Where there was once vandalism, there is now art!
Two Mission buildings outfitted with murals by local artists to combat persistent graffiti through the City’s StreetSmARTS Program
SAN FRANCISCO – A joint program of San Francisco Public Works and the Arts Commission, StreetSmARTS pairs artists with private property owners who have received Notices of Violation for the removal of graffiti on their buildings. Through this program, Mission District property owners Dolores Chong and Yan Kit and Judy Cheng, were able to receive a subsidy for murals on their buildings, a proven strategy to deter frequent vandalism. Painted by San Francisco-based artists Michele Fleck and Cameron Moberg, the murals add to the Mission’s world-famous mural collection.
“It’s wonderful to see property owners participating in this program and the sense of civic pride it engenders to be a part of a solution that adds beauty and interest to the neighborhood,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “We are grateful to Public Works for being open to engaging local artists in their efforts to keep the city beautiful.”
“With StreetSmARTS, we are able to take blank walls that get blighted by graffiti and turn them into vibrant art for the whole community to enjoy,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “The City spends $20 million a year to combat graffiti vandalism, and we know from past experience that murals are an effective deterrent. Working with artists and property owners to tackle the blight is a wise investment.”
Located at 285 Bartlett Street, Michele Fleck’s colorful mural “explores the intersection of nature and the manmade.” Geometric shapes frame the building’s garage doors, which feature plant forms springing from the sidewalk. According to the artist, “this mural was an opportunity to expand the themes found in my studio practice onto a larger scale. The shapes and imagery interact with the architecture of the building on which they are placed, and vibrant colors convey a sense of energy and flux.”
Cameron Moberg’s mural at 2070 Mission Street (pictured right) depicts a brightly colored and patterned bird flying above a San Francisco cityscape. During the process, Moberg bonded with the property owners John and Judy Cheng, and the mural became a way for him to give back to the neighborhood he loves.
“John and Judy immigrated here to San Francisco over 20 years ago. They’ve worked hard and they contribute to their community in the Mission” stated Moberg. “I appreciate that they let me paint their building so I could give back to the neighborhood that basically raised me in Street Art. The Mission district thrusted me into art. I loved being a youngster there, with its beautiful architecture and colorful alleyways. Thank you to the Mission writers before me. You inspired me growing up and you continue to do so today. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for you.”