Balmy Alley – A Living Street Art Gallery
Houses, fences, and garage doors in Balmy alley has been decorated with murals and paintings since the early 70s. The short, one-block, alley has featured work by Juana Alicia, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Brooke Francher, Miranda Bergman, Osha Neuman, Carlos Loarca, and Xochitl Nevel-Guerrero.
The earliest murals were painted by Maria Galivez and children in a local child care center back in 1972.
In mid-eighties, Ray Patlan led a project to produce murals celebrating Central American cultures and protesting against US intervention in Central America. The murals came to include several pieces on the Nicaraguan revolution, Óscar Romero, and the Guatemalan civil war.
Later paintings have focused on human rights, gentrification, greed, money, and Hurricane Katrina.
Balmy Alley is in the Mission District in San Francisco, California, between 24th and 25th street. It is definitely one of the best places to see a concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco.
Cultural and historic walking tours along the Mission Street and 24th Street include the Balmy Alley block. The tours usually last for 2-3 hours and is a good value.
If you decide to take a walking tour by yourself, this simple guide will help you identify some of the featured works: sfmuralarts.com
Those We Love, We Remember – Edythe Boone
Edythe Boone is San Francisco community activist, educator, great-grandmother, and muralist. She may be best known for her collaboration work on the iconic San Francisco Women’s Building mural Maestrapeace (1995). Edythe works in the mediums of acrylic, pastel, and watercolor, and often enhances her work with collage, drawing on the spiritual and cultural heritage of her subjects.
Icons of Mexican Art – Hector Escarraman (1995)
This detail of “Icons of Mexican Art” by Hector Escarraman shows Diego Rivera. Diego was a famous artist in Mexican muralism, a large-scale public-art initiative that emerged in the 1920s in the wake of the Mexican Revolution.
To the right of Diego Rivera on “Icons of Mexican Art” is his wife, the equally renowned painter Frida Kahlo. Standing to Kahlo’s right are the actress Maria Felix and, next to her, the composer Augustin Lara. Each of these famous personalities played a major role in the Mexican culture of the 20th century.
Victorion – Sirron Norris
Sirron Norris‘ most notable mural, “Victorion: El Defensor de la Mission” has been featured in various media platforms including magazines, books, and advertisements.
Untitled – Unknown
Untitled – Gaby Wolodarski
Art by Gaby Wolodarski. Her own artist statement:
Indigenous Eyes – Susan Kelk Cervantes
Susan Kelk Cervantes is a muralist and a pioneer of the San Francisco community mural art movement. She is also the founder and director of the Precita Eyes Muralists in the Mission District of San Francisco.
She is the artist behind more than 400 murals, among others “Maestrapeace” in collaboration with several artists.
How to Get to Balmy Alley
Take BART to 24th St./Mission. Walk EAST (towards Capp Street or Carlos’ Bar) for 5 1/2 blocks. The alley is located off 24th Street, parallel to Treat Ave and Harrison Street.
Balmy is a small alley with many pedestrians. If you come by car, please park nearby and walk through. There are free parking spots nearby.
Photos in this post, except artist statement by Gaby Wolodarski, may be shared and used on your own website. Please attribute any photos to its source.
Street Art in Balmy Alley, San Francisco by QuizAGoGo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://quizagogo.com/street-art-balmy-alley-san-francisco/.