Tourism For Locals: Precita Eyes Paints the City Pretty

Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
Adding color to the drab sky of SF.

San Francisco is colorful, there's no doubt about it, and San Francisco's murals reflect this in their vibrant hues.

This art form serves a dual purpose: besides being pleasing to the eye, murals are meant to be educational and uplifting. A classic example is the work done by San Francisco's very own Precita Eyes Muralists, a legendary community-based and non-profit arts collective located in the Mission District.

Established in 1977 by Susan and Luis Cervantes, Precita Eyes is one of only a handful of community mural arts centers in the United States and is responsible for more than 400 murals in San Francisco and abroad.

An example of a Precita Eyes mural in Balmy Alley

Influenced by Las Mujeres Muralistas, the first collaborative group of women muralists in the United States, Susan Cervantes applied the same process of accessible, community art to any size mural or age group through community mural workshops as a form of empowerment for the artists and community simultaneously.

According to its history, Precita Eyes began when the group painted the portable mural "Masks of God, Soul of Man" for the Bernal Heights Library. The group signed the piece as Precita Eyes Muralists -- a sign of being a collaborative effort.

The name of the organization originates from the fact that most of the muralists were from the Precita Park neighborhood in San Francisco.

Today, the group, in addition to organizing a plethora of mural projects, runs a small art supply store, holds walking tours and teaches classes for residents and visitors alike. Visit their center at the intersection of 24th and Harrison streets, and be prepared to be lost in a world of color, vivid imagery, and history. At Precita Eyes, one will learn the art behind the art and truly feel invigorated with over 30 years of community activism and passion for the beautification of San Francisco: its walls and citizens alike.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

My Voice Nation Help

The mural pictured in Balmy Alley is actually by Martin Travers called "A New Dawn". He is a good friend of Precita Eyes, and although we love this mural we cannot take credit for his amazing contribution to Balmy Alley. Great article though!

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