Maestrapeace Mural Book Please Support Us at bit.ly/maestrapeacebook
Transforming Our 5 Story Mural into a Book: Maestrapeace Muralists of the San Francisco Women’s Building & Author Angela Davis
Please join us to raise funds for our upcoming beautiful book on the MAESTRAPEACE Murals on The San Francisco Women’s Building. The artwork is an homage to their work, which provides urgently needed services to all women, from rape crisis to immigrant services to community organizing of all kinds. In these challenging times, both mural and building are beacons of hope and strength for our communities.
We are thrilled that activist, author and educator, Angela Davis, will write the opening essay for the book. We are turning our building into a book; it’s much easier to carry around. As beloved and valued members of our cultural network, help us “go viral” with positive contagion. Our goal is to raise $50,000 in five weeks, by spreading the word over social media. If we can get 2000 people to give $25 each, we’ll reach our goal. Let’s build a buzz of energy around the project and organize others to spread the word. It takes a village.
The MaestraPeace murals were created by a design and painting team of seven women, thrown together in an arranged marriage through a call for artists sponsored by The Women’s Building in 1992. Our volunteer caligrapher, Olivia Quevedo, contributed the beautiful script throughout the piece. Over one hundred women volunteered to assist us in the creation of the painting. The core team of seven was chosen to collaborate on what was originally a much smaller space, about 10′ x 25′ on the 18th Street facade. Instead, we decided to surprise the mural committee and assembled community at the meeting to show our sketches with a monumental drawing that encompassed both facades. The design was received with great enthusiasm, but there was not sufficient funding for such a project scope. But TWB and the community, including ourselves, committed ourselves to a fundraising effort that included selling women’s names to be “embroidered” on the ribbon that runs through the murals on both facades.
In 2000, the mural was defaced and we had to erase black spray paint full of misogynist and racist epithets. The women’s community camped out around the building to protect the mural in protest, and we restored and anti-graffiti varnished the first fifteen feet high all around the walls.
In 2010, after the building had been retrofitted, we added on to the 18th Street facade around the entrance, and brought the mural inside and upstairs to the second floor, continuing the motifs of textiles of many nations, and ribbons of women’s names.
In 2012, five of the original team as well as many of our students and volunteers, worked for three months to restore the faded and peeling mural, with updated techniques and a sealant/consolidant finish that will protect the mural for many years.
“…Sometimes we are moved to greater heights of creativity when our world seems most threatened to collapse, as I felt during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The Mission lost many talented and brilliant souls to this plague, another sort of war zone. Among them were dramaturges and directors, including Rodrigo Reyes and Hank Tavera, whose artistic legacy and sexual honesty set the stage for the current waves of gay and lesbian theater artists in the Mission community. Having also lost my brother to this horror, on a personal level, this era was marked by a sort of frenzied production; a response of both mourning and rebirth. I did two murals outside of San Francisco, in San Jose and Santa Cruz, before the birth of my daughter Mayahuel in 1993. Three months after her birth, I found myself on the scaffolding of the San Francisco Women’s Building in the company of six other remarkable women, and over one hundred volunteers, in the process of creating the monumental work of MaestraPeace. Described as a “standing ovation to women’s liberation” by sister muralist, Miranda Bergman, the five-story work took us eighteen months to complete, and became a testament to collaboration between women, as well as a visual history of women artists, organizers, scientists, deities and unsung heroines. I continue to feel that this work of public art was the most fulfilling experience of its kind in my lifetime. The dream of projecting positive, life-affirming, powerful and revolutionary images of women for the sake of the Mission community, on an undeniably significant scale was vindicating in so many ways that I never could have predicted. It is a kind of “knocks-you-out” piece where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. MaestraPeace is the true fulfillment of a mural for me: that the skin of the architecture reflects the soul of its function. I am eternally grateful to the organization, my collaborators, the volunteer and passersby who gave me the opportunity to feel this power.” Juana Alicia, from her essay, “Remembering the Mission”