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Hues of History: The Many Murals of The Mission District

Hues of History: The Many Murals of The Mission District

By Rachael Medina | Photos by Brin Hanson January 29, 2020

The San Francisco Mission District is known for its incredible cuisine, diverse residents, and endless experiences waiting around every corner. While San Francisco is home to 1,000-plus wall murals, the highest concentration can be found within two miles of Mission Dolores Park. So, if you’re looking for things to do in the Mission District—and truly want to experience this incredible region of the city—the murals have to make their way onto your itinerary. 

Since the Mission District was established, it’s been a hub for immigrants from all over the world. This welcoming urban area has become one of the most interesting destinations, thanks to the various outdoor murals depicting the dreams, anguish, and frustration of local residents. 

Some of the oldest Mission District murals date back to the early 1970s and have faded due to San Francisco’s foggy weather. This historic street art contrasts the vibrant hues of today’s mural designs—which seem to appear on every blank wall, garage door, and fence in the neighborhood. While the ever-changing landscape continues to evolve and new colorful murals are painted each day, we’ve gathered a few of our favorites that illustrate the culture of the Mission District.

Can’t Miss Mural Paintings in The San Francisco Mission District

The power of the Mission District murals is evident as soon as you step off BART at 16th and Mission.
Known as "Golden Dreams of the Mission", this mural by Crayone Tadlock is located at 24th Street and South Van Ness Avenue.
Located at the corner of 24th and Capp streets, the Alto al Fuego en La Misón mural is dedicated to victims of police shootings.
"MaestraPeace" by Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez
Located at 24th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, the murals surrounding House Of Brakes are vibrant illustrations of the local culture.
Towering above House of Brakes, this colorful mural by Daniel Galvez depicts the first Carnaval festival.
Featuring Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and Mother Teresa, this Mission and 22nd streets, this mural by Crayone is very powerful.

Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP)

CAMP has one of the largest collections of murals in the Mission District, with over 700 murals created since 1992. The project aims to produce socially engaged public works of art that support dignity and culture and put respect, compassion, and social justice above all else. 

Tucked between Valencia and Mission streets, this mural by Megan Wilson is titled "Justice". This mural alone has been vandalized at least 11 times.
"Sacred Land" by Sean Levon Nash.
"End Apartheid B.D.S." by Bangkit/Arise and Megan Wilson.
"Bad Hombre" by Sirron Norris sits at the end of Clarion Alley.

Balmy Alley Murals

The Balmy Alley murals are located on Balmy Street, between 24th and 25th Streets. This alleyway is the ideal place to view one of the most concentrated collections of street art murals in San Francisco. What began in the 1980s as a way to express anger has become a slate for discussing human rights, gentrification, and social injustice.  

"Mission Makeover" was painted in 2012 by by Tirso Araiza and Lucia Ippolito.
"Women of the Resistance" was painted in 2018 by Lucia Ippolito.
"Enrique's Journey" by Josue Rojas was inspired by the hardships facing unaccompanied minors coming from Central America.

Rachael Medina

WRITTEN BY Rachael Medina

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