Stan: The Submerging Man

The beloved work of Northern California artist Finley Fryer, Stan: The Submerging Man, took up fresh roots in a new urban park as part of neighborhood beautification. The work was on display, free to the park’s visitors and community, from May of 2007 till April of 2008.

Stan: The Submerging Man by Finley Fryer
Victoria Manalo Draves Park, San Francisco, California
May 2007 – April 2008
San Francisco, California
May 15, 2007 – June 15, 2008
Reclaimed plastic 18’H x 6’W x 4’D

Stan: The Submerging Man and artist, Finley Fryer.

About the Project

In the spring of 2007, the Black Rock Arts Foundation presented Stan: The Submerging Man in one of San Francisco’s recent neighborhood assets: Victoria Manalo Draves (VMD) Park. The work was uninstalled almost a year later.

Weighing just over a ton and overlooking the park playground from a height of 18 feet, the jewel-like visage of Stan was lit from within; providing a colorful illumination of the sculpture’s fragmented construction of reclaimed plastic toys and colored vinyl demo records.

Detail of Stan: The Submerging Man.

Stan was first exhibited in 1999 at the Burning Man Festival where the sculpture developed an affectionate following. Stan and his creator, Finley Fryer, have since charmed visitors at temporary venues including the Siskyiou County Fair and the Coachella Music Festival.  Stan’s exhibition in VMD Park was a project of the Black Rock Arts Foundation thanks to the tenacity of a local resident, Laura Weil, who tirelessly petitioned the Foundation to bring art to her neighborhood park.

About the Park

Victoria Manalo Draves Park is located in the South of Market (SOMA) district, an area of San Francisco that has long been home to artists and the alternative arts scene. In the mid twentieth century, SOMA was the center of the Filipino-American community and the new park is named after “Vickie” Manalo Draves, the first Asian American Olympiad. The neighborhood still thrives with local organizations and performance groups, many of which contributed to the funding of Stan’s temporary exhibition there.

The Opening Reception celebration for Stan: The Submerging Man.

Located between Folsom and Harrison Streets, VDM Park heralds the community’s desire to create a green oasis in an urban area. Located in the shadow of a freeway, this new two-acre park serves hundreds of neighborhood families and a vibrant arts community. Community members worked with city agencies like the Recreation and Parks Commission to include a play area, dog run, softball field, basketball court and picnic area in the new setting.  For six months Stan: The Submerging Man overlooked the children’s and toddlers play-space. As the city encourages diversity and business in SOMA, its Art in the Park promotes health and creativity and is a natural complement to the recreation experience.

About the Artist

Finley Fryer is a painter, a sculptor and has performed in the films of his friend and noted American photographer, Robert Frank.  Finley received his BFA from University of California, Davis in the mid-1970’s. After graduating, he worked as an itinerant stained-glass restorer, repairing church windows along the West Coast, and soon the translucent nature of stained glass and assemblage became a persistent theme in his artwork.   Fryer‘s monumental sculptures have featured at Burning Man since 1998. He is well known around the world for his whimsical, approachable and engaging creations and Fryer’s use of reclaimed materials (other people’s garbage) continues to challenge conventional assumptions about beauty.

Stan, also known as ‘The Diver,’ was inspired by the main character in the musical ‘Stan’s Room’ created by Kirk Le Claire.


This project was supported by:

  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • The Darby Foundation
  • The Mental Insight Foundation
  • The Winifred and Harry B. Allen Foundation
  • Folsom Street Events
  • The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
  • The Green Door

…and many individual contributors

Generous in-kind support was received from:

  • Degenkolb Engineers
  • Digital Pond
  • The End-Up
  • Mario Rubino
  • MonkeyBoy
  • Jayne Bruck Fryer

Special thanks to our collaborative partner, The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.