August 4, 2010

San Francisco Mission District Murals

Mural across the side of a school along Folsom Street in San Francisco

What do you think of when you hear of or read about the San Francisco neighborhood called the Mission? Nowadays the stories are not as centered around the funky shops or even growing high-end rental property and live/work spaces. You don't see constant references to Dave Eggers, McSweeney's or his literacy project 826 Valencia with its Pirate supply store in tandem to each story about the Mission.

This summer what I have been pleased to see on every excursion to the Mission, besides all the colorful people and food - I see beautiful unexpected murals. There are lots and lots of murals all over the Mission District. You can find them on the sides of huge buildings or covering a small transformer box. Look down an alley and see one or along the wall of a play ground you pass by.

It impresses me that the people have the talent to create these large scale works of art. The murals tell a story, often a cultural story or slice of history.  Most of the murals are centered around the Latino community who also make up most of the fabric of the Mission District today.  I love walking down 24th Street from Dolores because from there until well into the Mission, each corner offers me a chance to glimpse this public art.

Recently what made me really excited?  I walked by a group of tourists taking photos of murals. What was once possibly considered graffiti and something to cover an eyesore, has now entered the art world.  To learn more or take a virtual tour, below are several great resources:

Mission Haiku by Gregg Schoenberg - A Polaroid guide To SF's Mission District Written in Haiku
San Francisco Neighborhoods - 24th Street/Mission
Precita Eyes - Murals of the Mission

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