Spotlight: Precita Eyes, Balmy Alley

The Culture Contains The Seeds of Resistance, artists: O’Brien Thiele, Miranda Bergman (1984).    Image: Courtesy    SF Mural Arts

The Culture Contains The Seeds of Resistance, artists: O’Brien Thiele, Miranda Bergman (1984).

Image: Courtesy SF Mural Arts

Come for the food, linger over the art.

For more than 10 years Edible Excursions has been leading Mission 24th Street Tours. And ever since the beginning, we’ve partnered with local muralist Patricia Rose of Precita Eyes for her expert commentary on the colorful murals that line Balmy Alley in the Mission District. Think of it as a mini-art tour within a food tour, a visual taste. Patricia oozes passion for these street murals and is committed to sharing the back stories behind the art and the artists, making her a perfect fit for our tours.

On tour with Patricia Rose, a muralist and street art docent with Precita Eyes.

On tour with Patricia Rose, a muralist and street art docent with Precita Eyes.

Patricia guides guests along Balmy Alley, pausing to discuss the details behind six to eight murals and their artistic, cultural, and historical significance. The block-long alley is probably the best place to see the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco. Balmy Alley is also a local’s favorite, with its rich, diverse, and ever-changing street art.

The murals began in the mid-1980's as an expression of artists' outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America. Today the alley, best viewed on foot with a knowledgeable guide like Patricia, contains murals on a range of styles and subjects from human rights to local gentrification.

Precita Eyes is a local gem. For 40 years the nonprofit has enriched communities through collaborative murals that celebrate culture, unity, history, and nature. The group also specializes in cultural, historical, and educational walking mural tours along the Mission Street and 24th Street corridors. Each walk features different murals and has its own flavor. And all their guided walks are led by local muralists.

At the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center find store manager and artist Cindy DeLosa’s deightful “homie boxes,” figurines depicting scenes from Mission District life, past and present.

Victorion, artist Sorrin Norris   Image: Courtesy    SF Mural Arts

Victorion, artist Sorrin Norris Image: Courtesy SF Mural Arts

This weekend, Precita Eyes teams up again with Brava For Women in the Arts for its annual afternoon of music, murals, and dance. It’s free, fun, and open to all.

Now in its seventh year, Baile en la Calle: The Mural Dances provides an intricate look at each mural and its relationship to the culture and life of the Mission through informed narration by Precita Eyes docents. 

This year’s performances focus on Balmy Alley murals and The Gift of Xochiquetzal, the new mosaic at the entrance to Precita Eyes, designed by founder Susan Cervantes and installed by her son, Suaro Cervantes.

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Lisa Rogovin