1970: Apprenticeship and job training at the Shipyard
Community organizers from the Navy orchestrate the Pre-Apprenticeship Program, one of the most successful local job training efforts in the U.S. at the time. The program recruits youth from the Bayview-Hunters Point community to work in shipyard shops. At its apex in 1973, the program employs 119 young people. By offering training and valuable paid work experience, the program turns out “a tremendous number of very, very good employees who know their trade well because they were trained by the old timers.”
1974: A base decommissioned
In 1974, the US Navy decommissions the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and leases the facilities to private tenants. Triple A Machine Shop, a commercial ship repair company, takes over the majority of the space.
Meanwhile, others start to trickle in. Though it still goes by its popular name—The Hunters Point Shipyard—the area begins to cultivate a new identity as a crucible for artistic production.
1976: A sculptor discovers the shipyard
After the Navy opens up the shipyard to private ventures, sculptor Jacques Terzian sublets a warehouse and transforms it into an artist’s studio. He sets up a company, Patterns Ltd., which designs, fabricates and installs a distinctive class of found-object, industrial and detritus-based art. Terzian creates furniture and installations whose influence spreads from California to New York and abroad.
This is a homecoming of sorts for Terzian. He had learned to weld in Richmond, CA, and worked on repair crews at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard during World War II.
Back on home soil, as it were, Terzian lays the foundation for a radical reimagining of the Shipyard’s purpose. He invites friends and colleagues to open their own studios nearby.