Friday, September 10, 2010

San Francisco

Surprisingly, I did not meet with anyone in the SF area. I drove up the coast with my brother on Saturday and spent Sun/Mon wandering with him and his friends in the many neighborhoods of San Francisco. And oh, are there neighborhoods in San Francisco! It amazed me that we could be walking in one neighborhood and have the local bars, shops, etc. and then continue into a different area of the city and find more local bars, shops, etc. There were no large gaps of only residential or only commercial buildings…I could walk anywhere and I’d still be in a mixed use area! Of course the parks were large expanses, but they were great places with a diversity of ballparks, fields, gardens, museums, etc. It’s weird though…there is not as much of a diversity of people as there is of residential, commercial and recreational facilities. Whereas in other cities I am more cognizant of being a woman wandering alone through unfamiliar streets, I felt as I could wander and not wander into much trouble. Na├»ve? Maybe, but I also think it is because SF has pushed out most of the diversity of classes…pushing out the lower and middle classes to live in Oakland or SF suburbs.

I picked the neighborhood I would live in if I moved to San Francisco…and no, I don’t expect to move to the west, but you never know. I would live in the mission district. Mostly because of the murals. There are murals everywhere and about everything! In alleys, in parks, on the fronts of buildings, the whole section of the city is filled and buzzing with artistic talent, though not in a starving artist, bohemia-style. Rather than certain murals standing out and outdoing the rest, the murals are all unique and inspiring in their own way. I spent 3 hours wandering in and out of alleys for murals on garages, tilting my head back for elevated murals, crossing the street for whole-building murals…and I could have spent 30 more. Many of the murals are sponsored by Precita Eyes, a non profit founded by muralistas (the women muralists), and I was lucky enough to stumble into their office on one of the streets in the Mission. They run a program that works with youth who have been caught for tagging...and makes them "tag," only in a more productive way. This program made me think of what ArtStormLA is doing...

Unfortunately I did not fully interview the folks running this organization, but I think I will follow up at some point because the art was just so...integrated into the community! It was like a living, breathing reflection of the beliefs and thoughts of people in the mission district...some controversial, some about love, some about family...all about life.


  1. Hihi!
    My mom was visiting NY this weekend and she was telling me what a great time she had walking through the mission with you!

    Keep up the great exploration. I miss you 'round!

  2. It was SO fun hanging out with your Mom...she's a pretty cool lady! Hope you are doing well in NY as you finish up your last year!