By Jonah Raskin
Annice Jacoby, the author of the book, “Street Art San Francisco,” says that there are three kinds of murals in the City: those that are provocative, those that are protective and those that are playful.
If that’s so – and it seems to be true – then the mural on the wall outside Other Avenues (OA) is mostly protective. The worker owned and operated co-op on Judah Street serves the Sunset community and beyond the extended community turned out on May 4, a Thursday, to celebrate the mural that was first created in 1995 and that was restored in 2014. By 2023, it was time for more restoration.
Dozens of shoppers, fans of the store and former OA workers and guiding lights, such as Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, enjoyed beverages and snacks, heard brief talks and looked up with admiration at the mural that is divided into three parts: the land (unceded Ohlone territory), the crops in the ground and the ocean with its many sea creatures.
The colors are bright, the figures in the agricultural fields are heroic and the crops are luscious. Peter Munks played the guitar and sang folk songs by Phil Ochs and Woody Guthrie, including “Pastures of Plenty,” which honors workers, refugees and migrants.
Donations from the community added up to over $3,000 and helped with the paint, brushes and supplies. It took a village to create the mural, though one of the prime movers was Carlo Grunfeld, who teaches art and is mostly a water colorist.
“To be a muralist, you have to work in acrylic, think big and colorful and also it helps to have an historical connection,” Grunfeld said. Born in St. Mary’s Hospital and now 62, he grew up in the Sunset, specifically in the South Sunset, and thought of Taraval as “his hood.”
Carlo says that he doesn’t expect to work on another mural “unless they force me.” Over the years, he has had his hands full creating, restoring and protecting the OA mural which has taken a beating from the sun, the wind, the sand and the salt in the air.
Others who worked on the mural include: Fernando Garcia, Jeffrey Wong, Claudia Mansoory, Stephanie Dodaro, Carlo Grunell, Paola Reyes Melendez, Suzanne Ritger, and Anne Marie Hultgren. At the May 4 celebration, one longtime shopper and a dedicated vegan said: “It makes a big difference to come to a store that appreciates art and that makes art a significant part of the picture. I love the OA mural.”
Learn more about Other Avenues at http://www.otheravenues.coop.
Categories: From a Reader, Uncategorized
Other Avenues, and the gorgeous mural, are Westside treasures. Thanks for this article!
Other mural(s) in the Out Sunset/Parkside should also be restore IF it has been defaced, messed up or just getting old and losing it colors. Even those in Golden Gate Heights, IF there are any murals.