Mission Murals

It was quite unfortunate that it was bucketing down the day we decided to visit the Mission District, the rain didn’t spoil our view of some spectacular artwork. The majority of the art in the district displays a visual history of the immigrant experience, gentrification, and politics peculiar to the area.

As I spotted street art all over San Francisco during my travels, the Mission had a great deal of it. The area has a highly concentrated mix of images and messages that are very particular to the neighbourhood. Many of the images seen below look a bit soggy as I struggled to keep my camera (and myself) dry.

A really spectacular large scale mural I came across on Langton Street in the  SOMO District.   This piece originally painted in 1995 by, a group known as, Precita Eyes it is called “Frisco’s Wild Side”.

Most of the murals in the Mission District can be found concentrated in 2 areas, Clarion Lane and Balmy Alley around 24th Street.  Some of the ones I found before reaching those areas are shown below.

Balmy Alley

This Alley off 24th Street was one of the best places to see a concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco.  Apparently, the murals began in the mid-’80s as an expression of artists’ outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America. Today the alley contains murals on a myriad of styles and subjects from human rights to local gentrification. 

Clarion Lane

Clarion Alley is a small street in San Francisco between Mission and Valencia Streets and 17th and 18th Streets, many of the original murals were painted by the Clarion Alley Mural Project.

The 24th Street Corridor

The murals I found in both Balmy and Clarion were not the only ones in the area, no matter where you looked there were murals, local churches and schools were festooned, almost every shop had its own mural, even the childrens playground was surrounded with murals and featured a sinuous mosaic of a lizard.  Photographs of some of them can be seen below.

One building, in particular, stood out, the Women’s Building, with the Maestrapeace mural on the building, located on 18th street.  The mural is massive. It covers four stories and stretches 165 feet on each of two sides of the building.  The mural, which is covered with portraits of women, was painted by seven women muralists in 1994 and for the past quarter century and has been a must-see mural for tourists in the Mission District.

Rather than looking at my rather wet and miserable photographs take a look at this YouTube video which shows the building and the muralists.

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