Thursday, May 05, 2005

PRECITA VALLEY VISION - Memorial Ceremony Celebration of the Life of "Visionary" Visual Artist, Luis Cervantes (Nov. 1, 1929-April 27, 2005), June 12

at The Precita Valley Center
*note: All time in life is subject to change.

Project Title: Precita Valley Vision
Recipient Organization: Mission Neighborhood Centers
Lead Artist: Susan Cervantes
Genre and Date Awarded: Visual Arts, May 1996
Dedicated: March 23, 1997

Muralist Susan Cervantes collaborated with Mission Neighborhood Centers to create a new community mural on the façade of Precita Valley Community Center. Alongside images reflecting the Center’s recreation programs and nearby Precita Park, the mural features the faces of Carlos Hernandez and Sylvia Menendez, teenagers who were slain while picnicking in Precita Park in 1996. The mural was dedicated at a community celebration on March 23, 1997 which featured speeches by the teenagers’ parents as well as music, dancing, poetry, an exhibit of low rider bicycles, and food. Approximately 400 community members attended the event.

The artist facilitated community participation in designing the mural through workshops held at Precita Valley Center. The process involved the Center’s youth and provided individuals from the Center and the surrounding neighborhood with opportunities to submit their ideas and drawings for the mural’s theme. Through this process, the community’s need to mourn the loss of Hernandez and Menendez, emerged. A March 1997 San Francisco Examiner cover story about the mural’s dedication noted, “Today, the teens are immortalized on the double doors of the community center at 534 Precita Avenue, where the mural vibrates with color, history, and intricate symbols of faith and nonviolence suggested by young people who play at the Center.”

Susan Cervantes was drawn to paint the façade of Precita Valley Community Center because it had been important to her early artistic career; and she and her family had lived on nearby Precita Avenue for 26 years. In 1974, Cervantes was one of the muralists who directed and designed one of the Mission District’s first community murals on the lower wall of the Precita Valley Center. (This 9’ by 30’ portable mural was removed in 1993.) From 1975 through 1980, she was the arts and crafts supervisor for Precita Valley Community Center. During this period, in 1977, she created her first monumental community mural on the south wall of nearby Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School; and, in that same year, founded the non-profit community-based Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center. Further, over the years, her three sons participated in various youth programs at the Center.

Mission Neighborhood Centers is a nonprofit community-based organization that provides social programs to low-income children, youth, and seniors of San Francisco’s Mission District. Precita Valley Center, one of four operating branches of Mission Neighborhood Centers, houses the youth component of its programming. Year round, approximately 700 low-income minority children and youth participate in the various social, educational, and recreational programs at Precita Valley Center. The Center sought to collaborate with Susan Cervantes on this project as a means of increasing neighborhood pride and of heightening awareness of its programs. The artist and organization had worked together on two previous murals, one in 1974 and the other in 1975.


Susan Kelk Cervantes


Professional Experience/Educator and Advocate

Founder and Director, Precita Eyes Muralists, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (1977-present)

San Francisco Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) Arts program, Precita Valley Community Center, San Francisco Arts Commission (1975-79)

Founder, Annual San Francisco Bay Area Mural Awareness Month, sponsored by Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (1991-present)

Selected Public and Private Mural Commissions

Si Se Puede, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, San Francisco, California (1995)
Keep Our Ancient Roots Alive, diptych mural, Cleveland School, San Francisco, California (1993-95)
Maestrapeace, designed and painted with M. Bergman, J. Alicia. E. Boone, Y. Littleton, M. Desai, and I. Perez, The Women’s Building, San Francisco, California (1993-94)
SF, Keep on Movin’, designed and painted with Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center members and students, Embarcadero Municipal Railway Metro Turnaround Barricade, (1994)
Fear and Hope, designed with M. Ayala, C. Lombardo, K. Ruddle, and others of the Precita Eyes Mural Workshop, Clarion Alley Mural Project, San Francisco, California (1994)
Love will Come Your Way, designed and planned with New College of California’s Arts and Social Change Mural Class, Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco Department of Social Services, San Francisco, California (1993)
Your Eyes Embrace My World, designed with Sixth Street residents, community organizations, children, and youth, assisted by Precita Eyes Muralists, Mural on Rose and Sunnyside Hotels, San Francisco, California (1993)
The Great Cloud of Witnesses, four interior walls of gymnasium, Ingleside Community Center, San Francisco, California (1992)
The Five Sacred Colors of Corn, Balmy Alley, San Francisco, California (1991)
Inner City Garden, Hearst Building Rooftop Garden, San Francisco, California (1991)
The Silent Language of the Soul, collaboration with muralist Juana Alicia, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, San Francisco, California (1988-90)
Stop Pollution and Make Solutions, exterior north wall, designed with Kim Anno and the San Francisco Conservation Corps Youth in Action Program (1990)

Water is Life, first community mural painted in the Soviet Union, sponsored by Alga, a scientific productive complex in Leningrad and the International Program of the Foundation for Social Innovations, in collaboration with Luis Cervantes and Carlos Lorca of San Francisco and Nikolai Bogomolov of Leningrad, with fifteen other Soviet artists, Vasilievsky Island, Leningrad, USSR (1990)

Spirit of the Water, portable mural, collaboration with Soviet and American Artists, “Nothing is Being Done in Neva Neva Land,” site specific multi-media installation with mural for “Artists and Ecologists – All for One Earth,” South of Market Cultural Center, portable mural permanently installed in a Leningrad elementary school (1990)

Indigenous Eyes, Balmy Alley, San Francisco, California (1990)
The Spirit of Raoul Wallenberg, Wallenburg High School, San Francisco, California (1989)
Food for the People, Community Food Resource Center, San Francisco, California (1989)
New World Tree, Mission Pool, collaboration with J. Alicia and R. Martinez, San Francisco, California (1987)
Balance of Power, collaboration with J. Alicia, R. Martinez, and youth, Mission Pool, San Francisco, California (1987)
Celestial Cycles, portable mural, Las Americas Children’s Center, designed with L. Cervantes, San Francisco, California (1982-83)
The Primal Sea, designed with Precita Eyes Muralists, Garfield Square and Pool, San Francisco, California (1979-80)
A Bountiful Harvest, designed with Denise Meehan, assisted by Precita Eyes Muralists, China Books & Periodicals Company, San Francisco, California (1978)
Family Life and Spirit of Mankind, Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School, San Francisco, California (19767-77)


Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, San Francisco, California (1979-present)
New College of California Arts and Social Change program, San Francisco, California (1993)
Buena Vista School, San Francisco, California (1991)
Wallenberg Alternative High School, San Francisco, California (1990)
Precita Valley Community Center, San Francisco, California (1974-79)
San Jose State University, San Jose, California (1975)
San Francisco State University (1974)
California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California (1974)

Selected Exhibitions

“San Francisco Muralists,” “Lumieres de California: 20 Artistes Autour de San Francisco,” Centre d’animation et de Loisirs Valeyre, Paris, France, (1993)
“The Fourth R,” Euphrates Gallery, Cupertino, California (1992)
Pushkin Skaya Gallery, Leningrad, USSR (1990)
“All for One Earth,” SOMAR Gallery, San Francisco, California (1990)
Beef Gallery, San Francisco, California (1987)
La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, California (1986)
“Harvest,” The Farm, San Francisco, California (1985)
“Balmy Alley Murals,” Casa Gallery, San Francisco, California (1984)
Cervantes Family Show, Galeria Museo, Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, California (1980)
Oakland Museum, United States State Department, Fourth Triennale India, Asia, Mideast, Japan (1978-79)
Galería de la Raza, San Francisco, California (1978, 1979)
Nanny Goat Hill Gallery, San Francisco, California (1977)
Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, California (1976)
Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida (1974)
Capricorn Asunder Gallery, San Francisco Arts Commission (1973)
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California (1971)

  • Creative Work Fund, org

  • Precita Eyes

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