Press Office Event

Mural Art, Activism, and Community Celebrated at SFMOMA This Fall

Mini Mural Festival, Documentary Film, Community Partnerships and More Explore Bay Area History and Mural-Making Today

Released: September 06, 2022 · Download (283 KB PDF)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 6, 2022)— On the occasion of the landmark exhibition Diego Rivera’s America, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announces a vast range of fall programs and projects inspired by the art, activism and community that animated Rivera’s practice, the vibrant mural movement in San Francisco’s Mission District and continues to galvanize Bay Area art today. This fall SFMOMA welcomes visitors to join the host of exciting activities taking place within and outside the museum walls.


Launches this week

In the 1970s in San Francisco’s Mission District, mural making culture came to life, building on traditions of activism, expression and community-building through public art that continue today. Created in close collaboration with a Community Advisory Group including Juana Alicia, Susan Cervantes, Lydia Chavez, Tim Drescher, John Jota Leaños, Fátima Ramírez, Josué Rojas and Melissa San Miguel Quintana, along with project editor Cary Cordova, Proyecto Mission Murals is an interdisciplinary project that examines the origins of this movement from 1972 to 1988. This summer, in tandem with Diego Rivera’s America, SFMOMA released the initial phase of the project, a bilingual digital resource on sfmoma.org with documentation and reference images for approximately 100 murals. Launching this week, an expanded digital publication adds four original essays, 20 oral histories conducted with artists and other key figures in the movement, research materials including periodicals and video footage from the time, 25 artist biographies and additional mural documentation.

Other components of this multimedia project include an experimental audio guide and a documentary film. Mission Muralismo Audio Zine Vol. I takes listeners on a stroll through the Mission District to learn about the murals and the artists who collaborated to create them. In the 48-minute story narrated by Camilo Garzón, local writers Olivia Peña and Josiah Luis Alderete interweave their perspectives on the history of the Mission Muralismo movement with recollections from the muralists themselves. The audio zine was nominated for a 2022 Webby Award for Arts & Culture podcasts.

The documentary, Las Muralistas: Our Walls, Our Stories, directed by Javier Briones and edited by Claudia Escobar in partnership with SFMOMA, is a 25-minute film centering the voices of women artists and muralists whose works cover the walls of San Francisco’s Mission District. The first screening of the film will be in SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Theater on October 8. Additional screenings will be held at Brava Theater and City College of San Francisco (CCSF) later in the fall. Visit sfmoma.org additional information coming soon.


September 10 and 11, 2022

In 1940, more than 65 artists made their creative processes public when they participated in Art in Action, an exhibition of live art making conceived by architect Timothy L. Pflueger as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. Among these artists was Diego Rivera, who during this time painted the mural Pan American Unity, on view now in SFMOMA’s free-to-visit Roberts Family Gallery. SFMOMA’s Mini Mural Festival, now in its second year, takes inspiration from this historical connection. On September 10 and 11, 11 a.m.–4p.m., SFMOMA’s Mini Mural Festival returns with a group of artists including the last BFA/MFA students to attend San Francisco Art Institute (September 10) and a selection of high school students with Youth Art Exchange (September 11), live painting murals in the outdoor corridor adjacent to the museum between Howard and Natoma Streets. Artists will paint 8‘x12’murals outdoors throughout the day, while music, performances and other fun surprises complement the art experience. Murals will be temporarily displayed at the museum before returning to partner organizations.

For Free Family Day on Sunday, September 11, families are also invited to visit SFMOMA’s Koret Education Center on Floor 2 for hands-on art making with Youth Art Exchange, pick up a family kit with a sketchbook, participate in a Rivera-themed story time in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and join a treasure hunt exploring Diego Rivera’s artwork. On Free Family Days, SFMOMA offers free admission for up to four adults accompanying a child 18 and younger. Visitors 18 and younger can always enjoy free SFMOMA admission.

About SFAI
The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent art schools in the United States. SFAI led some of the most significant art movements of the last century—including Abstract Expressionism, Bay Area Figuration, Color Field, California Funk and the Mission School—and has embodied a spirit of experimentation, risk-taking and innovation. While SFAI closed its academic programs and campus on June 30, 2022, it remains a nonprofit organization. Its Board of Trustees has created an independent nonprofit foundation to protect its name, archives and legacy.

About Youth Art Exchange
Youth Art Exchange sparks a shared creative practice between professional artists and public high school students, furthering youth as leaders, thinkers and artists in San Francisco. Since 2000, Youth Art Exchange has connected more than 15,000 San Francisco public high school youth to the arts—and to artists and peers—in a vibrant creative community.


Starting October 6, 2022

Beginning Thursday, October 6, 2022, Acción Latina will be the new community partner in residence in the museum’s free-to-visit Koret Education Center on Floor 2. Acción Latina’s Community Residency exhibition, The ‘80s Matter in the Mission, pays tribute to the Latinx organizers and artists who responded to the AIDS epidemic and the immigration of Central American refugees to San Francisco’s Mission District in the 1980s. Co-curators Fátima Ramírez and Paul S. Flores address the overwhelming loss experienced during this pivotal time through a series of commissions by local artists that evoke the vibrant ritual of Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead). Acción Latina: The ‘80s Matter in the Mission will be on view from October 6, 2022 through Winter 2023.

About Acción Latina
Acción Latina is an arts and media nonprofit organization based in the Mission, San Francisco’s Latino Cultural District. It promotes cultural arts, community media and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities. Acción Latina publishes El Tecolote newspaper, a legacy award-winning bilingual publication that has served the community for over five decades. It is also home to the Juan R. Fuentes Gallery, which features emerging and established Latinx artists and Paseo Artístico, a community-curated bilingual arts walk that showcases multidisciplinary programming year-round. Acción Latina’s extensive archives provide context, documenting the impact of Latino culture in San Francisco over the last 52 years.

Visitors are invited to the free, public opening of the exhibition on Thursday, October 6 from 5–9 p.m., coinciding with the museum’s free First Thursdays program.


October 8 and 9, 2022
October 27, 2022

A two-day symposium on October 8 and 9, The Art of Murals brings together artists, activists and scholars in conversation about the community mural movement in the Mission and beyond. Building on the museum’s new digital resource, Proyecto Mission Murals, the symposium will explore subjects including identity, borders, migration, gender, labor and gentrification through mural making. Featuring a keynote by artist Amalia Mesa-Bains, the event will be centered around themed panels exploring the evolution of mural technology and technique, the iconic locations and community arts organizations that have supported mural making in San Francisco, as well as the politics of resistance and civic and social justice that underscore artwork on the street in direct conversation with the public.

Opening remarks will be given by Cary Cordova, associate professor of American Studies at University of Texas, Austin and project editor of Proyecto Mission Murals, and Tomoko Kanamitsu, Barbara and Stephan Vermut Director of Public Engagement. Panels will be hosted by James Oles, guest curator of Diego Rivera’s America; John Jota Leaños, professor of Film & Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Mauricio Ernesto Ramirez, UC Presidents and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Davis. Artists Michael Rios, Irene Perez, Jim Dong, Mia Galaviz, Daniel Galvez, Jessica Sabogal, Eduardo Pineda, Ray Pátlan, Luccia Ippolito, Susan Cervantes, Marina Perez-Wong and Patricia Rose along with scholars, Luis Vargas Santiago, Kristaan Villela and Gabriela Rodríguez-Gómez. The event will include the museum premiere of the documentary, Las Muralistas: Our Walls, Our Stories.

This program will affirm the vital influence of community mural making on the history and culture of not only the San Francisco Bay Area region but worldwide. Significantly, it will address how artists have radically transformed the relationship between art and public life, and in turn, how they might transform the institution of the museum.

On Thursday, October 27, 2022, in partnership with City College of San Francisco (CCSF), SFMOMA will present a talk with artist Esteban del Valle at the CCSF Ocean Campus, part of an ongoing lecture series on artists and social change. At the museum, a series of programs in front of Rivera’s Pan American Unity mural over the fall will explore intersections between art and labor. Co-organized by CCSF’s Labor and Community Studies chair James Tracy, they will feature poetry readings, songs by the Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus and talks on the history of resistance movements, racism and organized labor.

Visit sfmoma.org/events for forthcoming details about fall events.

Annual membership begins at $120, and members enjoy free admission and priority ticketing for special exhibitions with advanced reservations, as well as complimentary guest passes (varies by membership level). Adult general admission to SFMOMA is $25; admission for seniors 65 years and older is $22; and admission for visitors ages 19 through 24 is $19. The special exhibition Diego Rivera’s America has an additional surcharge for all visitors 19 years and over: $10 weekdays, $12 weekends and holidays (prices subject to change). Guests who purchase their tickets online in advance will receive a $2 discount.

General Admission and special exhibitions for all visitors 18 years and younger is free. For local Bay Area residents, SFMOMA’s First Thursdays offer free admission and no surcharge from 1–8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. On Free Family Days, general admission to the museum is free for up to four adults accompanying one child or teen (18 and younger). For City College of San Francisco students, staff and faculty, admission to Diego Rivera’s America is free with CCSF ID. Participants in “Discover & Go” and “San Francisco Museums for All” programs receive free admission with no surcharge. Special exhibition tickets will need to be reserved on-site and will be available first come, first served, depending on gallery capacity and ticket availability.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Fridays through Tuesdays and 1–8 p.m. on Thursdays (closed Wednesdays). Current visitor information can be found at sfmoma.org/visit.


Proyecto Mission Murals
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, MA-10-19-0250-19.

Este proyecto ha sido posible en parte por el Instituto de Servicios de Museos y Bibliotecas, MA-10-19-0250-19.

The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this digital publication do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Mini Murals Festival
Major support for education and public programs associated with Pan American Unity and Diego Rivera’s America is provided by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

Free Family Day
Support for Free Family Days is provided by the John & Marcia Goldman Family Free Sundays Endowment Fund and The Hearst Foundations.
Generous support for Art Kits is provided by Deborah and Kenneth Novack and PwC

First Thursday
Major support for First Thursdays is provided by the Hearst Foundations, illy and United Airlines. Generous support is provided by Nancy and Alan Schatzberg and Kay Harrigan Woods. Additional support is provided by the Kelson Foundation, Susan Swig, and Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.

Diego Rivera’s America
The presenting sponsors for Diego Rivera’s America are Bank of America, the Neal Benezra Exhibition Fund, the Davidow Family Fund for Exhibitions of Modern Art, the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Helen and Charles Schwab, and anonymous donor. Major support is provided by the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, the Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and catalogue do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Generous support is provided by Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Jessica and Matt Farron, Linda and Jon Gruber, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, Lydia Shorenstein, and Margaret V. B. Wurtele. Generous support for the catalogue is provided by Mary Leonard Robinson. Research and planning support is provided in part by the Koret Foundation. This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Major in-kind support provided by BARTable and Modern Luxury. Additional in-kind support is provided by Cumulus Media. SFMOMA is grateful to the Mexican Government’s Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL) for their collaboration on this exhibition.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States and a thriving cultural center for the Bay Area. Our remarkable collection of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts is housed in a LEED Gold-certified building designed by the global architects Snøhetta and Mario Botta. In addition to our seven gallery floors, SFMOMA offers 45,000 square feet of free, art-filled public space open to all.

Visit sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

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Image credit: photo by Beth LaBerge, courtesy SFMOMA

Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
Rebecca Herman 415.357.4174 rherman@sfmoma.org