Dewey Crumpler (born 1949) is an artist, muralist, painter, and professor. He was born in Arkansas and raised in Hunters Point in San Francisco. He currently lives in Berkeley. During his formative years, and after witnessing the erasure of Black history and other identities and cultures from his education, Crumpler was motivated to create art that examines racism in the United States. He received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1972, an MA from San Francisco State University, and an MFA from Mills College. He has worked as an Associate Professor of painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. In the early 1970s, he was involved in Civil Rights activism and met artist Emory Douglas and other members of the Black Panther Party. In 1968, he created his first commissioned mural, The Children of San Francisco, at Steiner and Ellis. Formative encounters and lessons from artists Pablo O’Higgins and David Alfaro Siqueiros heavily influenced his murals in 1970. Crumpler’s interest in both Mexican muralismo and community murals that depict and celebrate their residents connect him to the artists and projects featured in Proyecto Mission Murals. Crumpler depicts African American mythos and culture by representing and celebrating Black people, using techniques that refer to Abstract Expressionism and Mexican Muralismo. Among his well known murals are Education is Truth (1971), The Fire Next Time (1977), and A Celebration of African and African American Artists (1984). His most well-known mural, Multi-Ethnic Heritage (1974), was part-response, part-subversion of Victor Arnautoff’s Life of Washington mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco. Despite this context, Crumpler helped save Arnautoff's murals when the San Francisco School Board threatened their destruction in 2019, by speaking publicly about both works and explaining that removing Arnautoff's art would destroy the context for his art.
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