The inclusion of local people in the future-fantasy panel was particularly crucial to the concept of this mural, because I strived to conjure up a vision for a more uplifting, welcoming, convivial and beautiful environment in this neighborhood *without a change in population*—in other words: improvement without gentrification.
For the same reason, I tried to let this utopian painting “grow from below”—through a participatory process that I describe further [here], and through relationships with the neighborhood that were deepened through the sheer length of time spent on this mural, witnessing and engaging with the street.
The inclusion of all these community members made the wall a remarkable meeting place for people of all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. People who had been painted into the mural would repeatedly return along with a posse of friends or family members, and sometimes more than one such group would show up at the same time. When that occurred, they’d often end up talking to each other—even if they belonged to groups that I didn’t usually see interacting in the streets.
I was told several accounts of the mural functioning as a community mixer in this way even when I wasn’t there, for example: “We came last night… and those folks over there whom I always see but never talked to were here too… we ended up shaking hands…”
It is when this type of thing happens that the mural is “working”, and its goals are accomplished.
The Granada theater, later renamed Paramount, was a spectacular art-deco cinema which used to stand directly across the street from the mural. It was torn down as recently as 1965, making room for the current parking lot. Its entrance and façade used to be on Market street.
so much detail and history in Mona Caron’s murals.
The Central Subway is coming, like it or not, and that means Fourth Street will get Muni Metro service starting in 2019. With that in mind, the SF Planning Department recently released the draft Central Corridor Plan, which sets the stage for upzoned transit-oriented development near new stations and street improvements to accommodate a growing population in a rapidly changing section of SoMa.
The Central Corridor Plan also calls for turning several alleyways into pedestrianized public spaces, creating new parks, as well as adding more alleyways required as part of new development.
Central Corridor Plan Envisions Transitways and Safer Streets for SoMa. sf.streetsblog, 13.06.13.
I support the local economy by making tourists buy embroidered SF fleeces at Fisherman’s Wharf because they didn’t realize July is actually winter and all their t-shirts and flip fops aren’t helping them stay warm. —