing it with other human beings from communities unlike their own. Shared_Studios created Portals and envisions a world where these are permanent fixtures of public spaces around the globe. Community partners have built permanent Portals in diverse locations around the globe, including Syrian refugee camps, American inner cities, Afghan universities, and Mexican public parks. Notable guests have engaged the Portals network, including Barack Obama, Ban Ki moon, John Kerry, Penny Pritzker, Samantha Power, Haider al Abadi, Sergey Brin, Fareed Zakaria, Josh Radnor, Doug Liman and Ewan McGregor. 
Admission: Free

To organize a special pairing, individuals and groups can email or Emma at or contact Sabrina Bedford at

Press RSVP
Press are invited to the Crissy Field Portal launch on Wednesday, July 19, from 2 4 pm For all other times, please RSVP for 20-minute session by visiting

About Portals
Since launch in 2014, Portals have connected more than 40,000 people around the world in intimate, one on one dialogues. Portals exist around the world in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Honduras, Mexico, an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Iraq, a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, and more. Prior Portals participants include U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power; journalists CNN's Fareed Zakaria and FOX's Chris Wallace; directors Doug Liman and Morgan Spurlock; artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Titus Kaphar; and many more. Global media has covered Portals including the New York TimesThe Washington Post ABC, PBSFOX, and many more. Our Portals at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto, CA were attended by President Barack Obama, Secretary John Kerry, Secretary Penny Pritzker, Assistant Secretary Rick Stengel, Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

About Shared_Studios
Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary global art, design, and technology collective focused on carving wormholes across the world. Their first global initiative is Portals. They create other bidirectional environments such as Shared_Playgrounds, Shared_Phones, and Portal buses. For more, please visit

About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization that supports the Golden Gate National Parks—the most visited unit in the national park system in the U.S. Since 1981, the Parks Conservancy has provided over $500 million in aid for site transformations, habitat restorations, research and conservation, volunteer and youth engagement, and interpretive and educational programs. The Conservancy’s work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals, as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Learn more at or call (415) 561 3000.

About the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America’s most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 394 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit or call (415) 561 4700.

About Luminalt Solar
Since its founding in 2004, Luminalt has been dedicated to improving the community in which we live and work by providing clean energy alternatives, employment opportunities, and sustainable economic growth. As part of our work toward this goal, Luminalt became the first workforce development certified solar company in the Bay Area in 2008 and continues to hire 60% of our installers through community-based organizations.

About Art in the Parks
The mission of Art in the Parks is to provide programs to connect our visitors with creative experiences in the park that are transformative, unexpected, and inspirational. Since the earliest days of the National Park Service, artists have drawn inspiration from these parks. Through Art in the Parks, visitors can experience a wide range of site-specific experiences that reflect and respond to the beautiful setting and unique history of the Golden Gate National Parks. Art in the Parks has been highlighted as an element of the National Park Service’s strategic vision for the agency that encourages national parks to illuminate the meaning of parks to new audiences through dance, music, visual arts, writing, and social media. To check out our current and past programs as well as opportunities to get involved, visit