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Exhibit at Alley Cat Books Opens June 1, 2019

JUANA ALICIA Featured in San Francisco Art Commission’s PASSPORT 2014



2781 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Llorona G. Llorona, Chalchi from lft side


Passport is Back Again Taking on The Mission

When: Sunday, October 26
Stamping: noon – 4pm
After-Party: 4 – 6pm, Location TBA
Where: The Mission, Calle 24 Cultural District

What is Passport? Launched by the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries in 2009, Passport is an annual outreach event that strives to both broaden exposure of the arts while also enlivening economic development in various neighborhoods across San Francisco. Every year over 400 local participants spend a day visiting varioussmall businesses in one of San Francisco’s lively neighborhoods to create their very own limited edition art book of stamps by local artists.

Participating Artists:  Juana AliciaVal Britton, Enrique Chagoya, Kara Maria, Ranu Mukherjee,Sirron Norris, Kelly Ording, Chris Sollars, Alice ShawBrian Singer, Imin Yeh, Jessica Sabogal, Fred Alvarado and Victor De La Rosa.
Additional artists are still being added to the lineup.

How does it work? Passport participants purchase a customized notebook either prior to or on the day of the event. Ticket sale proceeds offset event costs. (A limited number of passports are distributed free of charge to select host neighborhood nonprofit organizations.) Passport holders then follow a map to various small businesses where emerging and established local artists will stamp their books. The event strives for participants to newly discover one of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, meet local artists, participate in a DIY art collecting experience, and support local businesses all at the same time.

Celebrating neighborhoods and local businesses. Passport takes place in a different neighborhood each year; past neighborhoods included The Mission, The Castro, Hayes Valley, North Beach and the Divisadero Corridor. The selected Passport host venues represent both established and new businesses that define the specific character of each neighborhood.

“When I was approached by the SFAC to participate in Passport 2010 I didn’t know what the impact would be on my business, but I wanted to take part in an event intended to celebrate Hayes Valley merchants. Hundreds of people came into my store throughout the day, and many of them had never been to Zonal before. I even set up free ice cream samples for the Passport holders from my friend who was interested in promoting an ice cream venture in the neighborhood! It was a fun day that delivered on its promise to drive new traffic to my store. I also really enjoyed my time with the artist we hosted!” – Russell Pritchard, Zonal, Hayes Valley.

“For Passport 2013 we partnered with the artist we hosted to create tote bags featuring his artwork. This was an amazing collaboration that creatively and financially benefited both the artist and our store. We really value the new audience Passport brought to Workshop and would recommend the experience to future host businesses.”  – Kelly Malone, Workshop, Divisadero Corridor.

Passport 2014 will be held in The Mission’s Calle 24 Cultural District, one of the Invest in Neighborhoods corridors:

Connecting artists to the community. Each year the 14 – 16 Passport artists that are selected to participate have a direct relationship to the host neighborhood and/or have exhibited at the SFAC Galleries. We select emerging and established artists that embrace the SFAC core value of cultural equity.

Who produces the event? Passport was created, and is organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission, and led by the SFAC Galleries staff and volunteers. The Passport Committee selects the neighborhood and artists, establishes a connection with the location business associations, selects host and sponsoring venues, executes marketing and outreach, and oversees the design and production of promotional materials.

I can’t go that day but I still want a Passport. Help!
Don’t worry, we will stamp it for you. For $125, collectors can purchase a Concierge Passport; gallery staff will collect all the stamps and mail it to the purchaser’s home.

To purchase please call the SFAC Gallery at 415.252.2568 or email Meg Shiffler, gallery director at


Successful Funding Campaign for the Satellite Mural Installation

Update #10: Preparing for Satellite Installation, Launching a New Project

Posted 3 days ago

Hello Friends and Supporters,

First of all, thank you for making the upcoming mural installation possible. For those of you that completed your surveys and sent me your addresses, all backer rewards have been mailed as of today. With an awesome eighty backers, it took me a while to package and mail all of the rewards. The $25 and $100 rewards went out this morning, so please look for them in the next few days. All other rewards went out several weeks ago.

Gonzalo Hidalgo will be starting the installation of the Huehuetlatolli Murals at Satellite Senior Housing between April 15th and 20th, and I am anticipating an early fall inauguration. I will keep you posted. I am currently finishing a new set of murals for the Centro Chicano at Stanford University, and the works in progress can be seen at the following web site: An April installation is anticipated for these as well, with a fall inauguration to follow. I will also invite all backers to that party as well!

Finally, I am directing a new project with my students at Berkeley City College, the True Colors Mural Project for the REALM Charter School in West Berkeley. We are currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for that project as well:
If you can support us in that effort, I would greatly appreciate it. All funds for the project go to Earth Island Institute, our fiscal agent. Therefore, in this case, your donations are also tax deductible! Please watch the REALM School project video and support my students’ work for environmental justice in the public schools.

Many thanks,

Juana Alicia

The meaning of the works is stated eloquently in the poetry of Berkeley elder poet Rafael Jesús Gonzalez, from his piece Huehuetlatolli: The Wisdom of Elders, which was a key inspiration for my murals. Here is a selection of one of his verses:                        

Huehuetlatolli for Juana Alicia’s Satellite Elders’ Housing Project
…Mensaje de sabiduría
Escucha bien:lo más importantees saber amar.
Listen well:the most important thingis to know how to love.
Anciana a la joven:
La belleza, hija,viene del corazón.
Beauty, daughter,comes from the heart…
© Rafael Jesús González 2007

As the poetry expresses, the murals honor our nature and the natural world from which we come. They portray the five elements: air, water, fire, earth and the souI, with images of elder men and women speaking to young men and women. The human images emerge from the earth motif. This particular project has the goal of creating artworks at a grassroots level to promote environmental justice in underserved neighborhoods. This is a sustainable architecture program which serves low-income seniors. Thanks to everyone for helping make this project a reality!

Best regards,

Juana Alicia

The images below represent some of the prints and posters I have sent you as gifts for your contributions. Please see the Kickstarter site for more details:

Mission Street Manifesto, poster of drawing for mural at San Francisco State University,, 1984©Juana Alicia

Don't Look Back, Giclee Print, 2006 ©Juana Alicia

Spill/Derrame, giclee print, Juana Alicia©2011

Tejedora de Sueños, silkscreen print, ©Juana Alicia and Miranda Bergman, 2010















March 7, 2011

HUEHUETLATOLI: WISDOM OF THE ELDERS: THE SOUL/EL ALMA, detail of relief sculpture for Satellite Senior Housing, Berkeley, California. 2’x4’, cast resin, Juana Alicia ©2007, World Rights Reserved.

Dear Community Supporters,

I am requesting your help to raise funds to complete the installation of ten monumental ceramic murals that I have created for Satellite Senior Housing’s Helios Corner Project in West Berkeley. In 2004, Satellite’s director at that time approached me to create site specific works for their anticipated low-income senior housing project for the corner of University Avenue and Sacramento Street. After a thorough community research project, many oral interviews with Berkeley elders, community leaders and environmental activists, such as the Berkeley Grey Panthers, community organizers Sol Levinson and Dr. Salvador Murillo, environmental biologist Dr. Ignacio Chapela, State Senator Lonie Hancock and many others, I designed a series of 2′ x 11′ and 2′ x 8′ ceramic bas relief murals for the facade of the now-completed building. Satellite then contracted me to fabricate my design, which I did over a period of two years, including during my Fulbright in Yucatán, Mexico, where I had studio facilities that allowed me to work on a larger scale than usual.

I worked for four years to design and fabricate the panels, and finished them in June of 2008. Since then, they have been sitting in boxes in a basement at one of Satellite’s facilities, waiting for installation. Satellite received a grant from Open Circle Foundation for $5,000 for the installation in 2007, but still needs to raise another $5,000 to pay for the complete installation. Although I have moral support from local Berkeley officials like Councilwoman Linda Maio and Civic Arts Commission Coordinator Mary Ann Merker, there is apparently no money in the City of Berkeley available for the completion of this project. I am requesting your support in the amount of $5,000 to make the installation of this work a reality.

HUEHUETLATOLI: WISDOM OF THE ELDERS: SHARING EARTH WISDOM, detail of relief sculpture for Satellite Senior Housing, Berkeley, California. 2’x4’, cast resin, Juana Alicia ©2007, World Rights Reserved.

This particular project has the goal of creating artworks at a ” grassroots level to promote environmental justice in underserved neighborhoods.” This is a sustainable architecture program which serves the poor. The new building is a “green structure”, featuring a  photovoltaic solar energy system, central hydronic heating system, passive solar layout, drought-tolerant landscaping and a transit-oriented location with supplemental van service (slide show: Additionally, this work, entitled “Huehuetlatoli: The Wisdom of the Elders”, expresses this wisdom as embedded in the five natural elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and the Soul. In recent years, I have explored more permanent materials that integrate smoothly into the architecture for which I design.(See for images of SANARTE murals and sidewalk for UCSF Medical Center). These ceramic panels are nearly maintenance-free. I have now lived in Berkeley for fifteen years, though most of my body of work is found in San Francisco and Latin America. Although I was paid for my work, it saddens me to have it languishing in boxes. It is my strong desire to see this work completed and given to the City of Berkeley’s low-income seniors and community at large.

Thank you for helping us meet our goal.

Best regards,

Juana Alicia

Tile waiting for a home at Helios Corner, Satellite Senior Housing in Berkeley







True Colors Mural Project at Inkworks Press

Bryant Valentino Salvador Rodriguez's Detail of Mural Design

Visions of Peace and Justice prf

Inkworks Mural in Progress May 14, 2010


Allison Connor's Detail of Mural Design

Inkworks Color Sketch, True Colors Mural Project ©2010
Support Youth Arts:
THE INKWORKS MURALDonate Today to Support the Youth Arts Program and Make the Mural a Reality

See below for information on tax deductible donations to this exciting project.

After months of brainstorming, rough drafts, long discussions and many revisions, the True Colors mural arts program at Berkeley City College has finalized an amazing piece of art that is set to be painted on the facade of the Inkworks’ building in early 2010. True Colors is a project of renowned muralist Juana Alicia and will be partnering with the Streets Alive project of the Earth Island Institute to complete this epic and inspiring mural.

Featured here are final sketches competed by the students that detail various sections of the mural design. We are also using this opportunity to ask for your valued participation in making this all happen through a generous donation. The vast majority of the work that it will take to realize the vision the students of True Colors have for this important piece of public art will be on donated time. However there are certain costs that are unavoidable, such as paint and scaffolding, and that is where your support comes in!

Inkworks’ role as a long term sustainer of activism and organizing makes it a perfect match for True Colors use of mural making to educate students in critical social and environmental issues that face our local and global communities. Juana Alicia has facilitated a semester long process with the students of brainstorming, sketching and consulting with Inkworks in order to develop a beautiful final design for the mural. It will stretch across the entire front facade of the Inkworks building facing 7th street and encompass many of the important movements and campaigns that have organized in the Bay Area and beyond during the past 35 years. This colorful piece of public art is a contribution to the street life and character of the West Berkeley neighborhood that Inkworks calls home. It will be a historic piece of art, an educational tool and an additional landmark in the spirit of Berkeley’s uniqueness.

May 28th is our scheduled finish date so mark your calendars for an inaugural celebration! For previous coverage of the mural project please click here.

Painting is set to begin in early 2010 so this is a perfect time to help make this vision a reality. All donations are tax deductible and will be directly used to ensure that this vibrant and valuable community endeavor is completed.

Follow the link below to make a secure online donation:

IMPORTANT please paste the following line into the Comments and Questions section of the online donation form:

Donation for Streets Alive/True Colors Mural Arts Program on Behalf of Inkworks Press

The black and white sketches of the mural were created by Kwesi Acquaa, Joel S. Beaird, Sabrina Collins, Allison Connor, Diego Mendoza Cordero, Nube Cruz, Olivia Levins Holden, George Lippman, Amalia Gaspar, Maya Montoya, Ajene Moss, Amy Ortiz, Smokie, Heather Reaney, Valentino Rodriguez, Vanessa Verdin. Directed by Juana Alicia  © 2009 World Rights Reserved.


UCSF Medical Walls Mural – Completed

SANARTE: DIVERSITY’S PATHWAY, mural environment at UCSF Medical Center,
400 Parnassus Avenue. Ceramic tile murals and embedded sidewalk by
Juana Alicia ©2005 World Rights Reserved. An original work, owned and
commissioned by the University of California, San Francisco.
Photography: Anobel Odisho ©2005 World Rights Reserved

Encantada Gallery Show Extended


Juana Alicia
Pinturas * Paintings
June 30th to July 31st – Extended til August 5!

Gallery hours:
Tues – Sun, 12 – 6 pm
Fri – Sat, 12 to 8 pm

Public parking 21st @Bartlett Street and Valencia @20th Street
For more information/Para mayor información:
Contact Juana Alicia or

Images: “Broken Promise…”raku fired ceramic sculpture, 16” tall, Phoebe Ackley ©2005
“Milagro: Mano y Corazon”, handmade ceramic tile, 1’ x1’, Juana Alicia ©2005

Photos of UCSF Medical Center Project in Progress

Juana Alicia’s new suite of four bas relief ceramic tile murals and a 67′ long sidewalk, entitled “SANARTE: Diversity’s Pathway”, located at the Ambulatory Care Clinic of UCSF Medical Center at 400 Parnassus Avenue, has recently been installed by Rocket Science. The images below are details of the work in progress, installation and finished work.

Detail of Traditions Mural previous to installation

Map of Traditions Mural for Installation

Left to Right: Karen Knewhouse of UCSF EOP, JW Nickel of Rocket Science and Michael Adams of UCSF EOP and the Diversity Art Committee in front of Ollin Mural.

JW Nickel of Rocket Science Inc., grouting the Ollin Mural

The Process of Making La Llorona

Juana Alicia Thanks Her Community

Juana Alicia wishes to thank the following individuals for assisting her with the project in many ways:

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, Marine Andoh-Alle, Claudia Avila, Marta Ayala, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Mario Chabl??, Bruni Davila, Tony Deifell, Monica Enriquez, Brooke Estin, Susana Gallardo and her students, Jami Gazzaniga, Miguel Gonzalez, Tirso Gonzalez, Harmony of Pop’s Bar, Leticia Hernandez, Sarah Hussain, Ann Leimer, Eliana Kaya, Barbara Lekisch, Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, Teresa Mejia, Mayahuel Montoya, Alma Mu??oz, Mardie Oakes, Brooke Oliver, Jeffrey Palacios, Panaderia La Mexicana, Carolina Ponce de Leon, Enrique Ramirez, Regina Ramos, Justin Lee Regnier, Diana Ritchie, Elba Rivera, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Rachel Rosen, Patricia Velazquez, Esperanza Verdin, John and Valerie Watson, Nathan Zackheim and all my relations.

Leticia Hernández Interview with Juana Alicia

Llorona mural, Chalchi

Detail of Chalchihuitlicue, Juana Alicia© 2004

Juana Alicia’s journey as a muralist begins at the intersection of her activism and her art. Her pencil began dancing on the pages of political posters, and later traced her path through the educational system and to the walls of the San Francisco Bay Area. One of Juana Alicia’s first big mural projects, Las Lechugueras, depicts female workers and their battles against working conditions and pesticide poisoning in California. Her experiences as a farm worker and organizer for the United Farm Workers (UFW) informs the mural’s creation as much as her painting style and her research do. Las Lechugueras (The Women Lettuce Workers), went up in 1983 on the corner of York and 24th Streets in San Francisco’s barrio, the Mission. Three years ago, the artist was given a 90-day warning that the mural would be destroyed because of water damage to the wall. Ironically, a focus on water and damage would be the mural’s next evolution. Starting from scratch, versus painting from who I am now? Juana Alicia insists that she must create in the living moment. And this moment is one where women are leading environmental struggles and carrying the weight of poverty on their backs and in their bodies, which are made mainly of water, Juana Alicia reminds us.


LAS LECHUGUERAS (THE WOMEN LETTTUCE WORKERS), Juana Alicia©1983 1500 square foot Politec acrylic mural, at York and 24th Streets, San Francisco Mission District. A commission from the Mayor’s Office of Community Development and the San Francisco Arts Commission


La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), Juana Alicia’s latest mural project, picks up where Las Lechugueras left off. This time Juana Alicia takes a look at environmental struggles involving women around the world. The new mural takes its title from the much-debated Mexican myth of the woman who allegedly drowned her children and is damned to weep for them. La Llorona weaves the stories of women in Bolivia, India, and at the U.S. Border together. It highlights Bolivians in Cochabamba who have fought to keep Bechtel Corporation from buying the water rights in their country; Indian farm workers in the Narmada Valley protesting in the flooded waters of their homes against their government’s irresponsible dam projects; and the women in black protesting the unsolved murders of women in Juarez, in the shadow of the Rio Bravo and the maquiladoras (sweatshops).

Juana Alicia believes that globalization is not inherently bad, but when it takes the form of corporate forces trying to sell people their own water, or when it begins to spread poverty through women, then she must raise her brush in protest. Collaborative mural projects, such as Maestrapeace and Si Se Puede, demonstrate how Juana Alicia participates in a communal and politicized artistic praxis. Seven muralists researched, designed, and painted, Maestrapeace, the mural that colors the sides of the Women’s Building. The artists completed the year long project with 100 other volunteers from the community, and from this effort, which began in 1993, sprang an artists’ collective, Maestrapeace Art Works. Many of the muralists who formed this collective around the motto that art is a catalyst for social change are also educators have presented lectures about the process behind and the history reflected in the mural. In just one section of the wall, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu holds Yoruba and Aztec deities in her hands, and her face can be seen shining above many buildings in the city. With this project, the artists colored outside the lines of who can be an artist and what history lessons get told. In 1995, together with local artists such as Susan Kelk Cervantes, Juana Alicia collaborated, on Si Se Puede, the mural on the front of Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco. For this project, the school community participated in the planning process and youth from the surrounding community lent hands while together they painted life into its walls.

With her eye turned towards the international connections between peoples’ and women’s struggle, Juana licia continues to ask the question of what the tangible results of her art are. Making murals, especially in groups, enables participants to gain valuable research and technical skills and enhances their abilities in communication and team work . Certainly it is not only the participants that gain, but residents often experience a heightened self-consciousness to the environment that promotes pride and ownership of their neighborhoods, and perhaps even of themselves. As she admits the difficulty of making a case for the tangible results in movement politics, she credits hip hop as the model. The hip hop generation gets it. True that. This generation is making art political and politics artistic in a way that previous generations have not been able to, and this is one of many sources of inspiration for Juana Alicia.

Painter says to writer,
spoken word is the vital water of revolution.
hip hop artists know
spoken word is the vital water
of revolution.

Writer says to painter
your informed images of the past
brought to us in a bold bright palette
are the vital waters
of poetry.

Perhaps, the immediate effects of her long list of mural projects are not easily measured, but they certainly have an impact. Many of those painted walls, such as Las Lechugueras and Cease Fire/Alto Al Fuego have been published as movement text, in films, and have defended ideas, as part of the new vocabulary that forms arguments for change. Juana Alicia sees a dialectic between her art and the language for change. The language to name ourselves, our movement, our goals, is a deep source of power. The education and altered reflection that her murals offer certainly participate in the construction of this visual language. A pedestrian learns a history lesson by walking into a painted building, a protester in the street passes the faces and images behind her cause, a child knows from the get-go who Rigoberta Menchu and Cesar Chavez are–art makes a difference, no doubt.

This is my Guernica. If Picasso’s testimony to war challenges the heroic and victorious concept of war, then Juana Alicia’s La Llorona challenges the idea that women cannot be heroic or victorious. Chalchiuhtlicue, Mexica goddess of lakes and streams who wears a skirt of jade, towers in the center of the mostly transparent blues of the mural. La llorona, a big woman whose limbs are drawn in strong lines, holds a child and her tears are not sad, but seem to nourish and comfort. La pintora limited her palette to shades of blue under a red sky in the interests of preservation. The mural’s color scheme is also part of the transparency and liquidity that characterizes Juana Alicia’s painting technique–transparent colors that emphasize layers. Water, her element of choice, has always provided the spring from which she sees and paints. She uses transparency to show the invisible woman or man, to paint what is underneath the surface of things.

Juana Alicia is not just a painter, but an investigator, so as a researcher and our teacher, she uses paint as the medium for communicating a critical perspective, a revised interpretation, of what she sees in this case, the state of the world’s ecology. Yemaya, the spirit of a woman, holds the weight of middle passage in the folds of her skirt, Oshun, the spirit of a woman, washes our skin, residue from the fingertips of restless dead leaving faint tattoos. The spirit of a woman, la Sirena’s currents guide desperate rafts leaving El Caribe and ghost ships that sail from China. Wandering souls are thirsty for their stories. The clear commitment to multiculturalism that comes through in the hues and topics of her painting is natural to this artist who’s ancestry hails from Odessa, Russia and Odessa Texas, a Jew-xican. She grew up amidst the language of Motown, hearing three languages at home–Spanish, Yiddish, and English. The inspiration that colors Juana Alicia’s palette ranges from the words of Eduardo Galeano, Genny Lim, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Francisco Vazquez to the paintings of Betty Mora and Alfredo Zalce to the bold strokes of the Maestrapeace artists. Listing so many influences that names don’t fit on the page, Juana Alicia demonstrates her perspective regarding art. Everyone has a hand in it from beginning to end. It isn’t only hers; it belongs to everyone.

La Llorona, is another example of her communal approach to art; the project began as a collaboration. Odilia Galvan Rodriguez wrote words for the initial drawing of la llorona, and then came the rest flowing like the waters of Lake Texcoco that move along the seams of Chalchiuhtlicue’s jade skirt. Two years ago, Juana Alicia received a commitment to funding from Mayor Willie Brown’s Neighborhood Beautification Fund for La Llorona, and she continues to raise funds for the project that is due to be completed by the Spring of 2004. This project falls within a tradition of rewriting the Mexican mythology of women ongoing since the 70’s by Chicana artists and writers such as Yolanda Lopez, Martha Cotera, Ana Castillo, Cherrie Moraga, and Gloria Anzaldua, to name a few. This archetype of the weeping woman is being recast in a celebratory manner; her open hand extending towards Bolivia, India, and to all of us. Juana Alicia’s brush aims to counter negative images of women and show the truth about our strength and accomplishments. Funny that Juana Alicia mentions that Chalchiuhtlicue was said to be a consort of Tlaloc. I think back to la Siguanaba and at how this artist is rewriting many more stories than she even imagines. Her palette frees the spirit of women from roles as monstrous creatures of folklore to warrior women of history. The waters of Juana Alicia Montoya’s paintings cleanse us, give birth to us.

Ashe. Word.

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