Precita Eyes Muralists Association

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As an inner city, community-based mural arts organization, Precita Eyes Muralists Association seeks to enrich and beautify urban environments and educate communities locally and internationally about the process and the history of public community mural art. We maintain a deep commitment to collaborating with the various communities we serve. Our dedication to collaboration guarantees that creative work produced is accessible, both physically and conceptually, to the people whose lives it impacts. We intend to bring art into the daily lives of people through a process which enables them to reflect their particular concerns, joys and triumphs. [1]

Location

2981 24th St, San Francisco

Contact Information

nfo@precitaeyes.org

Founders

Susan Cervantes and Luis Cervantes

Dates of Operation

1977- present

Type of Space

Store and Tours Offered

Community Served

Additional Information and Resources

Oral History

For Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces we interviewed Susan Cervantes the Founding Director of Precita Eyes Muralists Association in the Mission District of San Francisco. As a community-based mural arts organization, Precita Eyes Muralists Association looks to simultaneously beautify and educate the local community about mural art.

[Alexandra Fulks] Precita Eyes brings art into the community in such direct and accessible ways, what do you see as the benefit of both taking people out into the neighbourhood as well as bringing the community into your space?

[Susan Cervantes] The benefit is that they can see themselves in the mural that they’ve designed and created so they feel ownership of it and they get to express their own voices in the process. They get to work with other people, which is not usual, and they might find that really rewarding and bonding within the community. In terms of people that come to our space, they are excited about our space. They see a load of visual imagery that stimulates them and gives them ideas. They learn about the process of community murals and the history about them, the stories behind them. They get to meet the artists on a lot of occasions. People enjoy the environment that we’ve created.

[AF] Being based in the Mission, Precita Eyes is part of a community that has undergone a huge amount of change in the last few years, how has your role changed over that time?

[SC] It’s changed but not everything has changed. Fortunately the change doesn’t turn everything over to where it has completely disappeared. We are in the process of trying to preserve the cultural legacies of the Mission District, and particularly the 24th street corridor which we are a big part of. It just recently was declared the Latino Cultural District. We are restoring the murals that are along the corridor and creating new ones that are around themes of respect or people who have contributed to the mission over the last few decades so that people can learn about them, recognize them and the importance of the contributions that they have made to the community. What gives the Mission its flavor is our ability to live in the Mission. We are doing everything we can to make people more and more aware of those things.

[AF] Precita Eyes manages to serve its core community as well as a large number of tourists and visitors from all over, can you speak about catering to your diverse audience?

[SC] We have our tours that serve probably around 7000 people a year mostly school groups that come from all different parts of the Bay Area and beyond who are interested in seeing the mural environment and learning how they got there who did them why they did them. So we have very diverse groups that come from all different backgrounds and experiences and when we are out in the community working with the community on particular murals it also is often very diverse groups of people that we work with and the designing and planning of the murals so we touch hundreds and thousands of people through that process. Of course the mural itself as it’s completed continues to be its own event and touches people’s eyes and minds and hearts with its presence.


The exhibition: Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Spaces is on view from July 9th – August 20th, 2015.

About the Author: Alexandra Fulks is a senior at California College of the Arts and a Communications Intern at SOMArts Cultural Center.[2]


About This Article

As part of Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area, curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with “SHELLMOUNDS,” the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.

In trying to survey our past, these are just a few of the countless stories we have to draw upon. We cannot tell them all since not all books will fit on one shelf. However, we hope that viewers will enjoy browsing this collection and be reminded of the deep roots of creativity, diversity, love and political liberation that have made the Bay Area so special. We have made our selections in the spirit of James Baldwin and Take This Hammer in order to highlight stories of uncompromising clarity and courageous artistic vision.

Timeline Bookshelf.png

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.

Sources

  1. http://www.precitaeyes.org/about.html, 7-1-15
  2. http://www.somarts.org/precitaeyesinterview/, 7-1-15