By now you probably all have noticed the gigantic dandelions that popped up about a month ago on Market Street by the UN Plaza Fountain as well as across the street. These sculptures, dubbed Market Street Blooms, are the work of artist Karen Cusolito. They are the result of a partnership between the Black Rock Arts Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission as part of the second round Art in Storefronts program to revitalize the Mid-Market area through public art (good luck with that).

Launched in December 2010 with three site-specific light installations, Art in Storefronts and the ARTery Project is an initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (with $250,000) aimed at revitalizing the Central Market commercial corridor into a “nationally-celebrated cultural destination”. The latest Art in Storefronts (AIS) pieces (six storefront installations and five murals) will be officially unveiled at a launch party happening today (Friday), May 13, from 5−7 pm (with an after-party from 8-10 pm).

Today’s launch festivities, which will kick off outside Gaffta, will include include a neighborhood procession, receptions at three Market Street galleries, the debut of the Market Street Blooms sculptures, the unveiling of two murals by the Mayor, live music, and Off the Grid food trucks. Here some more details from the press release:

Mayor Ed Lee will join Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel to kick off the festivities outside of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts at 998 Market Street with an unveiling of two murals. Gamelan X, a Balinese fusion ensemble, will lead a procession up Market Street where the public may catch performances by the John Brothers Piano Company; the Jaz Sawyer Trio, and the Space Cowboys DJ Collective performing on their hi-tech mobile sound system called The Unimog at U.N. Plaza. The public may play on Bulbous, a temporary wall of drums created by Office Division at U.N. Plaza, or meet the artists who will be stationed at their installations giving impromptu art talks throughout the event. In addition, the luggage store will debut artist Keith Agoada’s installation of living plants called City of Green, which transforms the exterior wall between the gallery’s second and third floor windows. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts will host a closing for their TRANSMUTATIONS exhibition in their new space, and Central City Hospitality House Community Art Program will hold a closing party for their Identity Theory exhibition.